A Closer Look at PLM 3.0

A Closer Look at PLM 3.0

March 16, 2016

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.