West Coast computer pattern service bureau Patternworks Inc has released what it describes as an “affordable answer” to product lifecycle management (PLM) for the apparel industry.

Its StyleFile PLM is an organisational software system that documents, tracks and stores product details.

It was developed in a production environment with the input of users such as designers, pattern makers, technical designers and production personnel.

An in-house programming team has developed 30 different reports – from the initial concept through all phases of production – and a variety of tools such as imagine voice technology and report customisation.

“In this economic climate it is more important than ever for apparel companies to streamline the development through production process, thus reducing costly errors,” said Patternworks CFO Humberto Ortiz.

He adds: “Everyone knows the importance of PLM software, but most are apprehensive to purchase the software due to cost.”

Patternworks is also offering financing and subscription options with the aim of reaching out to both domestic producers and those with overseas sourcing.

The PLM software enables information to be entered using voice-recognition technology, and planned upgrades include an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) module.

A web access add-on module enables outside users to check style tracking reports, enter garment measurements, check work in progress, and download authorised reports.