The best products, designs or ideas tend to be created by individuals that have a strong vision. These types of individuals or brands prioritise investment in the design of smart, ground-breaking products over profit.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several companies that I can say match this value in terms of focusing on design. Microdynamics was one of the first companies to bring, into the world of apparel, CAD (Computer Aided Design), using the very first graphics engines with the ADS50 design solution. Microdynamics were also the very first company to design PDM (Product Data Management) for the Apparel industry, known then as ‘Spec’ before a name-change to ‘Classic PDM’.
On the flip side I’ve also worked for companies that had great ambitions around PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), but they were more profit-focused; marketing a system originally designed for a different industry, with little relevance to apparel users, in terms of process and functionality. Product development processes vary greatly between other industries and apparel mainly because of the variety and sheer volume of products created, and a PLM solution needs to accommodate this.
When choosing a PLM vendor, be careful and try to find out just which type of company you’re dealing with. One useful tip is to ask the vendor to define their Apparel-specific spend on Research and Development. There’s nothing at all wrong with a vendor focusing on profits for the stability of a company, providing this doesn’t compromise the overall service you receive and that the solution delivers what it says on the tin!
Please free to share your experience in assessing and selecting a PLM solution. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to your feedback.
Mark 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.