Set Goals for Your PLM Implementation and Succeed

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Given the high level of creativity, rapid evolving customer demands and international collaboration required to succeed in fashion - it can be difficult for an apparel business to gauge the value of their PLM implementation.

By thinking of PLM as a process to support growth and innovation, you can set goals to help understand how a PLM solution has affected your business.

Before the software and processes go into place, it makes sense to set goals in three key categories to help track your developments and improve your enterprise.

#1 - Strategic PLM Goals

Your company's strategic outcomes from implementing product life cycle management are often measured outside of the software itself. In many cases, the PLM processes are not the only contributing factor to success, but a facilitator of your overall strategy. Some examples of strategic goals that PLM can contribute to are:

  • better supply metrics
  • improved innovation speed
  • greater market share (thanks to product innovations)

Since PLM initiatives tend to involve many different departments, it's smart to sit down and understand the strategic goal for each division.

#2 - Business Process Related Goals

Compared to your strategic outcomes, these goals are usually easier to measure. Like any set of business goals, the key is to record them beforehand, with a timeline in which you plan to revisit them. Three and six months after the solution has been put in place work as  good intervals to check in and see how you're progressing.

Some examples of process related goals are:

  • shorten length of development life cycles
  • removing or reducing spreadsheets and siloed information (email, chats, etc) from production
  • improved sample quality

#3 - Financial Goals

Financial benefits associated with PLM adoption are easier to track than strategic goals, but are often hard to estimate until the deployment has been completed. Your PLM vendor may be able to provide you with some baseline metrics for improvement, but no two apparel companies are the same.

Common goals to set include:

  • percentage reduction in raw material costs
  • bigger margins on new apparel products (due to speed and optimziation)
  • reallocation of human resources or reduced headcount

Don't Forget to Set a Benchmark

With each goal that you set for your PLM project, make sure to have a benchmark to compare to. It doesn't have to be a fancy or complicated solution. Simply create a document with the stated goal, and where the company stands prior to rolling out the process. This way you will know how things are going when you hit your 3, 6 and 12 month reviews.

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