What Is PLM Software?

Another common type of software that is used as part of an apparel management system is PLM or Product Lifecycle Management software. This type of software provides a technological foundation for relationships between everyone involved in the product lifecycle. This shouldn’t be confused with PDM, which is Product Data Management. PDM software is used primarily to manage your techpacks.

The thing that sets PLM software apart from ERP is that it is the space where products are conceptualized. Every aspect of creating the products that you’re going to sell, like materials sourcing, technical design, product testing, fit reviews, retail presentation, and so much more all take place before products are even created. These types of processes are what PLM is used for.

The reason why a lot of apparel businesses decide to use PLM software is to help speed up their production time from the initial concept to the final customer. This is a type of enterprise solution that focuses on connecting everyone involved in pushing products through the creation phase before they can even be brought to fruition in manufacturing. In addition to speeding up your time to market on new SKUs, PLM software can be pivotal in improving product quality, driving product innovation, and managing resources so that there is less waste and lower costs.

PLM software tools are used in almost every area of the apparel and fashion industry. Those who are simply involved in the design of new products all the way up to product teams, IT, and executives are finding ways to use this collaborative type of platform to enhance their operations.

PLM software helps keep track of the different product specifications that you need to keep track of for each garment, helps you maintain a current and comprehensive materials library, and can keep track of quotes from your suppliers. This type of software can be very useful for an apparel company. There are only a few options out there for this type of software and it tends to be very new.

A lot of PLM is offered in the Software as a Service or SaaS model and is based in the cloud. There are obvious benefits to that which help streamline your communication with your team and everyone involved, no matter where they may be around the globe.

The origins of PLM software came from the automotive industry. This type of tool was originally created to help large teams of people manage every area of larger and complex projects. The first fashion-specific PLM to hit the market was CentricSoftware. Since then, more options have become available.

Where Does PLM Fall Short?

PLM software is a great tool with many benefits; however, it isn’t perfect on its own. The problem with a specific software like this is that even though the functionality is great, it leaves a lot to be desired. Using a completely separate tool for PLM means that it isn’t natively integrated with your existing systems. This can cause problems because you want to reduce redundancy, reduce errors, and generally make things more efficient when you start using a tool like this. Something that fails to integrate is going to end up consuming more resources and creating problems that will need to be solved later on.

Something that stands out about ApparelMagic is that it has a built-in PLM. Not only do you get the benefits of all the features that a full-featured Product Lifecycle Management tool has to offer, but also you do not have to extend additional resources or worry about the compatibility with the systems you may already have in place. 

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