How PLM software helps fashion brands reduce their time-to-market

Fashion brands are under a lot of pressure to be on trend and deliver new products quickly. It’s not easy to keep up with the rapid pace at which consumers want to see new items on shelves (virtual or otherwise). The time-to-market, or the length of time it takes for a product to go from the conception stage to actually being available in the market, is an important factor for success in the fashion industry. 


In fact, the time-to-market can make or break a product in fashion. The faster a brand can bring its products to market, the better position it will be in to compete with other brands and stay ahead of trends.  

However, a fashion brand has to wrangle a very complex supply chain to make this happen. This is why it is critical to leverage Fashion PLM software to help streamline every operation in the product’s lifecycle. 

If you want to reduce your brand’s time-to-market without compromising accuracy or quality, here are a few ways PLM software can help:  

1. PLM helps centralize all product-related information for easy access 

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software is a digital system for managing product information. This means that all of the various elements associated with your brand and its products—from design to manufacturing, sales, marketing and support—are brought together into one centralized location. This helps reduce the time it takes to find information.  

When data is scattered across documents and databases on local machines or email threads, you end up wasting a lot time just to track down the information you need. PLM software keeps this data together so that the right people can access the right information when they need it. PLM also makes it easier for teams to securely share this information with other departments or external stakeholders such as suppliers or buyers.  

Information management tools such as version control, search and filter capabilities, user permissions management and version history tracking enable teams to manage their data more efficiently. To illustrate, Dutch fashion brand Mexx said that the they chose WFX PLM “specifically for their best-in-market Product Information Management (PIM) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) modules” which allows them to gather all their data in a single place and then filter and extract this information for specific use cases such as for marketplaces like Zalando or Amazon.  

2. PLM helps standardize and streamline Tech Packs  

A Fashion Tech Pack is a document that provides all the necessary information required to produce your garments. It contains specifications for each product, from yarns used in the fabric to methods of construction and washing instructions. PLM can help brands standardize their Tech Pack creation process. Brands can develop templates for different categories of garments, which can then be customized according to the required specifications and sent to suppliers. 

By having a standardized set of Tech Packs for all products, fashion brands can reduce time-to-market by ensuring that suppliers have access to all information required for production—including images and CAD files—with just one click.  

Digital Tech Packs in PLM can help speed up production by: 

  • Letting you create templates that make it easy to generate Tech Packs with just a few clicks 
  • Automating processes, so you don’t have to manually update every time there are changes within your company or new orders come in 
  • Giving suppliers access to the approved Tech Packs so that there’s no version confusion  

READ MORE: How digital Tech Packs can prevent costly manufacturing errors 

3. PLM can speed up sample approval and quality control processes  

PLM software helps create a streamlined process for sample approval. When everyone is working from the same version of the design, there are no more mismatched measurements, colors or materials. This means that samples can be approved more quickly and easily. It also ensures that only appropriate designs get approved by the right people at each stage of development. 

PLM also helps to ensure that samples meet quality standards. This can be particularly important in fashion where it’s not uncommon for designs to change drastically as they go through various stages of development. With PLM software, designers and merchandising teams can collaborate effectively on quality control so there’s no confusion over which materials are being used or how closely they match with what was originally intended by the designer and so on.  

4. PLM improves adherence to timelines and deadlines  

In order to stay on schedule, you need an effective way of communicating deadlines and timelines among the various parties working on your project (designers, merchandisers, etc.) This can be accomplished within your PLM platform by setting up automatic notifications at critical milestones or defining which users are notified when certain events occur during project execution (such as delivery).  

You can also track deadlines and verify timelines as they’re happening in real-time (or close enough). Unlike paper-based methods like spreadsheets or email chains, PLM software allows teams to see past due dates right inside their user interface so they don’t have to manually enter them into separate calendar apps or checklists—making sure that no one falls behind!  

In fact, Benetton India implemented WFX PLM expressly to improve production and shipment tracking and get better visibility of their operations. Benetton was able to reduce their time-to-market by 35% through comprehensive real-time tracking of production deliverables of their suppliers via the WFX platform.  

READ MORE: 8 ways fashion brands can speed up their fashion manufacturing process 

5. PLM supports better communication within teams and with suppliers   

PLM software supports better communication within teams and with external suppliers. It helps different departments work together, and it also facilitates the flow of information across locations. For example, maternity and kids fashion group NINE&Co has offices in Netherlands, Germany and Belgium as well as suppliers in Asia. Using WFX PLM allowed NINE&Co to streamline collaboration and communication across all teams (no matter where they are based), which has helped them bring down lead times by 30%!   

Because everyone has access to the same centralized database, employees can easily share design updates with each other throughout a project’s lifecycle—whether it’s an internal designer working on a new jacket design or an external supplier who needs more details about their order of shirts in time for production. 

Built-in collaboration tools such as commenting and version control help everyone stay on top of what’s happening across different departments or locations. So, no one wastes time figuring out who said what, when or which version of a design is “the real one” anymore. These built-in capabilities can be used as a starting point for custom workflows designed around specific processes within your business (like requiring approvals from multiple people before an order goes out). 

Read more: Help your design & development team collaborate better with PLM  


Fashion brands are always looking for ways to reduce their time-to-market. PLM software is the answer because it can help you save time and money by allowing you to collaborate with your team more effectively in real-time. It allows you to create a single source of truth and ensures that no information ever gets “lost” in the labyrinth of spreadsheets!  

In fashion, speed and agility are crucial factors that determine the market positioning and profitability of a brand. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your risk of product failure, then check out WFX PLM, a solution designed specifically for fashion brands! Sign up for a free demo to learn more.  


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About the author

Team WFX

Team WFX

WFX - World Fashion Exchange is a global fashion-tech leader providing cloud-based software solutions for the fashion industry.

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