Lawson with its headquarters located in Minnesota, USA is traditionally better known for their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution, however in early 2008, Lawson acquired the Freeborders PLM solution to extend it’s fashion solution range. The Freeborders PLM solution was originally released back in 2003, when it was called Freeborders CPM (Collaborative Product Management), the forerunner to today’s PLM solutions. This was the first PLM solution to enter the Apparel & Soft Goods sector.
WhichPLM High Level Evaluation Scores
Commercially, this is a sound business with sales of over $960+ million and a broad integrated product portfolio (PLM/ERP/CAD) that can certainly help retail and fashion companies to realise strong benefits. The PLM solution is one of the most mature in the industry, since its original development back in 2000. Regionally, Lawson is a strong player in both the USA and across EMEA, where their original ERP solution was developed by (then) Intentia, located in Sweden.
The WhichPLM team benchmarked Lawson in October 2008. Since that time there has been a number of improvements made to the Fashion PLM solution, some of which have been reflected in the scores published on WhichPLM site. The solution, developed on the .Net framework using an SQL database, offers a comprehensive web-based software stack including strong emphasis on creative design (Storyboard), specification development (Product Manager), fabric & trim development (Fabric & Trim), sourcing and costing (Source & Vendor Mgt). The current solution, version 3.6.3 is undergoing several new enhancements to the Line Optimizer (Line Planning) and Workflow modules. Lawson has a mature PLM customer base of 50+ clients, located in USA/EU/ASIA.
Lawson has recently relocated PLM development from the original Freeborders Shenzhen team to it’s own R&D location based in Manila. We expect to see a fully integrated suite of modules including deep integration to their ERP solution that would allow their customers to go from product creation to product retirement. The first level of integration to the ERP solution was completed in Aug 2009 and shows promising opportunities for the future. WhichPLM, along with the rest of the Lawson customer base, is eagerly awaiting news on their PLM development road map.
From a technical standpoint, the PLM solution scores well and is more than capable to deliver good quality performance, but still requires some further technology updates to catch up to current market leaders.
Overall, a strong PLM player with an emphasis more traditionally geared to ERP. In our opinion, the company needs to make improvements to the PLM solution with regards to improving the data integration between all modules. The types of customers that would benefit from Lawson Fashion PLM include: Retailers, Brands, Agents, Textiles, Footwear and Manufacturing companies.