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While some of the largest apparel manufacturers already use PLM software, many brands are hobbled by outdated legacy systems that don’t do much to help them compete.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.

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1 WhichPLM Buyer’s Guide, 2019.