Consulting Entries

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

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.

Introducing NGC’s Management Consulting Services

For more than 30 years, NGC has been a leader in bringing best-in-class software to the fashion and apparel industry. Over time, we have gained unmatched expertise in fashion and apparel software technology, coupled with a professional staff that has deep experience in the industry and an in-depth understanding of best practices.

After hearing from our customers, NGC is now offering a new level of industry insight that can help companies improve their business, from the top down. These services are available to both new and existing customers through our Management Consulting Services.

What exactly does this mean? Based on our experience with the world's top brands, retailers and consumer products companies, we will work with your executive team to review your business KPIs and plans, understand market challenges and opportunities, provide an analysis of current business practices and propose an improved strategy.

Together, we will begin by examining your future growth plans including organic growth, acquisition plans and brand growth; review your supply chain processes, including global sourcing mix and suppliers; and evaluate your business structure in each relevant channel. Recognizing existing and future market trends, we will prepare an analysis of challenges and opportunities across your sales organization, design and product development, sourcing and business operations. Using the review of business KPIs and plans, along with an analysis of challenges and opportunities within your company and industry, we will provide an in-depth analysis of your current business practices. Read on »

Panorama 2013: An International Gathering in Miami Beach

It's only been a week since NGC's Panorama User Conference, and if we could sum it up in a single word, it would be: "Amazing!"

By any measure, Panorama 2013 was an extraordinary event.

The weather was unusually blustery and rainy in Miami Beach, but that didn't put a damper on what turned out to be an international gathering.  We were thrilled to see so many attendees from around the world, including Hong Kong, China, Central and South America, Canada and throughout the United States. The presentations were first-rate, and the enthusiasm and support from our attendees created an outstanding environment for learning, networking and sharing ideas. Read on »

Join Spanx, Carter's, Jockey & Others at Panorama User Conference

Panorama is the event of the year for NGC Customers - and now we have even more reasons to attend our annual user conference in world-renowned Miami Beach.

Don't miss out the opportuntiy to learn more on best practices, benefits, system capabilities, customer case studies and network among the confirmed attendees such as:

  • Spanx
  • Carter's
  • Jockey
  •  Aeropostale
  • Dolce Vita
  • Rocky Brands
  • Williamson Dickie
  • and many others

Register today to join us in Miami Beach, Nov. 13-15. Hope to see you there! 

Contact Francis Bran at 800-690-0642 or email us at

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