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WhichPLM Featured in the News


(MANCHESTER, UK, 14 JUNE, 2011) WhichPLM featured in the Daily Telegraph supplement ‘Circle of Life’ this week. The supplement highlights the importance of an effective PLM implementation and discusses the very latest ideas, technologies and breakthroughs in this field.

The supplement focused on PLM within all industries including retail, automotive, engineering, life sciences, et al,  but had a particular strong emphasis on the apparel and fashion sector. WhichPLM’s own Mark Harrop featured in the article in an interview conducted by Lyonsdown, and in support of the article he said “Certainly within the UK, PLM projects within the fashion and apparel industry are growing day by day and it’s fantastic that our industry is getting the exposure it deserves. I know that those PLM vendors who work across the industry are suddenly starting to take note of the increase in divisional revenues from our sector and quite rightly so when you see the benefits that PLM can provide for apparel companies at all stages of the supply chain. Articles such as ‘Circle of Life’ really help put the system into the mainstream and will make people see that apparel PLM is not just a tool for the pioneers in this industry but rather a necessity for competitive trade.”

Mark’s full interview is extracted below:

What are the benefits that investment in PLM can bring to companies you deal with?

We specialise in the fashion and apparel industries and the key benefit is a reduction in the time it takes to bring products or services to market while maintaining the right level of quality. If you look at business systems such as ERP (enterprise resource planning), you’re often shaving off just a few seconds in generating a bill or other paperwork. With PLM, you’re potentially saving hours, days or even weeks. And when you extend that across the whole international supply chain, you begin to see compounded benefits accumulating over time, and then it becomes a really huge advantage.

Are businesses in fashion and apparel well informed about PLM?

It varies, which is why our consulting arm, PDP Limited, was established – to help companies get the best return on their investment. That impartial service involves not only finding systems, but implementing them, and it’s something we have done for some of the biggest names in our industry. There are some 45 to 50 vendors offering systems that can be used by our industry today. Larger enterprises may be well-informed about the potential benefits of PLM because solutions have historically been marketed to that demographic. Now we are beginning to see more solutions pitched at the SME sector alongside a reduction in their total cost of ownership. More affordable out-of-the-box solutions can generate substantial return on investment for those smaller businesses.

Your company offers a PLM benchmarking service. How does that work?

We’ve been in this business for more than 20 years, and we saw a gulf between the promise of PLM and consumers’ understanding of the true capabilities of the various fashion-specific solutions. It works both ways, though; some of the larger PLM vendors don’t necessarily know a lot about processes unique to the apparel industry, and retail and fashion-focused suppliers aren’t always up to speed on how big PLM firms worked. So we built a bespoke software “comparison engine” and put it on our industry news and tools site, to enable companies in the industry to cut through the marketing bluster and compare what was actually on offer in terms they can understand.

Where will benchmarking now lead to?

We’ve developed a full benchmarking service and so far 13 PLM suppliers have participated demonstrating real faith in their solutions. We share the high-level results of those benchmarks, enabling prospective customers to get real, in-depth knowledge based on independently verified and objective facts. We’ve also conducted an in-depth customer survey, and recently we have begun providing executive recruitment services for both PLM suppliers and retail and fashion businesses. Our newest ventures are in PLM certification and training, and in providing core reference data on the web.”

A digital version of the full report can be viewed here (Business Technology June 2011).

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.