How retailers transform product development with PLM

Retail is one of the biggest and most competitive industries out there today. If you own a business in this industry, then you are already familiar with the amount of competition there is. In order to stand out, you need to be bigger, better, faster. To do this, many businesses are turning to PLM solutions for help. PLM system can help a business keep better track of the production process, lower the speed to market and even cut unnecessary spending. This is why you will often see successful modern retailers transform product development with PLM these days. If you want to become one of them, you should consider PLM for your business as well! So what do you need to know about retail PLM and how can it help you?

PLM – what is it and how does it work?

PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management. Product Lifecycle Management can be understood as two different but connected things: a way of managing production and the software that makes this way of doing things possible. As a business philosophy that guides production, PLM is the idea of tracking the life of a product throughout its existence, from its conception to its distribution. The point is to make sure that the product is developed as quickly, safely and consistently as possible while also minimizing risk and cost. So how does PLM software achieve this? PLM software will make it easier to:

  1. link together all the information about your products and materials
  2. manage information about workflows and procedures
  3. keep all the information about your business up to date
  4. provide all stakeholders with the same correct information
Retailers transform product development with PLM by implementing different processes.
Incorporate all your processes into a single piece of software with PLM.

Let’s look at PLM solutions for industrial manufacturing as an example. If you are in the business of producing and selling industrial equipment, odds are there are hundreds of things happening in your business at once. Certain parts have been produced, others are being improved, some raw materials have just arrived and your previous batch has just shipped out. PLM software will contain all this information in real-time. You and everyone else concerned will, therefore, be able to keep track of everything that is happening and make decisions based on comprehensive and accurate information.

Why do retailers transform product development with PLM?

You may be wondering why so many businesses are moving towards using PLM. So let’s consider some of the main advantages of using PLM software:

  • visible and easily accessible information ensures everyone involved is on the same page about the products and processes
  • keeping track of the procedures will reveal if there are any places in the process where you can save some time
  • it will be easier to stay in compliance with regulations when you have all the information you need in one place
  • you will save time and money you would’ve otherwise spent finding information yourself and figuring out what is happening

Because of these and other advantages, PLM software has spread from manufacturing to other branches of business. Now, PLM solutions for the service industry, PLM for energy and utilities and other similar industries are also common. Retail is one of those industries that have increasingly been using PLM in recent years. PLM in retail is helpful because it allows businesses to keep track of a large number of products, different versions of products, design and development of new products, manufacturing of products, and the delivery of products to stores.

How do retailers transform product development with PLM successfully?

So let’s say that you, like so many other retailers, want to improve your product development with PLM. Of course, you can’t just suddenly switch over to a PLM software and expect everything to work perfectly from day one. Some planning and implementation are necessary.

Retailers transform product development with PLM in a meeting.
Working together on implementing new software is key.

Be strategic and plan ahead

PLM will surely transform the way you do retail. Such change cannot come out of the blue one day. Instead, you must plan ahead. So do your research, set up a timeline and decide on a strategy. A lot will depend on the type of software you choose and the company that provides it. They can help you devise the best plan for implementation. But you should also plan around your own business schedule and goals – something only you really know!

Integrating PLM software with existing software

You probably already have some software that you’re using for product design and development. There is rarely any need to entirely replace it when you want to implement PLM software. Instead, PLM software can and usually should be integrated with your existing software. Don’t worry about this step, though – your PLM software provider will certainly assist you with this.

Get your team on board with the new procedures

The successful transformation of product development through PLM depends on the successful implementation of the PLM software by the entire business. But in order to achieve this, everyone you work with needs to be in agreement. This is one of those moments when knowing how to effectively communicate with your employees is crucial. Let your developers know in advance about what is going to happen and what they need to do to make the transition easier. But more importantly, make sure they understand why you’re making these changes. If they see the benefits of PLM, they will have an easier time accepting and implementing it.

Set clear goals to ensure success

The most important thing you need to do is ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve. Are you looking to better define the process of product development? Or do you want to make it easier for the designers and developers to communicate with other team members? Either way, clearly defining goals can help you choose the best strategy for implementation.

To-do list.
You must know what you want to do in order to achieve it.

The right timing, for example, can make all the difference. Choose a time when your business is not overly busy. That way, you can iron out any issues without disrupting your business. Decide if you want to roll out the software altogether or implement it in sections instead – perhaps you’ll start with PLM solutions for footwear and apparel first, then extend the scope of your PLM software to the supply chain as well. Retailers transform product development with PLM with the assistance of PLM software providers, so make sure you consult with your chosen PLM company to develop the best strategy.

Retailers transform product development with PLM but not without challenges!

It’s not such a rare occurrence anymore that retailers transform product development with PLM. In fact, it happens every day. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any hiccups along the way. One of the biggest issues with PLM software in retail is that it is often comprised of bits and pieces of older legacy software that retailers have used for years. This sometimes makes it not ideally representative of what PLM tries to achieve. The best thing you can do to ensure you get the best possible PLM solutions is to choose the right provider. This will make all the difference!

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