For apparel manufacturers, a central repository of data related to the lifecycle of each product is essential. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software is the easiest way of managing every element of a product's life from the drawing board to the warehouse to the end user.
All strategic decisions require regular evaluation to assess their impact, so if you're looking for a PLM strategy to support your growth and deliver good returns, consider the following points:
Set Strategic PLM Goals
Product lifecycle management embraces many departments within an apparel business so, when considering strategic goals, it's useful to consider these for each area within your company. These can include:
- Improving supply metrics.
- Increasing market share as new products are launched.
- Quicker product innovation.
- Collaboration across multiple sites.
- Sharing style data.
- Consistency of approach.
- Reduced sample costs.
- Monitoring supplier performance.
- Establishing process-related goals for departments and third parties
Goals related to business processes, which are often simpler to measure than strategic PLM goals, should be planned against a timeframe to allow regular monitoring and evaluation. In the apparel sector, business process goals typically include:
- Reduction in the product lifecycle.
- Streamlining information management – e.g. by migrating away from spreadsheets to a purpose-designed PLM platform.
Identify Your Financial Goals
The financial benefits of a PLM strategy are easier to keep tabs on than other goals. However, bear in mind that financial goals are often estimates, so some degree of uncertainty is possible. Every business is different, so the priorities are likely to vary, but commonly financial goals include:
- Reduction in the cost of raw materials, often measured as a percentage.
- Increasing the profit margin on the sale of new lines.
- Shortening the time to market of new lines.
- Increasing the number of seasons/lines per year.
- Greater responsiveness to consumer demand, to avoid understocking and overstocking
- Reduced need to discount stock in order to shift surpluses.
Project The Future With Range Planning
Before launching a PLM strategy, a range plan forecast is invaluable. A range plan is an overview of an entire collection that sets out all the design and financial parameters, from garment styles and cost per garment, to colourways for each garment, and order quantities. The range plan will help you manage your margins and quantities, working hand-in-hand with the PLM to minimise production costs.
A PLM software platform, such as STYLEman PLM, provides sophisticated costing and critical path management, so that new products are delivered to market on-time and on budget. STYLEman PLM increases cooperation across the supply chain and provides real-time data access, making spending targets more likely to be achieved. For a free demonstration of STYLEman PLM, click here or get in touch.