Why tailoring your PLM software to your industry is so important

Every industry has unique challenges. A software solution that works well in one industry may be completely inappropriate for another if it’s not tailored to that specific industry’s circumstances.


The constraints of an industry shape the PLM system’s functionalities. Different industries have different needs when it comes to their PLM systems due to various factors – for example the types of materials used, product life cycle stages and the scale at which companies operate. An aircraft manufacturer will have different priorities than a garment maker, and they need to be able to customize their systems in order to work effectively.

Meanwhile, companies within fashion, beauty and home furnishing sectors tend to use similar design processes as they all manufacture consumer products of high quality. Therefore, these businesses could benefit from using the same type of PLM software. These companies have similar yet bespoke needs specific to their product development processes such as integrating with existing systems or using PLM to regulate complex workflows.

How to tell if your PLM system is adapted to the industry

When you’re choosing a solution for your business, you want the best bang for your buck. But how do you know if your software is β€˜good?’ How do you know if it will work for your business? The answer lies in the details β€” specifically, how well it’s tailored to your industry.

Your PLM software should be tailored to maximize its usefulness in your industry. Some ways to tell if the PLM solution works for you is to ask questions like – is the system used by companies in your industry already? Does it facilitate collaboration and communication between all teams involved in your company’s production process? Does it have change management tools relevant for your field of work?

If you’re in an area of technology that sees rapid innovation, you need a PLM that allows changes without having to start over from scratch. You need the PLM to be flexible enough to adjust to sudden change without too much effort.

There are many such reasons to find a PLM tailored to your specific industry and its challenges. Let’s explore some of these below:

Easy and seamless software integrations

Everyone wants a beautiful, user-friendly product, but when it comes to exchange formats, data management and overall integration, not all products are created equal. Most industries use specific software programs for product development – like CAD, Sketch Up, Adobe Suite, and more. This may also be similar in certain industries like apparel, outdoor gear, furnishing, food & beverage, cosmeticsβ€”where same or similar integrations can do the job.

Ultimately, you need a solution where you can cross-manage files across all relevant formats to avoid friction. This should be as easy as a drag and drop!

Personalized data intelligence and management

Another reason to tailor your PLM systems is to be able to find data quickly and easily. Less time spent on data entry and reentry means more time to work on real work. This will make the PLM solution easier to use as you expand your operations.

If you work in a consumer facing industry like apparel, food or footwear, you will need to view and analyze product data more visually. The PLM should give you multiple product views and information filters tailored to your industry’s requirements.

Updated with industry-specific trends

Having an outdated, rigid system that doesn’t meet your needs can be frustrating. The PLM provider you work with should know, understand and embrace industry-specific trends. For example, if you manufacture electronics, then your PLM system should have a provision for tracking the technological advancements in the industry. Similarly, if your domain is fashion, your PLM system should be able to keep track of fashion trends such as colors or styles.

In today’s scenario, where most enterprises are choosing to implement digital tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), the PLM system should embrace and stay updated as per industry-specific trends. A true PLM suite should offer scalability, flexibility and adaptability for whatever changes come next for your company or industry.

Aligned with quality inspection processes

The PLM system should be aligned with your industry’s quality inspection requirements and regulations. For example, the aerospace industry may require a manufacturer to keep a 2D paper drawing for every part produced. In the fashion industry, quality inspection might need to comply with specific tolerances for specific seams. If you’re using a PLM system that is not tailored to your vertical market, you may not have an efficient way to manage these documents or measurements.

If your company operates in multiple countries or regions, then chances are that you may also need to comply with different quality standards. The best PLM systems give you the flexibility to add new standards and workflows without disrupting the overall system.

Adapted to your product portfolio

A complex product portfolio can require more functionality than an average-sized company’s needs. The ability to spin up custom solutions around specific needs is one of the advantages of working with specialists in PLM over buying off-the-shelf software. For example, if your company makes one product, you may not need a complex materials management system. However, if you make multiple products, you will probably need a system that can handle the variability in your business.

If you manage multiple factories spread across the country or around the globe, a solution built around physical inventory storage locations could get in the way of your operations.


A good PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) system is tailored to the industry it’s in. This is important because each industry has its own distinct characteristics. Discovering these characteristics and then building a system to support them will make your system more effective.

It is very important to identify your requirements from a PLM. For example, what are the different departments you need to support in your company? Are there legal requirements that apply? How is product data tracked? What output formats do you need? What output options do you have?

The answers to these questions and other questions like them are unique to each industry. Figuring out how to answer these questions will determine your success with the PLM system.

You need an expert to help you think about the answers and figure out how to implement them. That’s where we come in. Talk to our experts to figure out if WFX PLM is right your business.


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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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