A rather lengthy airport delay landed me back in the WhichPLM offices later than expected this week, although I was certainly luckier than those whose travel plans or worse, homes and livelihoods, were disrupted by Hurricane Irene.
Focusing too closely on something as minutely detailed and all-encompassing as PLM, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the larger world beyond the comings and goings of our industry. Taking account of our truly global readership, I know I join the entire WhichPLM team in wishing our American readers well.
By dint of my late return I’ve missed the majority of the week’s action, so this Editorial Review will take a slightly different format as I sip a too-strong coffee and catch up on the last ten days’ news alongside you.
It’s certainly appropriate that I mentioned the world at large, as the first piece of industry news originates about as far from my humble UK desk as possible. Technia – the Stockholm-based but worldwide suppliers of PLM to a wide range of industries – have announced that DOME Corporation (who are are Japanese apparel company, headquartered in Tokyo, and the regional distributors of Under Armour products) have adopted their Apparel Optimizer package and associated software.
While ours is undoubtedly a growth industry (indeed, PLM for the retail, footwear and apparel industry seems to be characterised by growth and expansion this year) it is rare to see entirely new core products. The majority of software releases we report on are, however substantial, revisions of existing solutions. Amongst these iterative updates, Agentrics this week announced the launch of their brand-new PLM software – PLM Active.
Although the company’s pre-launch field trial results are possibly not going to prove to be transferable as-is to the requirements of the fashion industry, it is encouraging to read that Agentrics’ solution is designed to deliver quickly, with a rapid implementation period. Several vendors provide “out-of-the-box” solutions that are designed to mitigate the substantial investment of time and money that any bespoke IT solution can represent for smaller businesses, so it will be interesting to see how PLM Active fares in comparison.
Another, very visible, trend to have emerged over the past few years has been the integration and interoperability of PLM with other solutions. Most large enterprises have legacy systems and ingrained ways of working, and in some instances this requires the synergy of PLM and other complementary software and solutions. Typical of this trend is this week’s announcement that Visual 2000 International Inc. have formed a strategic alliance to integrate their fashion-focused Visual PLM.net® PLM solution with the SAP® Business All-in-One Apparel and Footwear Solution (or AFS).
The partnership is pitched as being intended to address the future requirements of existing SAP AFS customers, but it’s also indicative of the vital gap that the right PLM solution can help to bridge in any product development environment – even those using industry-standard software.
Our final piece of news this week demonstrates that even the quietest of summer weeks isn’t enough to stem the tide of PLM-centric recruitment. Yesterday, Lectra announced their recruitment of industry veteran Anastasia Charbin to the role of Marketing Director for fashion. Having worked with Stacey in the past, I wish her every success in her new role.
As always, keep watching WhichPLM for the latest industry insight, news and opinion as we enter the frantic final quarter of 2011.