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PLM 3.0: What the Experts Say

NGC is proud to sponsor the latest Apparel Thought Leadership Report, PLM 3.0: Maximizing Your PLM Investment, available for download here. It provides fascinating insight into how PLM has evolved into a technology platform that touches every part of the enterprise.

The report traces PLM’s evolution from a simple PDM (Product Data Management) solution into PLM 3.0, “a platform with extended reach across multiple software applications, from concept to consumer.” As the report notes, PLM 3.0 “is a direct response to changing business paradigms. To truly innovate and stay a step ahead, companies are shaking up the traditional ways of doing business.”

“PLM 3.0 is designed to complement and support both tried and-true and new-and-different strategies. By its very nature, it does not require software replacement. Rather, with PLM 3.0, the focus is on connecting the data and systems in the organization to drive better decision-making. PLM 3.0 serves as an enterprise hub for the entire product lifecycle…”

The vision outlined in this report matches perfectly with NGC’s view of PLM. We were especially pleased to see insights from leading apparel brands and consultants, and we’d like to share a few of their comments from the report:

“Today everyone thinks of PLM as a product development system, but with PLM 3.0, it becomes a strategic enterprise platform that touches every part of the organization. PLM 3.0 extends the capabilities of PLM in new and exciting directions.” – Tom Stevenson, Vice President of IT, True Religion Brand Jeans

“Whether the manufacturer is a fully branded design house or private label manufacturer for retail, the responsibility for the product being delivered is now fully upon the manufacturer. They need to know the market and produce high-quality products faster, better and at a lower cost than ever before. This can only be accomplished with very tight, rigid controls. PLM 3.0 provides this level of tracking through integrated collaboration with the retailers.” – David Ryan, Managing Partner, Concepts in Technology Inc.

“The benefits (of PLM 3.0) are tremendous. We broke down silos with each internal department and were able to re-assess our working processes. This gave us an ability to streamline how we work.” – Angela Chan, Senior Vice President and Chief Sourcing Officer, DXL Group.

“Fashion trends today change faster than ever, making shorter lead times essential. Companies have to find ways to compress the entire lifecycle from concept through delivery, in order to get their merchandise on the shelf faster.” – Stevenson



A Closer Look at PLM 3.0, Part 2


Guest: David Ryan, Managing Partner
Concepts in Technology, Inc.

NGC recently spoke to David Ryan, Managing Partner of Concepts in Technology, about his views on PLM innovation and the latest generation of PLM systems, which we call PLM 3.0. Dave is an expert in fashion technology, and we’re pleased to share his viewpoints in this two-part guest blog post.

Dave shared his thoughts on PLM evolution in last week's blog post. Part 2 focuses on how PLM 3.0 improves the flow of information across the extended apparel enterprise.

How can PLM 3.0 enhance information flow and decision-making across an organization and its supply chain?

For years, PLM has provided each business silo with information.  Simple examples include sketch, art and design approval for Design; lab dip, strike-off and fit approvals for Product Development; even event and calendar tracking for Senior Management.  However, today’s PLM must communicate this information across the entire company, not just to siloed departments.

This can be accomplished with fully integrated calendar management and integrated workflows tied to interactive collaboration and proactive notifications, all built within the system, based on rules configured to support different business operations.

This collaboration proactively can look out and evaluate critical-path tasks that could impact the whole process downstream, if not addressed in a timely manner.  On top of this, the reporting capabilities within the system can now can look “across” the business and provide the company with automated, proactive visibility to what is really happening, not what they think is happening.

As a fully integrated solution capable of communicating across multiple business platforms, PLM controls can be layered into the company’s older legacy systems and breathe new life into them.   This allows the legacy systems to be the transactional tools they were built to be, while the collaborative and analytical nature of PLM 3.0 provides the visibility the company needs to accurately and proactively address issues. This is all done in a timely manner, allowing the company to react and correct any issues so they will not impact the final delivery of the product.

Could you share a few different scenarios for how PLM 3.0 could help — a C-suite executive? an end user in a specific department? a global supplier?

From C-level Executives and department managers to other teams and even global suppliers, the new generation of PLM systems keep them all proactively communicating and in synch.

Starting with the global supplier, one of a PLM system’s greatest features is the ability to communicate and collaborate with the global community, in a timely and effective manner.  As we all know, change is the only constant in our business.  By utilizing today’s PLM systems we can effectively communicate change and achieve our goal to maintain “one version of the truth” through the whole product development and production cycle.

Within the company, PLM 3.0 shares information among the team members that are directly involved with all the given and defined processes. It also keeps the teams supporting the upstream and downstream processes informed, by providing visibility on what is happening on a proactive basis and creating the ability to react and correct in a timely and effective manner.

By utilizing the combination of workflow processes (to keep the business flow consistent) and calendar management (to keep tasks on schedule and consistent), all the teams can be proactively notified of potential issues, eliminating the need to “look” for issues.

With this process in place and working, the teams become more analytical, thus allowing team members to focus on “running with the business” as opposed to “chasing the business”.

And finally, because PLM 3.0 can be set up to be proactive, C-level executives can be confident that when something isn’t working, they will are made aware of it in a timely enough manner to properly react.  This level of information can also transcend into the analytical world.

PLM 3.0 keeps a history of what was planned, what was delivered, and all the issues in-between.  With this information, as a new season “rolls in,” the historical information can be reviewed and analyzed, allowing adjustments to be made to improve the overall performance of the company.



A Closer Look at PLM 3.0


Guest:
David Ryan, Managing Partner
Concepts in Technology, Inc.

NGC recently spoke to David Ryan, Managing Partner of Concepts in Technology, about his views on PLM innovation and the latest generation of PLM systems, which we call PLM 3.0. Dave is an expert in fashion technology, and we’re pleased to share his viewpoints in this two-part guest blog post.

How would you describe the latest generation of PLM innovation — PLM 3.0?

PLM 3.0 is a fully integrated software platform embedded not only in a company’s enterprise software, but the business operations as well.

However, to fully define PLM 3.0, you need to take a look at the evolution of PLM systems.  It all started 20+ years ago with PDM, or Product Data Management, the goal of which was to simply to provide a formalized place to hold and control technical specifications (tech packs) for a company’s product line.
   
The next generation of PLM expanded on this idea and put in the capabilities to create “approval steps” for fabrics, lab dips, fits and strike-offs. This was the first generation of PLM or Product Life Cycle Management.

Following this, PLM software providers started to add line sheet management, workflows, calendars and collaborative notifications from within the system for historical tracking of all communications.

Today’s third-generation PLM takes all of these tools and ties them seamlessly into the whole enterprise process. This new generation also provides tracking and proactive notification of the style development, including the entire evolution of the line sheet, from concept to financial analysis.  On top of this, it provides purchase order control and tracking, as well as full collaboration of technical specifications and associated changes, providing the company and the factory “one version of the truth” with regards to product development.  

What major changes in fashion retail create a compelling need for PLM 3.0?

As we all know, the worlds of retail and manufacturing are becoming blurred.  

Whether the manufacturer is a fully branded design house or private label manufacturer for retail, the responsibility for the product being delivered is now fully upon the manufacturer.  They need to know the market and produce high-quality products faster, better and at a lower cost than ever before. This can only be accomplished with very tight, rigid controls.  

PLM 3.0 provides this level of tracking through integrated collaboration with the retailers for product approvals (especially in a licensed environment), as well as stronger pre-production and production controls through interactive collaboration and tracking.

Why is PLM 3.0 important today?

In today’s world of apparel manufacturing, there is NO room for error -- no room for late deliveries, no room for mistakes, and no room for poor quality.  The days of “partnerships” and letting things slide are over. In today’s world it’s a matter of “what have you provided for me lately?” Manufacturers must be able to help retailers attain the projected margins they expect; this is all that matters.  Adding to this, it all must be done all in the shortest delivery and re-delivery timeframe the industry has ever experienced.

The winners, and there are plenty, are the manufacturers that can meet all of these requirements (and others) on a timely and consistent basis, with an emphasis on consistency.

The only way to provide this level of consistency is with discipline. PLM 3.0 provides all of the discipline necessary by providing an integrated tool that can be configured to define all the control points needed to run and track the business, not only within the system, but within the business operations as well.  

This is the first part of a two-part blog post. Next week’s blog post will focus on how PLM 3.0 improves the flow of information across the extended apparel enterprise.
 



We’re Ready for PLM 3.0 – Are you?



In its 20+ year history, PLM has constantly evolved and today, PLM is undergoing its greatest transformation yet, with the advent of PLM 3.0, also known as “PLM-as-a-Platform.” PLM 3.0 is helping companies realize new breakthroughs in time to market, cost reduction and responding to consumer demand.

PLM 3.0 doesn’t require you to scrap your current PLM system and that’s good news for companies that have already invested in PLM over the past decade. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of PLM.

PLM 1.0: Product Data Management. In the early 1990s, with the shift to overseas manufacturing, fashion and CPG companies needed to a way communicate product data to factories on the other side of the globe, which gave rise to PLM 1.0: Product Data Management, or PDM.

The end product of PDM was the tech pack, which quickly became a universal communications document for companies that sourced products. Tech packs were distributed by email, enabling the rapid growth in global sourcing. There were limitations, though, which gave rise to the next wave of PLM innovation.

PLM 2.0: Where we are today. With the growth of the Internet, companies needed a web-based system that connected design, production and planning teams with factories and agents in real-time. Collaboration, calendaring and exception management were essential, which led to the development of PLM 2.0 in the early 2000s. PLM 2.0 covers concept to adoption, and that’s where most of the industry is today.

Today, when people think of PLM, they typically think of PLM 2.0. While the capabilities in PLM 2.0 are essential for product development, it doesn’t begin to unlock the complete potential of PLM to transform the entire product lifecycle.

PLM 3.0: The next step in PLM’s evolution. With PLM 3.0, the focus is on connecting the data and systems in your organization to drive better decision-making. PLM 3.0 takes PLM beyond its traditional role, turning PLM into an enterprise platform that shares data among key stakeholders in every department of your company, as well as third parties such as vendors, suppliers, product testing labs, logistics providers and more.

PLM 3.0 takes information from all organizational systems and data sources, shares and analyzes it, and executes decisions based on the results. Every stakeholder shares in the information, which is important, since issues in one part of the organization have ripple effects upstream or downstream.

This represents a big step forward from PLM 2.0. Today, issues that happen in production aren’t shared in a timely manner with decision-makers upstream, where problems can be resolved before they escaIate into full-blown crises. Companies that have a PLM 2.0 mindset believe in order to improve the final result, they need to improve the concept to adoption phase.

Planning is important, and companies must continue to improve here. But they need to get better at reacting, too, because even the best-laid plans can go awry. That’s where PLM 3.0 makes a huge difference.

To learn more about PLM 3.0 and how it can help change your business and give you the ability to react to the ever-changing business environment, check out NGC’s latest white paper, “Get Ready for PLM 3.0."



Why Do Companies Invest in Fashion PLM Software?

California Apparel News recently invited NGC’s Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and R&D, to participate in an editorial roundtable discussion on fashion PLM and the global supply chain. NGC was honored to participate, along with other industry thought leaders.

Alison Nieder, editor-in-chief of California Apparel News, asked Mark to answer three questions about PLM:

  • When companies come to you looking for a PLM solution, what are they looking for?
  • Are companies’ PLM needs different depending on their size and their market?
  • Do those needs change over time?

We’d like to share Mark’s answers with you below. We hope you enjoy them, and please click here for a link to the full article.

When companies are thinking about a PLM solution, what they really seek is visibility of the product lifecycle from concept through delivery. They are also looking for faster speed to market, more efficient design processes and tighter collaboration with their supply-chain partners. Often, the decision to invest in PLM is a result of a company’s success and rapid growth; companies can’t keep pace with the growing number of lines, their SKUs are proliferating, and they need to establish more consistency in product fit and quality. These are all signs that a company is ready for PLM.

Companies look for a PLM solution that is designed for the fashion industry. They want a product that is especially designed for their industry and software companies that have in-depth understanding and experience in fashion and apparel. The beauty of a modular approach to PLM is that companies can get the functionality they need now and expand later.

Typically, the core functionalities are implemented in the first phase, followed by supporting functionalities in later phases. Core functionality includes product specifications and approval tracking, costing, sample management, PO delivery and WIP (work in process) tracking, logistics, and calendar management. These are the basic building blocks for the concept-to-delivery model.

Later phases of a PLM implementation often include line planning, vendor onboarding and compliance, product and material testing, and production quality management. Once the system has been live for a period of time, it’s time to add business intelligence (BI) tools to start tracking metrics and setting goals for continued improvement.


 
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