Home News WhichPLM Editorial Review – 12 August 2011

WhichPLM Editorial Review – 12 August 2011


This week’s currency has been news, with no fewer than four implementation and / or partnership agreements announced in the past seven days.

The most significant of these for the UK market was the announcement on Wednesday that FTSE 250 company JD Sports Fashion have selected Centric’s PLM solution.  With more than 600 stores throughout the continent, JD Sports are one of the largest athletic apparel retailers in Europe, and their adoption of PLM reflects an oft-remarked trend: where the largest retailers and brands go first, the SME (and eventually boutique) retailers are sure to follow.

The UK market for PLM in the RFA industries will doubtless trace a similar arc to its counterparts in the USA, Australia and Scandinavia, and I predict that the next twelve months will see many, if not all, of Europe’s most prominent retailers waking up to the potential of PLM.

On a smaller but no less noteworthy scale was RLM’s announcement this week that Louis Raphael, one of the largest men’s dress slacks companies in the US, has chosen its range of enterprise software to replace several legacy systems.  FashionManager – RLM’s software – will take the place of more antiquated systems in what the company is calling an IT modernisation.  As with large retailers in new territories, I expect we will see more companies of every shape and size swapping their existing systems (whether electronic or pen and paper) for the efficiency savings that the right PLM solution can deliver.

Also replacing an outdated system with a modern, comprehensive suite this week is New York-based DC Design International, who have begun implementation of Visual 2000’s End-2-End fashion software.  As with the above examples, it is a sign of the times that a company founded on custom tailoring is willing to embrace the opportunities of software, like Visual 2000’s, that is designed specifically for the needs of the fashion industry.

Similarly, Tradestone revealed recently that Belk Department Stores would be using their PLM solution for retail, collaborative sourcing and order management capabilities.

Away from the usual business of implementation agreements, pioneering open-source PLM retailer Aras announced this week that PSC Group would be joining their partnership programme.  PSC are tipped to be providing open-source expertise, experience with Microsoft technologies, and in-depth knowledge in planning, developing and deploying enterprise information solutions, to the entire Aras PLM suite.  Open source PLM is a unique and compelling prospect, and Aras certainly appear to be taking the right steps to ensure that it has a future.

In yet another instalment of his ethical series, prolific BMS blogger J W Yates this week looked at the impact the “conflict mineral” embargo might have on the PLM industry.

There can be no denying that ethical compliance (i.e. doing business in a way that does not further or enable humanitarian inequalities) is as much of a strategic as a moral imperative in today’s market, and the issue of conflict minerals is a topical one.  Irrespective of what materials your industry employs (or at what level), J W Yates argues that a PLM solution – specifically one that allows transparent tracing of products from inception to delivery – is the optimum way to underwrite and guarantee the moral obligation we all feel to do business the right way.

One man who has seen these kinds of legislative and enforcement shifts time and again is Mark Harrop, Managing Director of industry-leading consultants The Product Development Partnership (“PDP”).  Mark celebrated his 37th year in the apparel industry this week, and a company press release looked back over a career that spans the cutting room, the board room and every stage in between.

In WhichPLM news, our offices are a-buzz with preparations for the upcoming Annual Review 2011.  Taking place of last year’s Customer Survey, the Review will collect the results of an unprecedented data gathering and analysis exercise alongside the best bits of WhichPLM over the past twelve months.  It will be available free of charge here this October, and in the meantime suppliers are invited to contact me directly and to encourage their customers to take part in what we believe will be the most comprehensive survey, buyer’s guide and picture of the industry ever assembled – and the one that reaches the largest possible audience.

To celebrate that work, I chose this week to give away last year’s Survey.  You can obtain your copy of the 20,000 research report here.

As always, please contact me with any questions or comments on this week’s developments.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Ben Hanson Ben Hanson is one of WhichPLM’s top contributors. Ben has worked for magazines, newspapers, local government agencies, multi-million pound conservation projects, museums and creative publications before his eventual migration to the Retail, Footwear and Apparel industry.Having previously served as WhichPLM’s Editor, Ben knows the WhichPLM style, and has been responsible for many of our on-the-ground reports and interviews over the last few years. With a background in literature, marketing and communications, Ben has more than a decade’s worth of experience, and is now viewed as one of the industry’s best-known writers.