The fashion industry is always growing and changing. Being able to predict the next big style and get it into production quickly is a big challenge, especially with companies like Zara introducing a whopping 24 collections annually.
Fortunately, using product lifecycle management (PLM) software can give any company a leg up on their competitors. After all, PLM provides designers with a centralized hub for coming up with their designs. Then, once a design is approved, PLM helps the company track every stage of the process. If used correctly, you can rely on PLM to help you quickly figure out how a product is doing and whether you should make more or move on to something different.
Centralized Data Management and Collaboration
One of the biggest advantages of PLM is that your team will only have one place to go with their design ideas. Whether they’ve got an entire design or just the beginnings of one, they can add information about it to your PLM software. And—because it’s open to every designer you work with—they can even bounce ideas off each other. This level of collaboration is a great way to ensure that the best ideas rise to the top.
Another key benefit of PLM systems is that every piece of data relating to your designs is kept in one easy-to-locate place. Again, fashion is constantly evolving, which makes real-time data invaluable. Instead of having to ship out your latest offerings and wait to hear if they’re a hit or a bust, you can use the instant insights you gain to tweak products, if necessary.
Having the ability to track every phase of a product—from the initial conception to how consumers accept it—is the number one key to success. It also gives you a much better handle on production costs, which allows you to make changes as needed to stay within your budget.
Streamlined Workflows and Reduced Time-to-Market
What does it take to continuously produce up to 24 different collections in a single year? Well, first off, you’ve got to streamline your workflow. The good news is that this is exactly what PLM was made for. Even during the earlier stages, you can quickly and easily request a sample to inspect. You won’t even have to email anyone or make any calls, either. Instead, you can click one button, and your inspection sample will be delivered posthaste.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of PLM is that it allows you to build higher-quality products in a shorter period of time. In fact, one of the main uses for PLM is to always be looking out for ways you can improve the quality of each product. This happens naturally, thanks to the centralized workflow.
As you take a design into PLM, you can see any potential issues that will throw off the quality and/or expected life frame of the product. Fixing these issues before they become a problem for your customers will improve customer satisfaction. It will also minimize any negative chatter about your brand.
Improved Product Quality and Supply Chain Visibility
Again, using PLM software enables you to improve the quality of each product. That’s due to the fact that your company can make quality improvements during each stage of production.
For example, let’s say you’re working on a new design, and your quality control team requests a sample. Once the sample is made, a few issues become immediately transparent. Rather than having already committed to making a flawed product, you’ll have the chance to eliminate the issues instead.
Furthermore, PLM makes your supply chain more visible than ever before. You will literally be able to see each product’s step-by-step process through the system, including how it’s made and supplied to stores around the world. This visibility will also make it much easier to know who to blame if something goes wrong. Put simply, your suppliers will basically have to ensure they provide you with the level of quality you’re expecting. Otherwise, you’ll pick a different supplier.
Real-world Examples of PLM Software Benefits
Every company that uses PLM software will enjoy a multitude of benefits. Here are five of the biggest and best.
1. Recalls and Other Regulatory Concerns
You’ll have the opportunity to scrutinize every step of production, which can help you identify and eliminate unwanted factors. This is one of the best, most proven ways to boost your company’s sustainable efforts.
2. Avoid Human Errors
Errors are always going to happen, but when you use PLM, you can reduce them to basically nothing. How? By implementing intelligent automation to flag products with anomalies or other issues.
3. Consumer Preferences Are Rapidly Shifting
Even though more consumers than ever truly care about sustainability, they also want to see fashion brands that can keep up with their changing interests. Because PLM makes it much faster to take a product to market, it’ll be simpler to stay competitive by making and releasing the latest styles. Meanwhile, companies that don’t use PLM will have to scramble if they want any hope of keeping up.
4. Rising Operating and Commodity Costs
Global commodity costs have soared through the roof. In 2022 alone, costs rose by 46%, which represented the single biggest spike since 1995. Something has got to give eventually, but in the meantime, using PLM software can help you mitigate rising costs.
You’ll be able to track your company’s costs, analyze the profitability of each item, and make a much more informed assessment of how much money each item can reasonably be expected to bring in. Works a lot better than simply guessing, doesn’t it?
5. Lack of Visible Data
If you’re using a hodgepodge of different systems, it’ll be harder for your company to provide decision-makers with the data they need. Instead, turn to PLM as your one-stop source for everything your company needs. By making everything more visible and easier to access, you’ll also boost your company’s decision-making speed.
Key Benefits of PLM Systems
As you can see, using a PLM system simply makes good business sense. It allows you to:
- Centralize your data management.
- Streamline workflows.
- Reduce your time-to-market.
- Improve product quality.
- Make your supply chain more visible.
All of which can boost your revenue and ensure you’re making quality products that will be delivered on a timely basis!
How would you like to work with a supplier with a 99% client retention rate? With more than 160 clients and 16 years in the industry, N41 has innovative features to help you reach the next level. Request your demo now to see what N41 can do for you!