Fashion PLM: Consider IT for your Pre-Season phase
Before arriving to the store, a fashion garment goes through a lengthy journey that can be divided in roughly 9 steps and begins with the concept creation of the fashion collection. If you are in the fashion business, you most likely know about the headaches of successfully managing the lifecycle of the merchandise, which begin as early as in the pre-season stage of the process. The development of a fashion collection can begin up to 12 months prior to the “shop-floor delivery” and from the initial designs, eventually not even 50% will make it to the actual market. The reason?
The fashion industry has been facing challenging times for the past few years. The biggest disruptor of the market has been, without a doubt, the rise of the “Fast Fashion”. The impact of this trend and the big retailers who have adopted it (Primark, Zara, Topshop…) have created the need of a competitive response from their competitors and the overall fashion industry. The market, as well as consumer trends, are changing rapidly, and the information on what is the leading trend is difficult to capture and follow.
Ultimately, fashion brands and retailers will set up fashion collections based on unreliable forecasts and being exposed to external factors that might affect the creation (or any other step in the supply chain) of the garments. This results on the fact that only up to 30% of the sketches created by designers come to live and get delivered to the shop.
With such pressure on brands to accomplish an optimal time to market in order to stay competitive, it is vital to build an effective and smart product lifecycle management process, where designers can base their work in trustful information about market trends and thus reducing workload and increase the speed of the fashion creation process. To do so, companies are implementing changes to their core processes by leveraging technology and digitalizing their business. According to the BoF-McKinsey Global Fashion Survey carried out in 2016, 25% of fashion executives surveyed said that they would invest in IT due to its capacity for value chain digitalization and see as one of the top opportunities of this year the chance to digitalize the value chain of their businesses.
[ Related: How To Implement a Competitive Value Chain? ]
By leveraging the right technology, companies have a chance to build a strong and successful product lifecycle from the start. With newer end-to-end IT solutions such as integrated ERP solutions, business owners can have holistic approach and effectively standardize their pre-production processes and communications in order to meet market demands. This is achieved due to the facilitation of collaboration and communication between team members through the PLM software, beginning from the generation of the design and ideas until the distribution of the final garmet.
These type of software solutions commonly offer the neccesary tools for the team to manage the whole lifecycle of the product, but it is most interesting to look out for key functionalities for the pre-season stage such as prepack creation or advanced forecasting, designers and retailers will be able to speed up their time to market, resulting on markdown reductions and increase of profits.
An effective ERP system integrated with PLM capabilities can handle all the complex information that comes along with creating fashion collections and help companies make more accurate business decisions, allowing the product professionals to manage detailed and rigorous information and enabling them to stay on the same page.