Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) software is designed to help all the members of your team work together without losing track of the big picture. The right PLM solution can help you and your team create beautiful, functional products that meet your clients’ needs and make them happy.
But if you’ve never used a PLM solution before, how do you know you’re getting the most out of it?
You could just fall into a rut, using the same old tools in the same old way—and end up with only minor improvements at best. Instead of dreaming bigger and striving for more, you’ll end up just doing more of the same thing as you always have.
Well, we’re glad you asked! We’d like to help by outlining some ways that Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) software can truly change your fashion business for the better.
PRO TIP: Start small with basics, add advanced tasks later.
Firstly, if you’re just getting started with PLM software, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry — the tools all have learning curves, so take it slow.
When you start out, you’ll probably be using the tool mostly for basic tasks like creating a Tech Pack or reviewing notes for a sample approval. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should use one tool over another, so it depends on what your needs are. Learning about other features will come later, when you need them most.
PRO TIP: Get familiar with different filters and views
After starting with a couple of straightforward features, it’s time to get familiar with the product catalog. Play around with the categories and fields in your product detail view. This can include creating new fields and filters that will help you manage your content.
Learn how to navigate through the various views and filters available in your tool — this will help you find exactly what you want.
PRO TIP: Centralize your BOM management
A critical and time-consuming business task that you want to get on a PLM quickly is your Bill of Materials (BOM). Move your BOM creation and management away from Excel spreadsheets and into the centralized resources of a PLM. It’s literally as easy as a drag and drop to get started.
A centralized BOM tool makes it easy for different teams and team members to contribute, manage and get access to the latest product data in one place.
PRO TIP: Streamline your sample revisions
Coordinating changes and revisions on your product designs and samples is arguably one of the most tedious and communication-heavy parts of the product lifecycle. There’s a LOT that goes into getting a sample just right.
A PLM is an excellent tool to make this process more streamlined, efficient and error free. Use it to request any number of samples for review, give feedback to your design team or manufacturer and give approvals directly on the same platform. The platform lets you keep a log of who changed what and when. If your factory has access to your PLM, they can easily study your requests and make the required changes without combing through countless email trails.
PRO TIP: Invest time in building your resource library
As you begin using a PLM tool, you’ll discover important features that can be useful in keeping track of your products and materials. Invest time in building a centralized resource library of all of the materials, trims and components. This will allow everyone to search through the fabric catalog and other supplies at ease.
Use PLM to develop a searchable Apparel Product Library for all your collections. This will help you manage core, new and seasonal carryover products in a single, visually organized place. Speed up line reviews without complicated spreadsheets.
To get the most out of your PLM software, put the best practices in place from day one. Ensure there’s someone in place who can train and support the team so they don’t get stuck figuring things out.
Most of all, set realistic expectations for the transition from an old system to a new one – it isn’t likely to happen overnight. Begin small and make changes where you can expect the maximum return on investment.
There are many objectives to choose from, but considering your needs and goals ahead of time will lead to a smooth implementation period. Make sure you take the time to plan out this transition period and identify what you hope to accomplish with the solution.