PLM: the lynch pin and central to a company’s control system
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is often badged as a software system, a computer tool, but in reality it is far more than that. It is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. It integrates people, data, processes and business systems, and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.
PLM starts before design and goes far beyond the now universally used Product Data Management or PDM. IT includes forecasting, collection planning and range building to see what designs are actually required and works through the product development stage into supply chain management and manufacturing integrating into the final distribution of the garment, whether this is though wholesale, retail, or anything else, including all the logistics involved. It is the lynch pin and central to a company’s control system.
Optitex, one of the suppliers of PLM, explains: ‘You create fewer samples, increase precision and uniformity of your product line’s fit, and drastically shorten its time-to-market; to name just a few of the benefits of introducing virtual sampling to your design process. They aren’t just good for prototyping; these simulations are excellent tools you can use for marketing and selling your products. It drastically cuts the time you have to spend on each sample, the cost associated, as well as the hassle of scheduling and organizing numerous fit sessions. No more waiting for FedEx to deliver your next sample.’
The typical fashion PLM requires data entry by several different departments within the company – as well as several different suppliers and manufacturers. The importance of accuracy of information to create a “single version of the truth” and achieve effective collaboration between all parties is critical. Instantaneous and accurate information flow between CAD, PDM, PLM, ERP, SCM, and CRP speeds the development process, reduces costs, avoids errors in production and maintains consistency in quality and fit.