Optimizing value from Lectra PLM

January 13, 2010

WWA and Lectra, the world's leading fashion technology company have entered into an exclusive, worldwide partnership agreement. Now, Walter shares his vision of the fundamentals of Lectra Fashion PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and the benefits it presents for fashion companies.

Today’s fashion industry is facing a unique challenge: consumers are becoming more and more cost-conscious, and we have to face the fact that fashion consumption is now largely driven by wants rather than needs. Together, these factors mean that brands are obliged to create desire in their customers, incite purchases, and fight for their part of market share. Merchandising needs to be appropriate to the moment, collection mix must be just right, and styles need to be on trend and on time. Fashion PLM technology can help achieve all these goals.
PLM is a vehicle for communicating all required data and events regarding the development of a product in a timely, accurate manner so everyone who “touches” the product has up to the minute information. PLM “connects” everyone over the entire product development chain, 24/7. There is a major strategic advantage to be had in achieving visibility over critical milestones because of the complexity of global sourcing trends. Company offices, freelancers and suppliers are spread across the globe, and that creates communication issues. Contributors along the value chain need to share heavy files and overcome time differences, both of which can have a major impact on the respect of deadlines. Sharing a common database helps facilitate speed-to-market (historical product reference is often an important ingredient in new style creation so a common data base minimizes search time). In a typical Excel operation, about 50% of users’ time is spent chasing data from a variety of systems and spreadsheets. PLM reduces halves this time, saving costly administrative time and permitting the user to be more creative and productive.

The toughest part of any business plan is execution of the company’s merchandising and product strategy, including sourcing. Having the vision to develop a strong strategy for the future has little value if you cannot execute. PLM helps companies understand what is in work, where it is in work, and what the obstacles are before they become fire drills. For example, if a company knows ahead of schedule that a sub-contracted product will not be delivered on time, they can make arrangements accordingly. This might allow them to avoid last-minute air freight costs, or let them warn their distributors of the delay. In the coming years, we will see that companies that implement PLM solutions with this kind of global view of the supply chain will emerge head and shoulders above the rest.

Fashion companies are be able to leverage PLM to build a supply chain infrastructure capable of meeting their customers’ needs. Their major requirement is responsiveness—they have to react quickly to changes in trends. Sourcing tools within PLM enable users to send multiple automatic requests for quotes and easily gather information received. They can assess sub-contractor performance and responsiveness. Having this kind of information lets companies compare their availability and possible delivery times to ensure they choose suppliers that are able to meet their needs. Keeping the information in a unique data bank, accessible at all times all over the world, means sourcing teams in different countries can work separately using the same information. They can thus communicate faster and place orders early in the development process, reducing the risk of products being out of stock.

It is clear that, over the next few years, companies that choose to invest in PLM technology will reap significant benefits. I know of no other way of efficiently controlling global operations than by using PLM. The question is not whether to implement PLM but which PLM to implement. The challenge is finding a vendor that truly understands the fashion industry and its processes and has designed their system to adapt to these processes rather than making customers adapt to the technology. WWA has chosen to enter into a worldwide exclusive partnership agreement with Lectra because they have robust, fashion-specific architecture as the foundation of their world- class Lectra Fashion PLM offer. They have the largest R&D organisation dedicated to PLM for the fashion industry (about four times more people than the next major competitor) and are committed
to the apparel industry throughout the entire organisation, providing strong, global support (both industry-specific and in the local language).

One of the major trends in PLM is the rapid deployment model. PLM systems used to take an average of 14 to 18 months before going live. With rapid deployment modeling and improved project management techniques, this can be reduced to three to six months. Lectra has developed its Easy Start offer so that companies can be operational with Lectra Fashion PLM within a single fashion season. This means a faster return on investment and easier change management. A good project plan and project team is as important as the design of the software. In a typical implementation, one-third of the time prior to go-live is spent on process review and project planning, another third is spent on configuring the system for the process (including any defined process improvement) and the last third is spent in training. Good implementation planning is critical to the success of the project.

For more about Lectra Fashion PLM, visit www.lectra.com/en/fashion_plm

Tags: consulting partner , lectra , partners , plm

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Your post about PLM is really good. I have read your whole post. You described every point properly and briefly. WWA and Lectra are used widely known for fashion company. Their worldwide integration may bring a revolution in fashion world.
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