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Supply Chain Trends 2015: A Conversation with Mark Burstein and just-style

Supply Chain Trends 2015: A Conversation with Mark Burstein and just-style

June 12, 2015

Once again just-style has published its Apparel Software Trends Management Briefing, and this year it focused on four topics that affect apparel and fashion producers: Tools to Tackle the Issues, Future Investment Focus, What Else to Watch and Supply Chain Challenges.

Our own Mark Burstein was featured in this series as a leader in the apparel industry. The series provides an excellent summary of the key technology and supply chain challenges and opportunities facing the industry in the next 12 months.

In the first installment of a two-part blog series, we will share Mark’s thoughts on these topics.

just-style: One of the key ways in which software can help tackle apparel supply chain issues is by providing visibility into the process and intelligence to track and manage inventory – enabling stakeholders to focus on the product and meet volatile demand across channels. Systems can also help companies be prepared for everything from new opportunities to unexpected events.

Mark Burstein: PLM can play a critical role. Across the industry, we are seeing strong support for the idea that PLM should serve as the central repository to orchestrate all information, processes, systems, departments and geographies within the fashion enterprise. This concept, which the industry refers to as “PLM-as-a- Platform,” is being embraced by technology analysts and fashion companies alike. With PLM-as-a-Platform, PLM becomes the core platform in all phases of the product lifecycle.

The information that resides in PLM can come from within the PLM system as well as other enterprise applications. We believe that PLM should integrate information from a host of enterprise systems, such as Planning and Forecasting systems, ERP, Supply Chain Management, Logistics, and other systems, depending on each organization’s needs. PLM isn’t a fixed, static set of processes; it continues to expand into additional areas in product design and manufacturing – everything that is involved in bringing products to market.

More than any other enterprise solution, PLM has the ability to unify information and break down the silos that typically existing in product design and manufacturing. That’s why the notion of PLM-as-a-Platform is a hot topic in the industry right now. [[more]]

j-s: Where should apparel firms be focusing their investments now if they want to remain competitive into the future? While technology agendas will vary from business to business, a recurring theme is the need for business intelligence and analytics tools to monitor performance. Advanced PLM solutions also have a key role in the introduction of new styles and on-trend products.

MB: We believe that a PLM system that includes product design and development, as well as supply chain management, is still the most important technology investment that a company can make. The solution should include WIP tracking, vendor collaboration and management, materials management, quality and logistics. It should also seamlessly integrate with fashion ERP systems, forecasting and replenishment applications, and other systems. This level of integration is crucial for improving efficiencies, reducing errors, driving down costs, and shortening the concept-to-consumer lifecycle.

You don’t have to do it all at once, and that’s the beauty of this approach. You can start with PLM, then gradually build on that foundation with SCM, ERP and other systems as needed.