How PLM Software Can Aid the Decision-Making Process of Fashion Brands

Brandon Ginsberg

The worldwide fashion industry, estimated to be worth 1.71 trillion dollars in 2022, connects design teams, brands, suppliers, manufacturers, buyers, and stores. As the industry expands at a fast pace, it can be difficult to manually maintain such a fragmented supply chain with all its complicated steps.

McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2022 Report shows that the fashion industry faces a significant challenge due to probable product and resource shortages, as clogged supply chains and increased shipping costs negatively affect operations. Apparel companies must work with a variety of suppliers from around the globe who may also be serving other customers. It can be difficult to manage precise quantities, storage, tracking, and fulfillment according to each demand, and even minor errors can result in significant losses.

In order to make better decisions when preparing future collections, fashion brands can use product lifecycle software to manage product data and information, improve business processes, speed up time to market, increase productivity, cut waste and costs, improve product innovation and quality, and offer effective real-time collaboration. 

In this post, we’re explaining how product lifecycle software can help fashion brands make better decisions by providing them with more accurate, real-time data, what other benefits it offers, how to decide when it is time to invest in a PLM solution, and more.

Image by Freepik

Why is Digital Transformation Crucial for Fashion Brands

Two decades ago, the majority of European fashion labels launched two new collections a year.  As fashion cycles accelerated, the number of collections also grew and in 2011, fashion brands launched five new collections a year. These days, major fast-fashion companies release new collections at a dizzying rate; for instance, H&M releases between 12 and 16, whereas Zara launches as many as 24 collections every year!

As if this wasn’t fast enough, many clothing brands have switched from the conventional two to four seasonal lines per year to the “drop” approach. Luxury clothing companies like Alexander Wang and Louis Vuitton are also implementing this approach, which involves releasing limited-edition products at selected retail locations in restricted quantities.

When you’re attempting to stand out in a market that is so competitive and changing so quickly, agility is essential. Even though it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the apparel industry, technology is undoubtedly a tool that has the potential to transform it.

Being a successful apparel business requires constant innovation, complex supply chain management, and lightning-quick product delivery. Apparel product lifecycle software lets you control costs, manage idea flow, and deliver enough documentation all in a single centralized location. In essence, product lifecycle software enables you to maximize the use of your existing resources while enhancing your agility.

How PLM Can Aid the Decision-Making Process of Fashion Brands

In order to meet customer demand, the fashion industry places a high priority on launching new products with a short time-to-market. As a result, it is crucial that the product development process is as productive and efficient as possible.

By using apparel business software, your clothing business as a whole will be able to make decisions more quickly and effectively throughout the development process. Cloud-based PLM software offers visibility into product margins, pricing, and raw material costs, enabling data-driven decisions based on: 

  • Overview of collection performance. Product lifecycle management software can help clothing brands in setting appropriate performance benchmarks and improve decision-making through statistical data into the performance of collections by integrating an analytics module to generate collection insights and visualizations. By knowing collection performance, brands can plan better in order to achieve minimum order quantities while at the same time reducing waste.
  • Collection planning. Product lifecycle software enables apparel companies to visualize and compare collections, prices, and styles, making it easier to make informed decisions when creating new items and offering them at the right prices. 
  • Supplier audit. Product lifecycle software also enables a complete examination of product quality and product compliance through supplier audits and the measurement of Acceptable Quality Limits (AQL). In order to collaborate with the most effective and suitable manufacturers, fashion brands can evaluate which suppliers deliver the best samples and which ones have the highest cancellation rates. 

Other Key Benefits of Product Lifecycle Software for Fashion Brands

A product lifecycle management system for fashion brands will increase productivity and efficiency by consolidating data into a single source of truth and coordinating suppliers, product design, production, and management. It can also help with cost reduction and better decision-making. Finally, fashion PLM software helps fashion businesses address product commercialization by streamlining the supply chain, which can eventually increase the company’s profitability and competitive advantage.

Here are some of the most important benefits of using product lifecycle management software made with fashion brands in mind:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity
  • Complete visibility of the product lifecycle 
  • Reduced costs
  • Transparent product tracking
  • More efficient data sharing
  • Improved product quality
  • Improved collection planning
  • Improved tech pack accuracy
  • Faster time to market
  • Improved supplier collaboration
  • Streamlined sample inspections
  • Reduced entry and data errors
  • Elimination of duplication
  • Keeping up with compliance requirements
  • Costing and budgeting
  • Reduced stress in employees
  • Reporting and analytics

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How Do You Know It’s Time to Invest in Fashion PLM Software?

So, how do you know whether it is time to invest in a PLM solution for your fashion business? Here are some typical challenges that fashion companies experience when not having product a lifecycle management software:

  • Data maintenance in Excel, Dropbox, and email is too complicated
  • Delays are caused by redundant data entering and information processing
  • Workflows are being slowed down by information searching
  • Lacking a complete perspective of the timing and workflow among teams
  • Errors in data and samples are frequent
  • Communication and collaboration with suppliers are difficult
  • Creativity suffers due to administrative activities taking up too much time
  • It takes time to deliver and format product data for marketing and sales

If you can relate to one or more of the aforementioned issues, it is undoubtedly time to implement a modern PLM system.

The Bottom Line

Because of how fiercely competitive it is, the fashion industry doesn’t leave much space for error. In a world where trends are constantly being formed and destroyed, fashion companies need to be quick and effective when it comes to getting products to their customers. This requires a system that is up to the challenge – a product lifecycle management solution created with the apparel industry in mind. 

Do you want to improve productivity, save costs, shorten lead times, boost profits for your present fashion product line, and make more informed business decisions? ApparelMagic can help. Learn how our fashion PLM solution can help our company enhance informed decisions, quality management, vendor communication, team collaboration, and more. 

Streamline processes & increase productivity by 60%

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