You have your designs set, your launch date already planned, and everything seems ready to go for your new collection to hit your showrooms, but you have no idea what the status of your products are in the manufacturing process. You’re worried that they won’t arrive on time and turn out how you wanted them.
This fear is real for product offering businesses that crave control over the management and supervision of their products. Luckily there is a simple and effective solution to this problem in the fashion industry: implementing a PLM system.
What is a PLM System?
A Product Lifecycle Management system, or PLM system for short, is a tool used to coordinate and supervise every step of a product’s lifecycle process, from original concept idea to the shipping and distribution logistics. PLM systems help brands execute processes in an efficient and effective manner, while instilling a sense of quality control. An effective PLM will integrate all team members who take part in the development and creation of the product, including both those working within the manufacturing factory and you as their client. This direct flow of information between brand owners, suppliers, and the manufacturing site speeds up the development of new product designs and samples and assures that the final resulting product meets every set demand criteria – even those specs that your brand may have edited during the pre-production manufacturing process.
How a PLM System Helps Your Fashion Brand
Managing your fashion brand’s product lifecycle can be very difficult. You have to make sure that your product comes in before the season starts, stays ahead of or on trends and consumer preferences, and meets the quality standards your brand lives by. Adopting a fully supported PLM system means that you have less need to coordinate meetings and communication between each moving part of the business, as all project data feeds directly into the overall process. This means your team is able to spend more time working on the specifics of your product designs. Your brand may have to put some investment into setting up and structuring a PLM, but it is well worth it to have a properly operating flow of products and an understanding of what is happening to your merchandise – especially if you can achieve this using an already tried and true PLM supported by its own tech help desk and customer success experts, rather than your own proprietary, from-scratch system.
Your new fashion designs, along with any edits coming from your customers’ inputs, feed directly into the manufacturing specs to facilitate ongoing changes before your clothes reach the showroom. As your products are made, periodic report updates and visual evidence will assure that your pre-set quality guidelines are enforced and that you’re notified of that baseline’s status at every step of the process. Finally, after the products have been made and checked, some PLM systems give you full transparency on the shipping and delivery process to your stores and customers so that you can gauge and prep before your product comes in.
Drawbacks of Traditional PLM Systems
Although an essential and beneficial part of any product offering company, PLMs can hinder your business in some capacities. It comes to you to be careful and choose a system that works best with your brand.
As a PLM is a set system, once following the system you may find it hard to deviate from it when your brand must flex to changing environments and demands. You won’t always be able to incorporate new creative elements that drastically differ from the original product, and in incorporating those new elements, you may set your brand behind schedule. By incorporating new drastic changes, you may also see some additional charges added in that a flexible, more organic system wouldn’t charge.
PLM systems can also read and feel more robotic than hoped for when managing production. Due to this, your brand’s production team will have to train and become familiar with your chosen system and all of its formalities and structure.
MakersValley as Fashion PLM System Solution
Many PLM system solutions exist out there for every sort of product type, set at various prices, and for both large and small companies. However, MakersValley offers an affordable and effective solution for any fashion brand, established or emerging, that enables product sourcing from Italian artisans with generations of experience. On top of that, MakersValley offers an organic, flexible, and fully supported PLM solution to work with, allowing you to easily, quickly, and affordably adapt new design ideas. Your brand will be able to easily connect and communicate with your MakersValley account management team as well as your chosen manufacturer to find the best solutions for your product designs and manufacturing needs -- even as changes occur.
MakersValley also helps your production team stay up to date on project status using both project messages and digital image and video updates on your products, in process, all on the online platform.
After production, MakersValley takes things a step further than most PLM systems by providing on the ground, factory-independent product quality assurance in Italy. Finally, MakersValley will help coordinate and inform your brand on order shipping.
By incorporating MakersValley as your fashion brand’s PLM system, your design and production needs can be better maintained and operated, letting you have the time to focus on product launch prep before stocking your showrooms.
Carson Ward studied at the George Washington University where he majored in International Business and Japanese. He has recently found interest in the fashion industry where he is trying to learn every aspect, from production to marketing and hopes to bring this passion in fashion to MakersValley. In his free time, Carson has been learning and teaching himself how to sew and craft clothes.