The importance of PLM software in the fashion industry

PLM may have started in aviation, but it has since spread to many other industries. There are good reasons for this! PLM software makes any business process with multiple steps and multiple actors much easier to manage. So it’s no wonder that many of the best PLM software providers offer their services in a variety of branches. One of them is the fashion industry. With dozens of steps to take before any piece of clothing hits the store rack and hundreds of different people involved in the process, it’s easy to see why PLM software in the fashion industry has been increasingly important and present in recent years. But what specifically can you gain from applying PLM to the fashion business?

The basics: PLM explained

PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management. A product lifecycle consists of four stages:

  1. the concept in which the idea develops
  2. design when the idea turns into a prototype
  3. production of the design
  4. distribution and maintenance in which the product reaches the customers
Different clothes on a rack produced with the help of PLM software in the fashion industry.
How can PLM help you make and sell more and better clothes?

PLM software aims to connect all four of these steps and coordinate everyone involved with them in a way that leads to more productivity, faster production, and higher quality. It does so by collecting all the relevant data, making it accessible to all actors and easing communication between different departments.

How does it relate to the fashion industry?

When one considers the process that a garment goes through between its conception in the mind of a designer and its place in someone’s closet, it’s easy to see the importance of PLM software in the fashion industry. In fact, PLM solutions for footwear and apparel have become a staple for many of the world’s biggest fashion brands. In an industry like this, where speed and quality are both incredibly important, a tool that allows for faster production and more consistent and higher quality at the same time is crucial.

What is the importance of PLM software in the fashion industry?

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re in the business of fashion. You want to be a trendsetter, to always have a new design out faster than anyone else. But you also want to make sure that your product is better than anyone else’s. And you need to keep track of how your products are treated during every step of the process to ensure that. PLM software will help you with all of this.

Clothes for men on a rack.
Fun fact – PLM and fashion overlap in a number of ways.

PLM increases the speed-to-market for fashion products

Few industries appreciate the quick delivery of new products the way the fashion industry does. You need to be fast enough to have new clothes every season, fast enough to be the first one to have your line out, fast enough to reach the customers before anyone else. But that’s not easy. From the designer’s idea to the first model to mass production to delivery to stores, there are a lot of steps to take before anyone can buy your clothes. With PLM software, however, you will speed up the process significantly. By compiling all information and ensuring it’s visible to everyone involved, PLM software promotes transparency, making it possible for you to see where you can cut certain steps and save time but also making it easier for your employees to collaborate and follow processes efficiently.

Deal with higher demand and higher production numbers

High demand is a good problem to have! But it’s still a problem. Keeping up with higher demand without sacrificing speed or quality can be tricky. Luckily, PLM solutions for industrial manufacturing have shown excellent results in this area. So you can absolutely count on PLM software to help you produce more garments faster without diminishing the quality of your designs and products.

The importance of PLM software in the fashion industry for data integration

The larger your business grows, the more information you need to keep track of. The different SKUs of the garments and accessories, the sizes in which a certain design is offered, the variations of seasonal lines… A simple mistake somewhere along the line could cause you serious issues! You might end up with too much of a certain dress or too few left shoes or who knows what else. This is where PLM software in the fashion industry is very useful. It will allow you to gather, organize and use vast amounts of data, thus ensuring consistency across the board.

Be on the same page with your entire team

Any operation or task that requires a lot of people work together relies on good communication. Fashion businesses are no different. In fact, good communication within the business is crucial when you need to juggle designers, manufacturers, production, delivery, sellers and dozens of others. You want everyone to be on the same page in regards to their tasks and the products themselves. With PLM, you’ll have access to all the relevant information in real-time. You’ll be able to compile reports, follow the progress and communicate effectively. This will make production much easier and more efficient.

Blouses on hangers.
With PLM, everyone knows exactly what each garment is supposed to be like.

PLM software in the fashion industry helps you stay compliant with regulations

When it comes to compliance with regulations, your first thought may be about PLM solutions for energy service and supply or another equally complex and highly regulated industry. But regulations exist in the fashion industry as well! If you’re making apparel for children, for example, or protective and sports gear. In these cases, you will have to stay on top of any relevant regulations. Not just that, but you will also need to make sure your team does the same. While you will have to regularly check for updates to rules and regulations yourself, PLM can help you stay compliant with them. With a comprehensive database of products and information about all stages of their development, it will be easy to find those that need to be retested or changed.

Improve your business processes in the fashion industry through new technology

Finally, a lot of the importance of PLM software in the fashion industry comes not from what it does right now but what it could do in the future. PLM software is the latest innovation to help you run a business in fashion. The increasing interest in it means it will only improve in the future too. And really, who can say no to improvement through new and developing technology?

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