Home News WhichPLM Blog 24 Apr, 2009: IMB Forum 2009

WhichPLM Blog 24 Apr, 2009: IMB Forum 2009



Hall 8

Another IMB to add to the many visits over the years, so how has this one fared against past exhibitions? Whilst at the show last week, I was explaining to Rebecca (Editor of WhichPLM) that in the ‘old days’ you could measure the attendance of the show by how long it took you to get served with a cup of tea and a hotdog! In those days you could be in a queue for 20 mins whereas over the last couple of days, queuing only took a couple of mins! Outside the exhibition, the lower attendee numbers were also noticeable in downtown Cologne “Koln”. Along the streets and riverbank restaurants and bars, there was again a distinct lack of people. In the old days, you couldn’t get into the bars or restaurants unless you arrived very early in the evening! Need I say more..?!

But, despite the lack of numbers attending the show, I’ve got to say that based on my own discussions, the people attending were serious prospects in that they were at the show to research and keep up with the next technology trends and lock down of potential providers of equipment or software solutions, namely PLM. Visitor numbers and the general feedback from solution vendors also seem to prove this point.

Lectra standAlso, it was exciting to see that PLM has ‘come of age’. The IT Solutions on show (in Hall 8) were awash with PLM messaging. Every solution provider had some level of PLM signage on their stands as PLM is now recognised as an essential part of any company’s tool set. No longer is it perceived as a ‘nice to have,’ more a ‘critical to survive and prosper in these difficult times ahead’ tool.

Ok let’s move onto my thoughts on the exhibition. I spent the bulk of my time in Hall 8 looking at the latest technologies and software solutions on offer and I’m pleased to say that the exhibitors did not disappoint me and the suppliers did a first class job in keeping the WhichPLM team entertained with the array of new PLM extensions and software processes.

Mark with Jerome at the Dassault Systemes standThe WhichPLM team saw several newcomers to the exhibition, including Dassault Systèmes, a multi-industry PLM provider showing their commitment to the Apparel, Textiles and Footwear sector. Jérôme Bergeret (Director, Industry Strategy and Consumer Goods) from Dassault, presented ‘Fast Fashion Demands PLM’ at the Speaker’s Corner, focusing on a PLM implementation carried out at Eldo Srl in Florence. I’m hoping to get to know the software a little more intimately in the near future, so I will share my findings and thoughts with you once I’ve caught up on their advances…watch this space!

PTC attended the exhibition for the second time which helps to show long term commitment to the RFA (Retail, Footwear and Apparel) sector. I understand that PTC has been making plenty of new additions to their latest V9 release and again, I looking forward to catching up with them in the near future to gain a closer look ‘under the bonnet’ so that I can share with WhichPLM readers.

Lectra, as always, did a first class job with their stand (one of the biggest at the event!) and hospitality, followed through with plenty of quality messaging around the subject of product lifecycle. Although I still think there’s some work to be done on PLM messaging in terms of educating customers that PLM isn’t a separate tool, more it is an enterprise-wide enabler that encompasses all product development processes. Again, I’m looking forward to getting under the skin of their latest PLM system in the coming months. Keep an eye on WhichPLM for an update.

 Mark talking to Giuseppe at PoriniPorini, of Italy, is another nice company to watch! The guys have been doing very well on their Textile PLM solution in North America and are now starting to push their ‘Apparel’ specific PLM solution based on a solid textiles base. They have a strong Apparel team with lots of domain expertise which helps to create something a little special for the SME market. We will be benchmarking Porini in May, so keep your eye on WhichPLM for the results.

TXT is another Italian PLM supplier that, like Porini, came from the ERP sector and has been steadily improving their PLM offer over recent years. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to spend enough time with the team to be able to give an opinion on their solution, but I did have a phone conversation with their head of R&D whilst at the show and have asked to organise a benchmark so that I can share the results with you all sooner rather than later. Knowing the R&D person for the last 20+ years, I can bet she and her team have done a great job and I can’t wait to see the solution for real!

Lawson standLawson, yet another newcomer, at least from the PLM point of view. These guys did a good job sharing the new enhancements (released end of April) to improve functionality and usability. See recent press release for more information: Lawson Delivers Enhanced Fashion PLM Functionality.

Some more to keep an eye on in the PLM space: SpeedStep, Insys, Infor and Semaco, all of whom showed some very good new and upcoming challenges to the current PLM leaders. Plenty of very exciting new developments and versions coming from these suppliers and, again, I look forward to getting to know them over the coming months ahead and reporting back to WhichPLM on my findings.

Sadly the exhibition missed Gerber Technology (see press release: Gerber Focuses on Customer in Challenging Economic times) due to focus and commitment to their customers and investment in their products. On that point, I am pleased to say that I recently had the opportunity to evaluate the latest release, which is greatly improved. Well done GT team! With the news that they are focusing their $$$ on R&D instead of attending the IMB, I’m looking forward to lots more new process improvements coming our way.

Also, Assyst is worth a mention. They are one of the original CAD/CAM players that also have a PLM solution, so here’s hoping that they can find a new buyer for their business. Good luck to Thomas and the team. I would really like to hear more from anyone that knows what’s going on at Assyst..?

Overall, a good exhibition although I have to say I was disappointed with the number of visitors, but I guess in these exceptional times what can you expect?

Keep your eyes on WhichPLM over the coming months as we have plenty of PLM solutions signing up to be evaluated which I know, based on your many emails, is just what you’re looking forward to seeing..!!!

Contact me

Please free to share your experience in assessing and selecting a PLM solution. Email me at mark@whichplm.com I look forward to your feedback.


Mark Harrop Product Development Partnership LtdMark Harrop is a leading Apparel PLM expert with more than 34 years experience in the industry. Mark co-founded the Product Development Partnership Ltd, the team of experts behind WhichPLM.

More on the IMB from WhichPLM…

WhichPLM IMB Round Up IMB Highlights…

Coming up this week: WhichPLM interview with Andrew Dalziel, Marketing Director at Lawson and the first of our ‘Ten Experts, Ten Questions’ interview feature with the world’s leading experts in the Apparel PLM sector.

Mark Harrop Mark Harrop is the founder and Managing Director of WhichPLM. During a career that has spanned more than four decades, Mark has worked tirelessly to further the cause of PLM – providing the unbiased, expert advice that has enabled some of the world’s best known retailers, brands and manufacturers achieve efficiency savings across their entire supply chain through informed technology investments.