Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software is a single source of truth which is a way to consolidate, centralize, and work with a single set of product data in the supply chain. Brands & retailers see PLM as a solution that stores their critical product information any process that needs to access this information should integrate into PLM software.  

PLM acts as a backbone of modern brands and retailers. These brands and retailers have begun using technologies like 3D, AI, IoT, ERP, and supply chain management to drive digital transformation. PLM is the immutable engine that enables these end-to-end integrations for a connected supply chain.  

In this article, let’s understand the importance of PLM for Integrated Enterprise Systems that help the apparel brands & retailers.  

2D CAD-PLM 

CAD integrations are complex. Exchanging data between PLM and 2D CAD software is not always smooth. In this integration 2D patterns along with measurements, sizes, points of measure are integrated from a 2D CAD system to PLM. PLM will be one source of truth for all the 2D patterns (DXF).  

3D CAD-PLM 

3D CAD integrations require high expertise and know-how about CAD and PLM systems. Designers can have the right information at their fingertips when working on a creative design. The fabrics, trims, print designs, and colors can be easily imported to 3D CAD, and the completed 3D design along with Techpack information is sent to PLM systems. Imagine a world where tech packs are created through integrations from 3D CAD systems.  

PLM-ERP 

PLM is about the ideation of a product and ERP is about the execution of the product. An efficient product development process requires real-time access to comprehensive product information. It is possible through ERP and PLM integration to send the product, colorways, sourcing, costing, and BOM information. The integrated enterprise systems reduces costs, enhances efficiency, collaboration, and increases customer satisfaction. 

DM-PLM 

DM stands for Digital Material library. Software like Swatch book, Material Exchange, etc. digitizes the materials like fabrics, buttons, trims, zippers, etc. for 3D. Effective integration between Digital Material & PLM will lead to the housing of digital materials (physics & textures) in PLM that will be used by stakeholders. 

PLM-FIT 

There are a lot of innovations happening in terms of fitting solutions that provide a great customer experience, the right fit, and fewer returns. These platforms would rely on systems like PLM to fetch images, measurements, and materials used on the garment. For a seamless flow of this information into the FIT solutions, integration with the PLM software is necessary. 

PLM-VOC 

VOC stands for the Voice of Customer. VOC is necessary during the initial stages of product development. VOC platforms send the product for a survey where the customers will provide feedback with the look and feel and price. The results of the survey are all stored in the VOC. As the design and product development happens in the PLM system that is disconnected with VOC, resulting in a lot of manual and error-prone results. It is important for users in the PLM system to get feedback on the survey early in the design cycle.  

PLM-PTS 

PTS stands for Product Test Solution. As per CPSC Guidelines,  there are certain rules for Kidswear, menswear, and womenswear that include flammability tests, lead content tests, etc. It requires the importer to issue the certificate and is responsible to validate if the product complies with the CPSC rules. The testing process is disconnected which requires integration with the PLM software for better efficiency and productivity. 

PLM-Sustainable Solution 

The fashion & apparel industry is the second-largest polluter in the world that is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater. Sustainable solutions focus more on benefitting the consumers and minimize the impact on the environment. PLM should integrate with HiggIndex to realize how the products are impacting the environment and early decisions can be taken to create a sustainable product.  

Conclusion 

In today’s supply chain, PLM is an enabler for Brands and Retailers when it is holistically connected to other enterprise systems. Companies can sow the seeds of a connected supply chain to reap future benefits. Every software vendor is an expert in their own software platforms like 2D, 3D, ERP, VOC and it is the Brands that need to realize and envision the future of Integrated Enterprise Systems that deliver value, cost, and speed to market.