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Future of Product Lifecycle Management

The Look Into the Future of Product Lifecycle Management

Software capability and industry demand tend to drive each other forward. When software advancements are made in response to a specific consumer need, they tend to include plausibly related options and alternative tools above and beyond what is sufficient to satisfy the stated need. Likewise, the availability of new software tools and design capabilities tends to drive innovation, especially with creative types, like designers. 

In this particular moment in the production of fashion, furnishings, and the like, the industry is responding to historically high customer demand for more personalization options and faster turnaround. This is making designers more reliant than ever on design software solutions, not only for use in-house but also for interfacing with the customer online.

Data-Driven Production and Marketing

For in-house operations, product lifecycle management (PLM) software is evolving to tap into the benefits of ‘big data’. The effects of failing to use big data to track customer buying habits and focus marketing efforts are inevitable: small, privately-owned businesses cannot waste resources and remain competitive among bigger, better funded competitors. 

PLM is going to be used by more small businesses in the near future to take advantage of the wealth of marketing gold hidden in the data their consumers generate all day, every day. What was once too daunting and ‘techie’ of a task for the average small shop will soon be done with little more than the click of a few buttons. Advanced PLM software solutions will be able to collect, organize, and analyze a company’s customer habits, as well as those of market-wide customer groups, and it will summarize and present the data in a manner that is easily understandable and useful to the business in their marketing and product planning efforts. 

3D CAD Software For Simulated Design - Managed by PLM

In-house PLM software is critical to the modern production process and can be used to manage all kinds of designs, including fashion and apparel, furniture and upholstery, and more. CAD software, in particular, is taking great strides toward making itself indispensable in the conceptualization process in terms of pattern editing and designer collaboration, as well as in the production process in terms of validating 2D patterns using 3D simulation to reduce physical samples. This is one of several powerful softwares, but to utilize it easily and with the highest success rate, the use of a PLM is necessary to communicate between all of your tools.  

Customer-Interfacing Software for Article Customization

A sneaker, for example, might be displayed as an all-white shoe having different features that change color, shape, or texture on the screen as the customer plays around with the different available options, such as shoelace color or material type. More sophisticated simulations already exist, including visualization of the customized shoe as seen on a simulated foot or visualization of a pair of eyeglasses on a picture of a customer’s actual face. 

Even more sophisticated simulation tools will be available in the near future and will likely only be limited by the number and type of customization options a designer is able to offer for a given article. For example, if a designer wants to offer a particular clothing line in two different women’s body types for each available size, the customer will be able to choose the body type model that best resembles their own and simulate ‘trying on’ the designer’s clothing line. Even for designers who do not opt to expand their offerings, the customer’s online shopping experience will be more productive by using simulations that more accurately depict how a garment will look on their specific body type. 

The Future of PLM Software

The future of any competitive design operation depends entirely on the business’s exploitation of an integrated suite of software solutions that revolves around PLM software. The future of PLM is all about more, and easier management, integration and collaboration. Driven by big data, mobility, accessibility, and advancements in manufacturing automation software, PLM software can aid in analyzing data obtained from consumer devices that give insight into how products are being used, how they are being shopped for, how they are recycled (resold), and even what unpurchased items are bypassed for (what was bought instead or at all). It will help track what people are looking for and finding, as well as what they aren’t finding, and identifying the features where customers desire more options.

Good PLM, like Gerber’s YuniquePLM, software can dramatically improve product lifecycle management without increased resources. A business can do more with what it already has or has easy access to, such as consumer data and online consumer interfacing, resulting in increased output and increased revenue.

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