Apparel startups and PLM: A perfect match!
While the fashion industry is big, it is also notoriously difficult to break into! This is not only because of the barrier to entry, but also because of an insanely crowded marketplace.
There are a number of problems you can face while launching a fashion startup, but the biggest one is perhaps the time it takes to get a product to market. It usually takes 9-12 months to create a new fashion line and then present it to buyers/customers or have retail ready items hit the shelves.
Many in the fashion industry are still using handwritten files, faxes, spec sheets and emails to communicate design, manufacturing, and inventory information. This workflow is a decade behind other businesses. In an ever-changing industry like fashion, this is hardly acceptable.
While in other industries, the biggest competitive edge for a startup is its ability to quickly create and provide new and innovative products to the market. Fashion brands relying on traditional workflows might find this hard to do.
PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) software can address this problem by streamlining product development in an integrated platform. Startups have an entrepreneurial edge, but when it comes to answering questions and predicting the needs of customers across multiple channels – PLM software has it all figured out!
Apart from taking a product from a sketch to production very quickly and making growth, startups need to address other challenges such as design consistency, communication with suppliers, an effective way of monitor products through different workflows, maintain a record of all versions of every idea and have visibility into the cost and resources which are allocated.
Big, small or medium – every business can benefit from a PLM
PLM is not just for big brands. Any apparel startup can benefit from it, even if you’re just getting started. Here are some reasons why:
- IMPROVED FOCUS: You’ll be focusing on the product itself. In a startup, every person on your team has to wear multiple hats. The best way to avoid losing time and money as a result of this is to use technology that will help you focus on your core competency — the product itself. With PLM, your team can stay focused on what matters most.
- STREAMLINE OPERATIONS: It’s important to have an organized and efficient supply chain from the beginning. As a startup, you want to focus on what matters most: designing and developing your product. However, in order to do this successfully, you need to build an efficient supply chain from day one. That’s easier said than done without an organized system in place. Once you’ve found the right team of suppliers, PLM allows you to ensure they’re all working together efficiently so nothing falls through the cracks when production starts.
You’ll be able to anticipate problems before they happen and make sure nothing gets overlooked. PLM software helps everyone involved in creating and managing your products stay accountable.
- CENTRALIZE INFORMATION: A PLM solution is a single, central location where all of your product data can be accessed, edited, and shared anytime by anyone. Having this tool will help you create products in a more efficient way than ever before. With a PLM solution, you can keep track of the entire product development process, from beginning to end. You can also store information about each product, including materials needed, sketches, and samples. Not only that, but you can also keep track of the deadlines of various tasks needed to develop your product. This helps you stay on track and meet all of the deadlines so that your products will be available on the market on time.
- TEAM COLLABORATION: Some other features that a PLM solution includes are easy collaboration tools and project management tools, which are essential for managing an apparel startup in today’s world. With these tools, you will be able to stay connected with all of your team members at any time during the product development process.
- VENDOR COMMUNICATION: One of the biggest challenges that apparel startups face is finding a way to produce their products on a smaller scale in order to meet demand. This is where working with a PLM solution comes in handy. A PLM solution will enable the fashion designer or brand to communicate with suppliers more directly and efficiently than ever before.
- BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: For any business, gathering data is a crucial process. This is especially true for businesses that are operating in the apparel industry. That’s because collecting and organizing data is essential for tracking trends and changing preferences. You can never know where to make adjustments if you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. In addition, data is also critical to assessing your inventory levels and ensuring that you have enough goods to meet demand without letting them go to waste.
PLM Enables Fashion Companies to Cut Costs, Improve Profits
Every day, fashion companies compete to bring the latest styles to market. And with so many moving parts involved, it’s easy for processes and costs to get out of control. Despite its size, however, the industry lags behind when it comes to technology adoption — apparel companies have been slower than other industries to adopt new technologies like PLM.
There are major financial benefits to using PLM software, especially when it comes to managing product development and inventory processes. For example, the Vendor Portal allows designers to share information with suppliers, which keeps everyone on the same page throughout the whole process. When vendors have access to accurate data, they don’t waste time or money ordering or producing unnecessary items. That means less inventory expense for your brand — and more profit!
A PLM platform can, potentially, save a business thousands of dollars each year. The time savings alone are possibly worth the price of a PLM system. But when you factor in the potential revenue growth and quality of the products produced, the advantages of this solution become clear.
Although PLM is not the silver bullet to fix all of your retail problems, it can go a long way to helping you relieve much of the stress that comes with running your own business. Not only will it give you more time to focus on the important things like marketing and selling, but by automating processes like inventory control and ordering, it’ll also give you the data you need to make smart business decisions.
If you want to find out how a PLM can propel your brand to the next level, talk to one of our PLM consultants. Book a free demo and find out for yourself!