How to Set Goals for a Successful Apparel PLM Implementation
Given what is required to succeed in fashion—employing a high level of creativity, meeting rapidly evolving customer demands and collaborating with partners around the globe—it can be difficult for an apparel business to gauge the value of their product lifecycle management (PLM) implementation.
Brands can begin by thinking of PLM as a process to support your growth and innovation. Then you can set goals to help you understand how a PLM solution can and does benefit your business. Before the software and processes go into place, it is good practice to set goals in three key categories to help track your developments and improve your enterprise.
#1 Strategic PLM Goals
Your company’s strategic outcomes from implementing product life cycle management are often measured outside of the software itself. In many cases, the PLM processes are not the only contributing factor to success, but a facilitator of your overall strategy. Some examples of strategic goals that PLM can contribute to are:
- improved supply metrics
- increased innovation speed
- greater market share (thanks to product innovations)
- increased/easier collaboration between teams and suppliers
Since PLM initiatives tend to involve many different departments, it’s smart to sit down and understand the strategic goal for each division. And while each division’s goals may differ, they should roll up to an overall strategic goal or vision for the brand.
#2 Business Process Goals
Compared to your strategic outcomes, goals around business processes are usually easier to measure. Like any set of business goals, the key is to record them beforehand, including a timeline in which you plan to revisit them, and then measure against the goals. Once the PLM solution has been implemented, check in at those timeline intervals and determine whether goals are still current and being met or need revising.
Some examples of process related goals are:
- shorten length of development life cycles
- remove or reduce spreadsheets and siloed information (emails, chats, etc.) from production
- improve sample quality
#3 Financial Goals
Financial benefits associated with PLM adoption are easier to track than strategic goals. However, they are often hard to estimate until the deployment has been completed. Your PLM vendor may be able to provide you with some baseline metrics for improvement, but no two apparel companies are the same.
Common goals to set include:
- percentage reduction in raw material costs
- bigger margins on new apparel products (due to speed and optimization)
- reallocation of human resources or optimized headcount
Don’t Forget Benchmarks
For each goal that you set in your PLM project, make sure to set a benchmark to compare to. It doesn’t have to be a complicated solution. Simply create a document with the stated goal, and where the company stands prior to rolling out the new PLM and process. This will let you better measure progress when you hit your three-, six- and 12-month reviews.
Pick the Right Partner
Choosing a powerful PLM solution also involves choosing a PLM provider with an experienced consulting team. The more a business understands your brand, your products and your customers, the better they can assist you in setting up your PLM for success.
Champion the Change
Another key element in your PLM implementation is change management. Anytime you introduce new solutions, environments or processes, existing employees will need time to acclimate to these changes. Your PLM provider may already have consultants who can engage staff with training, change champions and other elements to ease the transition to a new and improved solution and process. Employees like learning new things, but it’s good practice to let them know what’s in it for them: faster collaboration, no-code software, Adobe design integration, etc.
Move Up and Mature
Wherever you are in your PLM journey, are you wondering what more it can do for your business? Our Moving Up the PLM Maturity Curve report can help you consider steps to take to get the most impact and benefit from this indispensable technology in retail, apparel and fashion.