Remote Collaboration and the Power of Cloud-based PLM

Remote Collaboration and the Power of Cloud-based PLM

The pandemic has given so many of us an opportunity to experience remote work, and as a result, many fashion and apparel companies are evaluating how well their systems support remote teams. Today, after several months of working through the design and collaboration process remotely, some organizations are past the virtual learning curve.

Are more companies considering making working from the new normal? Five years ago, the obvious answer would have been “No.” But, the pandemic has made many organizations reconsider. Many digitally driven corporations including Shopify, Facebook and Twitter have all announced plans to transition some of their workforce to permanently work from home. Even companies with more traditional needs like manufacturers are allowing non-production employees to work virtually. If French automaker PSA is ready to embrace a “new era of agility”, it stands to reason that many fashion brands will do the same.

According to a recent study published in WWD, 77% of workers surveyed would like to option to continue working from home at least part of the week post-pandemic. In addition to the benefits that work from home is providing in minimizing the spread of COVID, companies are also seeing opportunities to leverage work from home as an opportunity to recruit talent outside their geographic footprint. As more fashion brands explore the possibility of allowing more of its workforce to be virtual, technology needs to support remote work and collaboration are essential to their success. For designers, a cloud-based product lifecycle management tool is key.

At Exenta, we’ve been fortunate to receive rave reviews from users of our PLM REVO application since its release a few years ago. “PLM Revo is a fresh take on PLM in terms of being able to put the designer first,” says Exenta PLM Product Manager, Nikole Davis.

But, how have Exenta PLM REVO users faired at home, away from the collaborative surroundings of their workplace? Is their current work at home environment sustainable? We wanted to check in with our PLM users and see, so we got in touch with Julie Keller, a freelance designer with 20 years’ experience in apparel, textiles and fashion design who also works with Exenta’s PLM solutions on a day-to-day basis.

In other systems, collaboration is cumbersome, distracting creatives from their normal process. Long periods of waiting for feedback or for a sample garment to arrive through the mail is an outdated way to work. Julie Keller, who regularly uses Exenta PLM REVO, struggles when she is working with a brand that does not have a cloud-based PLM, “I’ve been doing some freelance recently for another company, I’ve been on their Dropbox and it’s been a disaster. I can’t get into the Dropbox and then they have to give me access.” She continues, “I do have a friend that has no PLM at all and it’s a disaster… Who has the Excel file? Which one is the most recent one? Should I send it to you? Have you updated it? It doesn’t work. It makes no sense.”

In today’s consumer driven climate, the sooner you can get your product(s) to the market the better. Exenta PLM supports that by making communication and collaboration effortless by including user and team notifications, system-wide commenting, and assignments & handoffs through design milestones. Our advanced platform also includes Adobe Illustrator Plug-in, data import suite and a mobile-first design.

So many adjustments have forced their way into industries due to COVID-19, is it time permanently adopt some of these changes? More than ever, the demand to work from home is apparent, and more apparel and textile companies are changing with the times. How easily are you able to commit to these changes? With Exenta PLM Revo, working from home will be your easiest commute.

Exenta PLM REVO™ Design Plug-in for Adobe® Illustrator® enables designers to launch new concepts, contribute to and use information from PLM software fashion industry without ever leaving their design software let alone their home. The web-based/cloud/mobile solution streamlines approvals, change management, line selection, vendor quotes and bids, compliance and other global processes. Getting a cloud based, mobile solution is a key component in efficient and at home business stability and organization. Real-time information and analytics keep everyone working on the same page and supports better-informed and more timely business decisions.
Traditional PLMs have all the data points in one central space, but Exenta PLM makes it more efficient to get to the data. Keller says, “When I’m working in PLM REVO, I’m not having those issues. Everybody’s looking at the same thing at the same time. It’s not like I’m trying to futz through trying to figure out different programs and how do I send those, and what format does it have to be in for them to see it.”

We asked Julie how working from home has affected her communication with her manufacturers across the globe. Keller explains, “They’re seeing exactly what I put in as well. We’re easily collaborating with [manufacturers] overseas.” She continued, “My friend, she has no PLM, so I can’t even imagine. She said it’s a disaster… She’s working at night when China’s open and all that just trying to get everything back and forth.” Without Exenta’s PLM Revo solution, collaboration is time consuming and poor supply chain management leads to costly losses.

Exenta’s Product Lifestyle Management Revolution (PLM Revo) takes the user experience to a new level. It eliminates much of the tedious data entry, to keep designers creative and automates time-consuming processes to speed products to market and simplify global collaboration. Our PLM solution provides companies with better ability to streamline products and have more control over collections with the ability to collaborate quickly and effectively. Don’t waste your time with lagging data streams or an PLM system. Schedule your demo today.

With remote work becoming a part of today’s new norm, having a system that can support remote teams is crucial for your business. Request a demo today to learn how Exenta’s cloud-based PLM can help your company transition to working from home.

Request a Demo Today

Advance Your Business to the Next Level with Innovation Lifecycle Management

Strategic business leaders are exploring the value of innovation lifecycle management solutions to facilitate the collaborative power of employees, customers, and external partners.

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

Modern PLM software solutions promote simplified collaboration with suppliers to enhance supply chain management efforts. Read through these seven questions to help you assess your PLM options.

5 Ways The Right PLM Software Technologies Ignite Creativity, Foster Collaboration and Boost Productivity

5 Ways The Right PLM Software Technologies Ignite Creativity, Foster Collaboration and Boost Productivity

Smart, creative and fashion-forward designers are the most important asset for successful apparel and home businesses. Without attractive designs, a brand cannot grow and compete. But it takes more than great designs to send desirable products to market—brands must also source from reliable suppliers, contain production costs, manage schedules, and streamline product management.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), technology enables fashion and home décor brands to accelerate development cycles, reduce costs and overruns, track and manage calendars, and improve collaboration between designers, product managers, and supply chain partners.

Let’s examine five ways the right PLM system can ignite creativity within a design team, boost productivity and foster collaboration:

1. Free Designers to Dream and Design

A good PLM solution will make it easier for designers to work and create by supplying them with the interface and tools they like to use. Designers don’t want to feel bogged down in red tape and business process. They need a workspace that inspires them. To empower creativity, pay attention to the lighting, furnishings and ambience of the office.

PLM system workflows should always augment, and never inhibit, the creative process. Designers tend to gravitate toward Apple products for their interface and user experience, so a good PLM will offer that style of usability and that look. They want an easy-to-use, yet elegant looking technology tool to do their day-to-day work. They also want to be able to use the design tools they are most accustomed to within the PLM system. That’s why Exenta PLM REVO™ includes a Design Plugin for Adobe Illustrator.

2. Accelerate the Design Process

PLM delivers a more efficient path from concept to customer, accelerating the design process by making it easy for designers to access the information that they need to be able to reuse components and designs. When prior designs are organized and easy to search, designers can quickly create additional product designs by adjusting existing templates for different sizes and colors. Once the design concept is complete, PLM software makes it easy to create multiple BOMs and measurement pages.

3. Draw Inspiration from Anywhere and Everywhere

To the creative mind, inspiration for new designs can be found in many places, such as architecture, art and nature. The younger generation of digital natives see a myriad of ways to incorporate technology tools into their creative process. They mine social media for ideas, snap photos on their phones and sketch on their mobile tablets. The right PLM system to support creativity will help designers incorporate these ideas and inspirations into their design work with ease. For example, Exenta PLM REVO™ quickly imports smartphone photos into designers’ image boards.

4. Collaborate with Specialists and Suppliers

Designers need to work very closely with others, including specialists as they create new products. For example, within fashion design, new ideas like nanotechnology sensors embedded in fabrics will require strong collaboration with technical experts and engineers. Designers will also need to be able to review technical specifications. A good PLM system should incorporate collaboration tools that give designers easy access to the people and information they need to be able to produce new designs and get them created and manufactured.

5. Improve Communication Across the Organization

The design team needs to be able to communicate easily with other areas of the business, including sourcing and product management. PLM should the ability to use common messaging platforms for easy, real-time communication with colleagues. PLM also helps route assignments through the design process, automating handoffs between design milestones.

Design and sourcing data should not exist in a technology silo. An effective and integrated PLM process should integrate key technologies such as ERP, EDI, supply chain management, warehouse management and logistics so that information flows freely across the organization.

Ready to learn more about how Exenta PLM REVO™ accelerates the design process while also supporting designers in becoming more creative and collaborative? Schedule a demo and see for yourself how it frees designers to create their best work .

A good PLM system can allow companies in the fashion industry to increase innovation, collaboration, and productivity. Schedule a demonstration today to see how Extena’s PLM Revo can assist your company today!

Schedule a PLM Revo Demonstration today!

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

Digital consumers demand a lot from their favorite brands. Finding the right PLM software can be the difference between generating product buzz or delivering stale fashion after its popularity subsides. Here are seven questions to help value your options.

10 Ways Cloud-based PLM Software for Fashion Improves Workflow and Profits

Cloud-based PLM delivers all of the benefits of PLM with a few unique and important advantages that help brands improve their workflow, reduce costs and increase visibility.

10 Ways Cloud-based PLM Software for Fashion Improves Workflow and Profits

10 Ways Cloud-based PLM Software for Fashion Improves Workflow and Profits

Major apparel brands face many challenges in the current economy, from how to move products to market faster in this era of fast fashion, to how to improve sustainability in one of the world’s most wasteful manufacturing sectors. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software can be an important tool for fashion and home goods companies to improve the efficiency of workflows while increasing profitability and competitive positioning.

Cloud-based PLM delivers all of the benefits of PLM with a few unique and important advantages. Here are 10 ways cloud-based PLM helps fashion and soft goods brands improve their workflow to reduce costs and improve profitability:

1. Decrease time-to-market for new products. It’s not uncommon for a new product to take 8 to 10 months to go from design concept to production. With cloud-based PLM software speeding up your workflows and helping your teams work efficiently, you should be able to reduce your average time-to-market by a considerable margin. PLM streamlines and automates front-end processes while centralizing your product data. Designers and product managers spend less time on data entry and no longer have to manage lines by updating multiple systems or spreadsheets.

2. Cloud-based PLM can be implemented faster, with lower up-front investment. With on-premise software, a company needs a server(s) and an IT department to implement the solution, which can take many months. IT must maintain the system by installing updates that fix bugs and deliver new features. On-premise software is purchased up front and requires an additional support/maintenance contract.
In contrast, cloud-based PLM software requires no hardware investment, so a company can be up and running very quickly—often in one to two months. There’s a lower up-front because monthly user subscription fee includes software, hardware and support. New features become available as soon as the vendor releases them, so brands benefit from a constantly improving solution, with a lower total cost of ownership.

3. Accelerate design, development and sourcing. Cloud-based PLM provides a centralized system to store and organize all of your product information and make it accessible at anytime from anywhere. Designers can easily locate and pull up past designs to make modifications and try out new ideas. PLM streamlines design material approvals and helps track sample evaluations. PLM should help designers become more productive by enabling them to work in their favorite design tools, such as Adobe® Illustrator®. When changes are needed, designs can be modified and resubmitted in less time.

4. Foster better teamwork. Cloud-based PLM provides real-time collaboration tools that help designers, product managers, technical specialists and sourcing specialists work together more easily—from anywhere in the world. Communication tools like system-wide commenting and user/team notifications help keep everyone on the same page. PLM can also keep track of assignments across design milestones and manage handoffs between steps of the workflow.

5. Reduce the burden of compliance. As the world has increased its consciousness around the conditions in which fashion is created, inadequate compliance can expose brands to costly litigation and reputational damage. PLM helps brands track product information and supplier certifications for compliance with product safety, environmental impact/pollution, and labor condition regulations.

6. Improve collaboration with global supply chain partners. Across time zones and languages, PLM houses the product information that creates a single version of truth. It automates tech pack development, providing templates and measurement tools that let product teams quickly create BOMs, measurement pages and grading views. Production facilities can access tech packs anytime and reach out to the product team using PLM communication tools. PLM also streamlines vendor quotes, bids, samples and approvals.

7. Reduce costs and waste. PLM reduces cost through improved efficiency, easier collaboration, and reduced waste. With the information manufacturers need to maintain quality, rework and scrap can be reduced. Sourcing and costing automation helps brands purchase parts and fabrics in larger volumes at better prices.

8. Boost calendar visibility and control. Cloud-based PLM provides forward-looking visibility and control over your seasonal calendar. It empowers your product team to create line sheets and presentation boards more easily to communicate details to buyers. No more rushing to get the new seasonal line out.

9. Cloud-based PLM scales easily as your business grows. As your business becomes more successful, manual processes and Excel spreadsheets can’t keep up. With cloud-based PLM, you pay only for subscriptions required by your present employees and can quickly add more subscriptions when you hire new people.

10. Make better business decisions. Real-time information and analytics support better-informed and timelier business decisions.

Exenta PLM REVO is a cloud-based PLM specifically designed to help fashion and soft goods brands improve: Communication, Design, Tech Pack Development, Line & Seasonal Management, Material & Sample Tracking, and Sourcing & Costing. Watch this video to see how PLM REVO improves collaboration and efficiency, helping brands speed new products to market while encouraging creativity. Want to learn more about how PLM REVO enhances workflows and profitability? Contact us today for a demo.

To learn more about how Exenta’s cloud-based PLM system can help increase your companies workflows and profitability, schedule a free demonstration today!

Request a Demonstration Today!

5 Ways the Right PLM Software Technologies Ignite Creativity, Foster Collaboration and Boost Productivity

PLM technology allows fashion and home décor brands to expedite development cycles, reduce costs, manage calendars, and improve collaboration among different departments. Let’s explore five ways the right PLM system can ignite creativity and cooperation within a team.

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

PLM software allows brands to improve collaboration and the creativity to promote product design and quality. Read these seven answered questions to help you assess your PLM options.

How Technology Innovation Will Impact the Future of Fashion

How Technology Innovation Will Impact the Future of Fashion

From designing new clothing lines to delivering new customer experiences, fashion thrives on innovation. In today’s digital retail environment, fashion innovation will be driven by advanced technologies, including Augmented Reality, 3D Prototyping, Modeling and Printing, and Artificial Intelligence with Machine Learning.
Augmented Reality
According to research by CPC Strategy, 57% of Millennials and 63% of Gen Z already purchase apparel online from Amazon. Fashion brands and retailers will need to work together to enhance digital shopping, including ways to help customers better visualize and personalize their clothing.

Augmented reality grabbed the spotlight when Pokémon Go exploded onto the gaming scene in 2016. It’s already being used in manufacturing and logistics. While virtual reality (VR) requires a headset and other technology to create a fantasy experience, augmented reality (AR) takes your existing real-world environment and overlays objects and animations onto it.

AR has at least two potential uses in the fashion industry. First, it can be used in the design environment to help designers immerse themselves more fully in their creative process. Designers can grab different garments and use AR to change the fabric, color, embellishments, trims, and even the shape and lines of the clothing to try out different concepts.

The second useful application of AR is for customer experience. As a consumer shops for a sweater, they can select different colors or fabrics and see the changes appear in the photo of the model. Spinning the view around 360 degrees, they can see what the garment looks like from every angle. In an advanced AR experience, consumers may upload their own photos to see how clothing looks on them using their mobile phones.

3D Technologies
One of the most exciting areas of advanced innovation in fashion today is three dimensional technologies. From the manufacturing process to the retail experience, 3D technology makes fashion leap off the flat page or screen and take form. There are many ways 3D technology will impact fashion, and two promising areas are 3D Fit and 3D Printed Fashion.

3D Fit
What can be more disappointing than eagerly awaiting new clothing only to discover that it looked much better in the online photos than it does on your real-life body? 3D fit gives consumers the ability to map their body style—with an easy-to-use mobile app—and accurately envision how they would look wearing any garment without physically trying it on. This technology greatly enhances the digital shopping experience and could lead to greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

3D Printed Fashion
Three dimensional printers have been working their way into fashion businesses for a number of years, and soon, they’ll become more common in consumer homes. For designers, the cost of 3D visualization and prototyping is falling as 3D printers become more widely adopted. According to a recent article in Forbes, “high-end SLA desktop 3D printers can be had for under $5,000. This democratization of the technology will empower smaller designers and unleash a wave of creativity in both design and business models.”

Today, the average consumer 3D printer costs around $700. Perhaps in the not-so-distant future, fashion brands may simply sell designs online, with consumers using 3D fit to size the design and augmented reality to choose options, before printing the garment at home. Not only would consumers benefit from perfectly fitted clothing, the fashion industry would take a giant leap forward in sustainability by reducing textile waste.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
It can be difficult to wrap our human mind around the power and potential of artificial intelligence. Simply put, AI is the simulation of human intelligence by computer. In machine learning, the system’s programming, combined with a stream of real-time data, enables it to improve and self-correct, based on its own experiences and without additional human input.

AI is capable of taking a tremendous amount of data and outputting recommendations and suggestions that drive business outcomes. Fashion manufacturing can benefit, for example, by using AI to harness big data and predict what lines should be rebalanced. Using historical data, AI can optimize the production cycle, taking into account real-time variables, such as weather, time of day, individual performance of employees working on the line, the products being manufactured, the raw materials being used, and much more.

High Tech Fashion Fuels the Customer Experience
Advanced technologies such as 3D, AR and AI have the potential to reshape the future of the fashion and accessories industry. Fashion brands will need to partner with technology providers with deep understanding of the industry’s needs who have the vision to harness the potential of technological innovation for real-world applications that improve manufacturing, supply chain, retail, and customer experience.

Exenta is a forward looking company. We work with our customers to figure out where advanced technologies intersect with competitive market needs and consumer desires. We offer the only end to end, integrated workflow solution for the fashion industry, and we incorporate practical applications of advanced technologies to ensure our customers stay ahead of the market.

Exenta has been an innovator for fashion technology advancement with our end to end work flow solution. Learn more about how our software solutions can benefit your company today!

Learn More About Exenta's Workflow Solutions
5 Ways Technology Alleviates Common Supply Chain Problems for Fashion Brands

Technology can make a positive impact on fashion supply chains and can help them avoid some of the most common supply chain problems that affect both customer experience and the bottom line.

3 Best Practices for Fashion Industry Software Implementation

Learn how the right software implementation can help your business achieve its goals.

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

Key Considerations in Choosing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

Digital consumers demand a lot from their favorite brands—more innovative products, greater customization, and faster delivery to market. The right Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software can make the difference between generating viral demand and product buzz—or delivering stale fashion after the popular wave has crested.

Today’s modern PLM solutions deliver powerful benefits to apparel and soft goods brands
Product Lifecycle Management software empowers global fashion and soft goods brands to enhance collaboration and creativity to elevate the quality of product designs. PLM also enables easier collaboration with vendors and suppliers to improve supply chain management. It delivers greater visibility and control throughout the product lifecycle, improving speed to market. In all of these ways, PLM can help brands improve their profit margins.

While some of the largest apparel manufacturers already use PLM software, many brands are hobbled by outdated legacy systems that don’t do much to help them compete. That’s why the overall market for replacing PLM grew by 8% over the last year.

7 questions to ask when choosing a Product Lifecycle Management solution
The best PLM software solutions are highly usable, easily adopted by your employees, and offer a rapid return on investment. Here are seven questions to help you assess your options:

1. Is it easy to learn? Any new business software platform needs to add efficiency rather than cause business disruption. So a new PLM will need to be very easy for your employees to learn to use. If the software is not intuitive, it will cause frustration and fail to deliver intended benefits to your organization.

“When I trained the designers here, it took about one day, maybe two hours of serious training with them. We did a webinar and it was so easy for them to use. They learned [PLM REVO™] in about that time, and they were off and running.” – Julie Keller, Krazy Kat Sportwear

2. Will it improve organizational efficiency? PLM puts information at your fingertips, so your team can more easily share designs, collaborate on ideas, and analyze outcomes. It should be easy to search for prior designs and adapt them within new product ideas. Communication and messaging tools throughout the PLM system should facilitate real-time commenting and notifications.

“It’s been so much easier to use this program than our other PLMs… It’s just a very simple speedy program. The navigation is clear, it’s not hard to use, and it’s fast… You can find things quickly, and any kind of speed you can add to your job, it just makes everything easier. Especially with a business like ours, time is of the essence.” – Julie Keller, Krazy Kat Sportwear

3. Does it enable global collaboration? Cloud-based PLM software can streamline approvals, changes, vendor quotes and bids, compliance and other global processes. Mobile capabilities enable users to access and analyze information from any location. Real-time information and analytics will keep members of a global team on the same page.

4. Will the interface design encourage adoption? If you want designers to use PLM software, it needs a user interface with clean, visually pleasing design elements. To help your team create innovative products, it’s important to provide the tools and workspaces that help designers tap into their creativity.

“The look of the program is so visually pleasing, and something like that—for a creative type—it’s really important. When you see something that looks clear, it’s uncluttered, and you can see your designs in big, beautiful format… You’ve got your sketches big on the screen, and it’s just very simple to use.” – Julie Keller, Krazy Kat Sportwear

5. Does it work with preferred design tools? Your designers will want to be able to flow back and forth between PLM and preferred design tools effortlessly. For example, Exenta PLM REVO™ Design Plug-in for Adobe® Illustrator® enables designers to launch new concepts, contribute to and use information from PLM without ever leaving their design software.

6. Will it speed up your time-to-market? Typically it takes eight to ten months to develop a product from concept to production. PLM should speed that up by helping designers and product managers spend more time creating new products and minimizing tedious data entry. By automating time-consuming processes, PLM helps ensure the timely delivery of on-trend products.

“With PLM REVO, you can just quickly copy some things so fast, get the specs in quickly. It makes the whole process so much easier, and we did that literally in the amount of five minutes. We’ve made a whole new style from one other style. And it was quick, and easy, and functioned well.” – Julie Keller, Krazy Kat Sportwear

7. Does it integrate with ERP? If you don’t use ERP in your business, then you’ll need a PLM that can stand alone. But if you already have ERP or your future technology plans call for adding ERP, make sure the PLM you choose will be able to be easily integrated.

Is it time for a PLM revolution in your business?
Exenta PLM REVO is a next-generation PLM that delivers the simplest path from concept to customer for apparel and soft goods brands. This easy-to-use platform features functionality to help brands improve: Communication, Design, Tech Pack Development, Line & Seasonal Management, Material & Sample Tracking, and Sourcing & Costing.

Whether you are looking for your first PLM fashion software or seeking to upgrade from a legacy PLM to experience more benefits, our Exenta team stands ready to help you.

Watch the video below to hear PLM REVO product manager, Nikole Davis, Exenta CTO, Ken Fearnley, and one of our customers, describe why PLM REVO is an evolution in PLM software. Or, contact us today for a demo to see how it helps brands design their best products and bring them to market more quickly.

Exenta_PLM_FINaL from Exenta Markeing on Vimeo.

1 WhichPLM Buyer’s Guide, 2019.

With Exenta’s EDI platform, fashion brands are able to streamline their production process while reducing costs. Request a demo today to learn how out EDI software can help benefit your company.

Request a Demo today!

10 Ways Cloud-based PLM Software for Fashion Improves Workflow and Profits

Learn how to improve efficiency, profits and more with a cloud-based PLM.

3 Ways the Right PLM Solution Reduces Cycle Time, Costs, and Inefficiency

We’ve revolutionized the role of PLM systems in the fashion industry by eliminating the pains and inefficiencies of new system implementation and maximizing the positive effects on product development costs and cycle times. Change the way you think about PLMs today!