Owning the Digital Enterprise: How PLM Has Evolved And What’s To Come

Owning the Digital Enterprise: How PLM Has Evolved And What’s To Come

August 16, 2019

Managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal, comes with plenty of moving parts. While Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has long since served an important role for clothing manufacturers, it has become even more critical in the past five years.

For apparel and footwear companies today, PLM can be a seamless part of an enterprise platform that incorporates a wealth of information and services spanning product and material creation, factory capabilities and capacity, material positioning, production WIP and quality control, and finished good distribution. Instead of relying on manual processes and siloed systems, retailers and brands have found a more streamlined solution that allows them to enter information directly into a digital platform.

An Expanded Scope Supports Modern-Day Needs  

Consider all of the departments and handoffs in the fashion design and manufacturing continuum – hundreds of decision points and transitions, each represented by different departments, functions, team members and vendors. To take full advantage of PLM, it should be incorporated into a digital, enterprise platform that breaks down organizational silos and enables faster decision-making by bringing together planning, design, sourcing, production, logistics and replenishment into a single, connected enterprise.

A number of new applications can work with PLM and supply chain management software to manage critical parts of the value chain. For example, vendor management can streamline vendor onboarding and ongoing management, since all necessary documentation—standards of vendor engagement, compliance documents, certifications, audit results and more—reside in a central location that’s instantly accessible. This allows brands and retailers to make more intelligent sourcing decisions.

Quality management is another example. New applications can help ensure the right level of quality as products move from the design phase of PLM into production. Bringing quality control into an enterprise platform will also help companies identify problems sooner, reducing the risk of cancellations, chargebacks and returns while protecting a brand’s reputation.

Evolving Needs Foreshadow PLM’s Next Stage

The industry’s leading brands and retailers are moving towards a common digital platform that will eventually utilize Artificial Intelligence to analyze Big Data and autonomously make decisions and initiate transactions faster than any amount of human beings can possibly achieve.

This push toward automation is further transforming PLM’s role. It must be part of an overall product development and supply chain ecosystem that can read demand signals, which are constantly changing, and then quickly react to consumer demand.  Speed is critically important here, since fashion trends come and go quickly.  

How NGC Andromeda Can Help

NGC’s cloud-based Andromeda PLM® solution was designed specifically for the needs of apparel, fashion and footwear brands and retailers.

Configurable and user friendly, the digital fashion and apparel PLM solution provides a common platform for all PLM related elements including Planning, Merchandising, Design, Costing, Sampling, Quality and Sourcing. Workflow calendars allow you to track progress, predict unexpected delays and keep all departments on the same page in real-time. With critical path management processes and the ability to create role-specific dashboards, users have the information at their fingertips to ensure products are on time, on trend and on budget. 

What’s more, Andromeda gives your business the power to choose how to implement PLM. Andromeda was designed to allow companies to capitalize on current investments, offering options to lay on top of current software instead of having to rip and replace. This means retailers and brands can keep their existing PLM solution if desired and integrate it into a digital supply chain. Andromeda also allows you to choose your entry point, offering multiple ways to get started with your digital transformation, by bringing existing solutions into a digital supply chain through NGC’s cloud-based solutions for supply chain management (SCM), global quality control and vendor compliance, as well as PLM.

To learn more about how cloud-based PLM can help boost your business, download our product sheet. And for a demonstration of the Andromeda Cloud Platform, request a demo here.