December 08, 2022

Thinking Forward with PLM Technology

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For many months during the beginning of the pandemic, the apparel industry was focused on fixing immediate problems: labor and material shortages, a move to remote work, and a plethora of other supply chain disruptions. Emerging from the chaos, challenges that existed before, such as the impacts of climate change, are still here, and companies are shifting back to long-term thinking.

To tackle these impending issues and respond to the demand of regulators and consumers, companies invest in data collection to help streamline systems, making them more efficient and sustainable. One key tool is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software.

Data collected with PLM is useful in the short term and transformative in the long term. Companies can collect data to make smarter decisions, whether they are generating large datasets to teach AI technology or improving transparency for looming sustainability regulations.

According to Daniella Ambrogi, Global Marketing Director at CGS, users of PLM technology are thinking ahead. It is important to start using PLM from the very beginning to the end of a product’s lifecycle, therefore collecting as much data as possible and gaining greater insight.

“Today, you may not see the benefit of storing but you will see it down the line,” she says. “The idea is that PLM is much farther reaching than any other system. The power of PLM is the flexibility to dissect the data and consume the same data to give you more insight, so you make better decisions.”

The insights generated from PLM are far-reaching. Some can help companies make more cost-effective designs or predict consumer preferences. The same data could help them meet ESG goals by improving transparency and reducing waste.

More than ever, consumers, especially Gen Z, care about the sustainability of their purchases. They are increasingly interested in where their product comes from and whether it is ethically sourced. PLM can help address these concerns in several ways.

First, Ambrogi explains, PLM’s data-collecting powers boost transparency by allowing companies to track exactly where their supplies are coming from and where they are going.

“The idea is that you can go to the field where the camels are running around and get the camel from which the hair came from that was then knitted into the fiber,” Ambrogi says. “That's how you will build sustainability, by tracing back and collecting that data.”

Second, PLM technology helps make systems more efficient and sustainable by catching mistakes and managing flow. With more agile processes, companies can make smaller batches of products and get them to the floor faster, instead of over-producing and generating waste. For products that do fail to sell, PLM can help companies figure out how to reuse or recycle the material.

Soon, sustainable production may not be optional as governments and regulators respond to climate change. In March 2022, the New York Fashion Act was proposed requiring traceability into the supply chain with disclosure on supply chain mapping.  More recently, on November 11, the European Union passed the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) as part of the Green Deal which requires, among other things, reporting of non-financials and EU Taxonomy classification system.

The global community is feeling the effects of climate change and the call to action is getting louder. Consumers, especially young consumers, are using their ever-increasing purchasing power to pressure brands. Companies looking to do their part are shifting practices to meet their ESG goals. The future, near and far, needs to be more sustainable. Companies who want to play the long game and be successful on a sustainable planet should invest in PLM technology.

To learn more about how PLM can enable collaboration and transparency to prepare brands and retailers for the future of fashion, download the eBook, The Seven Priorities for Post-Pandemic Success… and how PLM can support them all.


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