Choosing PLM Software: Best Fashion/Apparel Management Software Products

Nowadays, the number of fashion or apparel websites is growing so rapidly. This only proves that more and more people are hooked with online shopping, since it makes their life easier. Because of the growing customer base of online shopping for clothes and apparel, many entrepreneurs are entering this industry.

In order to withstand the challenges of this industry, entrepreneurs need to have the necessary tools. Through this way, they can ensure that they’ll be able to run their business swiftly. Among the tools that entrepreneurs require in order to have an efficient fashion or apparel website is PLM software.

For the benefit of those who are new in this industry and those who are not familiar with this product, PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management. This refers to the systematic process of regulating the whole lifecycle of a certain product, from its design and fabrication to its disposal or retirement.

Primarily, PLM is related to manufacturing; however, the management structure can as well be utilized for service provision and software development. Product Lifecycle Management is basically broken into stages, and these are:

1. BOL or Beginning of Life

This stage involves new product development, as well as new design procedure.

2. MOL or Middle of Life

This involves collaboration with the suppliers, warranty management and PIM or referred to as Product Information Management.

3. EOL or End of Life

This last stage involves techniques intended for the way the products will be determined of, discarded or recycled.

By using PLM software, entrepreneurs can acquire help in managing the lifecycles of their products, since this software can render data warehouse for the information that impacts the product. This software can be utilized in automating the regulation of product-related data, and then incorporate the data with other business procedures, like ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning and MES or Manufacturing Execution Systems.

The main goal of Product Lifecycle Management is to eradicate the waste and enhance efficiency. It has a significant role in the Lean Production Model.

To help those who are planning to establish a fashion or apparel website, below is a list of the best apparel management software products.

1. Fastreact

This is developed by Fast React Systems, which is a specialist provider of incredible solutions for Planning, Sourcing and Critical Path Management. This PLM software is specifically created for Textiles, Footwear, and Apparel sectors. The primary focus of Fastreact is enhanced visibility, control and coordination, along with ease of use.

When the customer demand is increasing for better flexibility and speed, several companies realize that their current systems are incapable of coping. This usually results to onerous utilization of manual spread sheets. To avoid this from occurring, fashion or apparel website owners must use PLM software applications like Fastreact.

Among the main features of Fastreact are, but not limited to:

  • Inventory Management
  • Accounting Integration
  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Order Processing and Sales
  • Process Management
  • Pre-Production Management
  • Ra Material Management

2. A2000 Software

This PLM software is the end result of the efforts of GCS. A2000 ERP package can efficiently handle all the transactional requisites of an organization. The system can render separate but entirely interspersed modules intended for Production, PDM, Forecasting and Inventory, Order Processing, Warehousing, Allocation and Sales, Accounting, Shipping, Report Writer, EDI, System Administration, Telemarketing, Catalog, Web-enabled customer based sales.

A2000 already worked with leading distributors and manufacturers to produce quick, innovative application that is indeed geared specifically to accessory, apparel, and home furnishings industries. Nowadays, the environment of the business world is becoming more and more competitive, which is why it is crucial to maintain an efficient and lean organization. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of the customized functionality, scalability, and power of A2000 Software at reasonable prices.

3. PolyPm

This is developed by Polygon Software and it is a blend of ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning and PLM or Product Lifecycle management. This software is truly capable of helping manufacturers, distributors, and brands from design up to distribution. Because of its effective work, Gartner awarded PolyPm the highest rating for 2 consecutive years.

This software features high quality functionality and endless implementation at affordable costs. Since it is web-enabled, PolyPm enhances communications, and it effectively controls the design procedure, as well as regulates production, starting from order entry up to distribution.

Among the features that PolyPm can render are, but not limited to:

  • Billing and Invoicing
  • Accounting Integration
  • Inventory Management
  • Order Processing and Sales
  • Warehouse Management Supply Chain Management

4. Bluewater Software

This is a PLM application of DeSL and it is among the best tools when it comes to synergetic product design and fabrication. Customized to be utilized by all departments in the development procedure, this solution renders an excellent web-based, collective, and real-time network, which is specifically geared to decreasing fabrication time lines and leveraging quality. Bluewater software is based on the technology of Microsoft.NET.

5. Apparel Connect

This is developed by db Solutions and it is utilized by brand manufacturers and CMT factories that are based in South Africa and Asia. Apparel Connect ERP is themed and proven for manufacturers and CMT factories of leading brands, like Puma, Adidas, and Nike. It can support AQL processes and full style development for the mentioned brands. It featuresPLM and Supply Chain, Capacity Planning, Material Resource Planning, Payroll AQL, Task Management and a lot more.

Indeed, fashion or apparel website owners need this type of application, since it can simplify all of their business processes. It can truly enhance and streamline the innovation of the enterprise product lifecycle.

The Use of PLM Software for Successful Fashion Life Cycle

Have you ever wondered how fashion lines and brands came to be? It may seem like the easiest thing in the world to have a brilliant design, make it come to life then get everyone to buy it. If it were only like the lemonade stand cute kids sold on summer, but it is not.

If you are thinking of starting your own line being someone filled with ideas is important, however, for everything to run smoothly an important aspect must be present. This is called the product life cycle management which has been made more efficient by the availability of PLM software.

The Importance of PLM in Fashion/Brand Creation

The appropriate product management is seen when the company is able to make all the necessary decisions on each phase of the life cycle. These phases are the following:

  • Product Development – When the product, for example a shirt in different colors, are conceptualized, created and tested until the final product is gotten.
  • Product Introduction – The phase when the shirts are then introduced into the market. This is in line with shirts hitting stores, becoming available as well as the initial advertising.
  • Product Growth – After the shirt has been introduced it is time to ensure it sells. A specific market share must be owned and from there the shares are to go up.
  • Product Maturity – There are many reasons why items like shirts age or mature in the market. Perhaps the designs are out of season or there are just better options. This is the phase when the company has to check if they can still do something to improve the product, the shirts.
  • Product Decline – During this phase the shirts are not working anymore. The company must make a decision to pull out the shirts, put them on sale and such.

The process is made easier for the product manager using the PLM software which guides the user from product development to decline. Here are the features when the PLM software can be used by the product manager:

  • Offers a technical view on figures like revenue, earnings, forecasting as well as marketing and developing.
  • Allows user to research the market acquiring understanding of the customer to fulfil their needs. This results in spot-on product development.
  • Assists the manager in observing the life cycle of the products, showing alerts when changes and decisions need to be made.
  • Determines product success and product decline.

If you are the product manager you must also not solely rely on what the PLM software can do for you. The software can only work if the user understands the proper way of life cycle management. Here are three fundamental characteristics:

  • Understand the Basic of Product Management – Be aware about everything regarding the products this includes the market, the customers as well as the competitors.
  • Maintain Balance for Product and Market – By knowing the market, you will be able to balance out through correct product development, introduction and make the right decisions during the entire product life cycle.
  • Treat Product Management as a Discipline – This task is a full time job and requires strict monitoring and analysis.

If you are aiming for a successful endeavour in the field of fashion and brand lines, you also have to secure an understanding of the correct product life cycle management with the aid of PLM software.

The Five Phases of PLM for Fashion Brand Success

These days it is important to carefully plan before jumping into anything especially since a lot of people are already into creating and marketing their own products and services. For your venture to become successful a well thought out business plan and the appropriate product life cycle management or PLM must be initiated. One of the industries that are fast growing in today’s generation is the clothing business.

If you have been thinking of creating your own fashion brand then chances are you have only thought of the wonderful designs of the brand, the look of your store or the marketing campaign you will be launching. Before you head on over to that direction, hold your horses. A successful brand has a strong foundation. Yes, the visual and marketing aspects play a role however a strong brand has strong products which are brought to life by product life cycle management. You can get through this with the help of PLM software, especially made for your brand.

Here are the important phases you need to know and understand for a successful fashion brand.

5 Phases of Product Life Cycle Management

1. Product Development – This phase starts when a team or company finds or creates an idea for a new product. In product development different kinds of information are gathered and incorporated into the new product. For example, trends and seasons greatly affect apparel product development.

At this time, the product will be under the microscope and will go through various changes requiring time and money. This is a critical part of the product life cycle. It is also during this phase that finished products are sent out to be tested in the market. Once the product survives, it’s time for the second phase.

2. Product Introduction – When the product is launched into the market the real game begins. The company must be prepared to spend money and get less in return, temporarily. A successful product launch is making a loud introduction. This means that everyone must know that your product exists. Some companies even hire special services for this part, however, if you are not working with much be prepared to continuously brain storm ideas for a campaign that will stick in your target market’s mind. For example, creating a catch phrase that will make your brand easy to remember.

3. Product Growth – This is when you will see the product take off and how much of your target market is actually purchasing your product. A positive product growth is achieved by increasing your market share; this means more buyers and keeping them. How can you do this? Continuously make your products better so competitors cannot replicate. Acquiring patents and copyrights are also a way to secure a market share. For example you have a coat that is selling well, find ways to improve the design or offer something more for the style.

4. Product Maturity – A product can only sell for so long until you either get more competition or the product has been faced out. A perfect example is coats getting mature during warmer seasons. This time the brand must consider product repositioning to maintain the market share. Some ideas would be creating lightweight coats for warmer seasons and offering discounts and promotions for out of season items.

5. Product Decline – There are times when a product just does not sell anymore. In the fashion world this does happen. Like the trendy pieces created for a specific fad or season which come and go. An example is the denim elephant pants that were so hip in the nineties, everyone had a pair. Now, only high fashion designs sport the style. When this happens you have to recognize the decline, the PLM software can help you with this, and decide on facing the product out or doing some changes.

So before starting your own line, understand your product, get a PLM software and make a plan.

Helpful PLM Tips When Launching a Fashion Line

When it comes to starting your own fashion line you have to think outside the box. While not everyone is a fashion prodigy like those famous and world class designers you see in ads everywhere, those with an interest in fashion can create a stable and thriving future with their brand. Passion and ambition are both very essential qualities that one must possess when aspiring to create a fashion line, however, these are not only what you need. A successful brand requires the right kind of life cycle management.

If this is the first time you heard about life cycle management, then here is a brief explanation on what it and how your future business depends on it. Life cycle management in the world of fashion is like the chain in a bicycle. You have everything you need but your bicycle will not move without the chain. There are PLM software that can make your life easier from A to Z.

The Life Cycle

This starts from the time the product is first launched into the market until it is withdrawn. The cycle is divided into different phases. This is the time when most of the changes are made depending on various factors to increase the profits that the product brings in. So how is this relevant to starting your own fashion line? Simple, you created this fashion line with the desire to earn from the venture. This means you want your product to sell and with proper product lifecycle management you can do that. Some tips for product lifecycle management or PLM are found in the steps below:

Start your Fashion Line the Smart Way

  1. Research – Well-known and selling brands usually have a certain item that is their original creation. Like JVF’s wrap dress, Hermes’ Birkin and Tory Burch’s flats. You have to figure out something you can offer the market that you will easily be remembered by. How can you do this? Do research about the trends in your area, your resources and etc. This is the first stage of PLM, product development. Use your PLM software to get you started.
  2. Funds – It is unfortunate to say but even small start-up fashion lines require capital for it to grow. Find the source of your funds; do you have cash saved up? Or perhaps you can apply for a loan. Ideas are great but you need cash to put it into action.
  3. Creation – If you have an idea but are not good with illustrating, get someone to help you out like an artistic friend who can out your ideas into paper. Afterwards you can start making a prototype, using inexpensive materials like canvas will allow you to get a 3D image of your design.
  4. Make It – Once you are happy with the design and the prototype, find the materials you can use for the product and a way to get it made. This may require sourcing out a factory that makes the products you are creating like a factory or a seamstress making coats or pants.
  5. Sell – Now it’s time to see how your product does in the market. This is where the rest of the PLM stages come in; product introduction, growth, maturity and decline.

Keep these tips in mind and make sure to start your fashion line smartly using the PLM stages and software.