Fashion PLM Styled from Head to Toe

Fashion PLM Styled from Head to Toe

The fashion industry is subject to the rapidly changing consumer demands.

Customer demand can be as unpredictable as fashion trends. For this reason, poor product selection or late delivery can ruin a selling season. To ensure fast time-to-market, a Fashion Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system is crucial for companies, particularly those in the apparel industry.


The global PLM market, worth $40.26 billion in 2014, is predicted to grow by a CAGR of 8.1% to reach $75.87 billion by 2022. A major driver for the PLM market is the software’s ability to cut production time in half from 120 days to 60 days. The faster your products gets to market, the better chance your apparel company has to set trends and beat your competitors.

Miscommunication between different stages in the product lifecycle can interrupt products, delay shipments, increase costs, and eventually impact sales. To combat miscommunication, a great PLM should allow you to;

  • Enter style data
  • Hold drawings, diagrams, photos, fax images, catwalk or manufacturing video, audio clips, and other office documents related to style
  • Allow your organization to simultaneously centralize crucial information
  • Provide user-intuitive tools for designers
  • Contain a central repository for all documents related to style and development.

On the Catwalk

In a fashion show, the designers, makeup artists, and models all have to work together to deliver a vision. Similarly, in delivering a product to customers, sourcing professionals, designers, buyers, and vendors all have to work together. To make this coordination possible, the PLM system manages the supply chain from end-to-end.

Ultimately, a PLM should help drive product innovation by streamlining processes.

Consequently, your system should facilitate collaboration by coordinating all the product development activities with internal staff and external vendors. Because vendors and sources of materials for fashion are located all over the world, a good PLM system enhances communication in all time zones by providing 24 hour access to software.

Keeping track of deadlines is crucial, especially in an industry driven by evolving fashion trends. With so many people involved in the production process, monitoring deadlines can be especially difficult. A PLM system puts an end to missing critical deadlines by sending alerts. Because the Apparel PLM system centralizes all production activities, it creates a calendar geared to the collection and events that locks in critical dates.

A PLM system for the fashion industry should understand and take advantage of the unique aspects of the apparel industry. The product lines can be incredibly complex. Each product also includes multiple color, size, and style options. They may include thousands of stock-keeping units as well.

To further complicate matters, each product goes through multiple versions during design and development and must be submitted to numerous quality checks. By analyzing a collection with unlimited and industry specific criteria, a great Apparel PLM system can check projected volume, costs, and margins.

Embellish Your Fashion Business

The right PLM system can help strengthen your business by reducing markdown and stock-out losses which can add up to as much as 30% of retail sales. According to industry observers, a 1% reduction in markdown leads to a 12% improvement in profit. Improved production processes and tracking of these processes reduces inventory losses and gives your business the ability to respond to customer demand by allowing a retailer to add best-selling garments or drop poor selling ones from the supply chain.

Control over the supply chain increases your company’s profitability. According to Aberdeen, 65% of apparel and footwear firms that use PLM software see higher sales after using it for a year. Better coordination between steps in the design and production process helps your business stay on the cutting edge of fashion trends.

If you are looking for a Fashion PLM system, you want one offered by a provider with experience in the apparel industry. For over 35 years, FDM4 has been a leading provider of industry-specific applications, including PLM software.

Explore how FDM4 can help your company gain the freedom to design and the sophistication to manage through PLM for the Fashion and Apparel Industry.