New Fashion Collection In Stores On Time
Product lifecycle management or PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) has become an essential issue in a sector as fragmented as fashion. Late delivery of products can have dire consequences on the bottom line and lead to a loss of customer loyalty. Faced with this scenario, many in the fashion industry are wondering how it is possible to achieve a more efficient PLM.
Traditionally, companies in the fashion and clothing sector presented two new collections a year: one for the fall-winter season and the other for the spring-summer season . Subsequently, other intermediate collections appeared, such as the cruise collection. However, the current trend blurs this seasonal division in favor of new product launches every few months, or even days.
The most extreme case is that of large fashion companies, whose strategies are based on creating new products adapted to increasingly ephemeral trends and other conditioning factors (such as the weather) and bringing them to the point of sale as quickly as possible. However, regardless of the number of collections, each new product requires a planning process before going on the market that can take up to a year.
Step-By-Step Lifecycle Management
The development, distribution and sale of a new collection are carried out in several phases, the timing of which is essential to deliver the new products on time. The main stages of PLM that the fashion industry faces are:
- Design: This is the most creative stage of the process, in which sketches are created, colors are combined, fabrics are chosen and accessories are added. It requires a prior research effort that is increasingly supported by Big Data technologies and predictive analysis to anticipate new customer demands and needs. For this reason, it must now evolve to become more professional, as is the case with industrial design in other sectors.
- Production of samples: Once the designs have been created, it is time to manufacture a test sample before launching the final collection. This process, with multiple changes in the finish of the garments, can last up to two months. To achieve maximum efficiency, it is necessary to have a permanently open communication channel between the manufacturer and the design team, which in many cases are thousands of kilometers apart.
- B2B sales: When the samples are received, they are presented to the stores so that they can choose the products that they are going to sell. Good planning in the selection of garments will allow you to intelligently manage all seasonal items to avoid both surpluses and stock breakages.
- Manufacture of the final product: At the moment in which there is an estimate of the orders and the units, it is time to start the manufacture of the final products. In this phase it is necessary to coordinate the request for fabrics, buttons or zippers to have all the production on time.
- Launch of products in the store: This last stage of PLM is one of the most sensitive because it depends on the correct functioning of the previous ones. If so, the most important tasks will be to organize transport and distribution to deliver all products just before the season starts.
Optimize And Anticipate PLM
Whether it’s a mismatch between design and sample manufacturing, material shortages, or a lack of coordination , the occurrence of unexpected issues at any of these stages can delay all downstream processes . Faced with this situation, many fashion retailers are looking for new solutions to reliably and effectively manage the life cycle of their products.
The appearance of specialized technologies in the management of the product life cycle facilitates the entire process, from the conception of the first project ideas to its distribution and commercialization at the point of sale. But not only that, there are currently complete fashion retail solutions that include collaboration and productivity tools to get the most out of all resources and work teams.