Why use PLM?

PLM helps accelerate a fashion collection’s lifecycle to nine months from 18 months and sometimes even less depending on the maker’s efficiency and sourcing matrix. This speed-to-market acceleration and other reported profit benefits have prompted companies to design and source product from many parts of the world. They are willing to pay hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to use the software, even though its implementation can sometimes prove a daunting process.

How much will I save from PLM’s economies of scale?

In the highly competitive global fashion industry, speed has become a by-word for success, especially if brands can deliver high-quality garments to customers ahead of rivals. By boosting efficiencies, PLM enables clothing makers to do this at high speeds – saving them time and money. “It’s not so much about the money savings but the speed gains,” says Daniella Ambrogi, vice president of marketing at vendor Lectra. “The most valuable thing in this industry is to deliver the product fast, at the right price and at the right time for consumers. That is the real value of PLM.”

How can PLM help me create a “smart factory”?

While PLM is used to boost economies of scale to help fashion companies hasten speed to market and profitability, most vendors are struggling with one key differentiator: offering their services on a true real-time basis. “For PLM to be agile enough, it must allow you to see what your design and sourcing divisions are doing on a real-time basis,” says Craig Crawford, founder of consultancy Crawford IT. “A lot of PLM is not in real-time because the system architecture has not been implemented to include all the product ecosystem. PLM is not the only system; there is also ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) etc that are not always well integrated.”

How much will PLM cost?

PLM costs vary by vendor, the functions they offer, the number of people that will use the software, the type of company buying it and whether it wants to purchase or rent it, experts say. Vendor Centric Software charges depending on the software’s complexity and user count, with prices ranging from $100,000 for a small business to $14m for an industry giant such as LVMH.

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