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November 24th, 2017

5 Reasons Lifestyle Brands Need Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Making products for a lifestyle brand is about more than just sales figures and getting units on shelves. Product is key: your focus might be on sustainability, an adventurous outdoor lifestyle, urban sports, streetwear or something else cool. Whatever it is you love and want to share with your customers, you know that people who buy from you expect an authentic product and experience. Product design, quality, fit and overall attention to detail are vital.

It can be hard to keep track of every detail and it’s too easy to get lost in a headache-inducing sea of data, sketches, samples, supplier communications, spreadsheets and emails. If you find you’re spending more time in Excel and email discussions than actually making great products your customers will love, it’s time to investigate a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution.

In a nutshell, PLM streamlines all product related information: from conception to development to field-testing to production to retail. PLM can be used for merchandise and business planning, product development, sourcing, quality control and collaboration across teams, offices or countries.

PLM is designed to speed product development, reduce costs and increase market responsiveness. The really good news is that Centric offers PLM solutions for both emerging brands and also larger companies all based on innovative technologies like mobility and built-in industry best practices.

Image courtesy of Marine Layer

Image courtesy of Marine Layer

Here are 5 questions every lifestyle brand needs to ask:

 

Can PLM improve product hit rates?

Product hit rates measure the amount of sales relative to the amount of inquiries or requests about a particular product, which is easier than ever to track now in a connected online environment. PLM can help to improve product hit rates by creating better connections between consumers and lifestyle brands, as well as getting products onto the market quickly while demand is at its highest.

Using PLM connected to sales or CRM systems, data about consumer reactions can be instantly fed back to designers and product developers allowing them to make changes on the fly and respond quickly to emerging trends. PLM reduces manual data entry, keeps everyone on the same page with a ‘single version of the truth’ and improves communication between suppliers and product creators, which ultimately helps you ship the products your customers are clamoring for faster.

How does PLM speed time to market?

The rise of fast fashion has disrupted the traditional seasonal fashion sales model. Young consumers, in particular, no longer eagerly anticipate season debuts and wait patiently for apparel to hit stores – they expect to be able to order online or pick up products in their local store as soon as they are released. Lifestyle brands aim to cultivate consumer loyalty that goes beyond the fickle nature of fast-changing trends, but that doesn’t mean they can afford to be complacent about keeping up with the rapid pace of change in fashion.

PLM solutions help to shorten lead times by alleviating unnecessary and time-consuming administrative tasks. Centric’s ‘single version of the truth’ approach means that data is synchronized across the system as soon as it is updated, giving your teams instant access to real time and accurate information and eliminating spreadsheet version control issues. With PLM, it’s easier to control revisions or revert to an earlier version of a product if needed without re-doing design materials and manually making sure everybody is kept in the loop.

PLM allows greater visibility into each phase of the design, manufacturing and merchandising process, so you can see exactly where a product is in its lifecycle and who needs to contribute to move it to the next stage. Suppliers can be given access to the PLM system so that communication happens in one place, rather than in email chains. These improved efficiencies help you get products to market faster without compromising on quality.

How will PLM support my expanding lifestyle brand?

As your lifestyle brand grows, your business operations will become more complex and harder to manage. PLM gives you a complete overview of your product development and retail processes giving you the crucial data you need to make informed business decisions.

PLM speeds up product development, reduces costs and increases market responsiveness. It frees your teams from time-consuming admin tasks so you can focus on making must-have products for your customers.

Is Centric PLM easy to use?

Tailored for the fast-moving lifestyle sector, Centric PLM is designed to be user-friendly. Lifestyle brands often have a young employee base as well as youthful customers:  Centric’s easy to navigate interface has the familiar, intuitive features of browsers and apps that are second nature to millennial designers and product developers fresh out of fashion school as well as those who have been around awhile :).

Centric Software is a pioneer of mobility in the PLM field. To take one example, Centric’s Capture It mobile app allows designers to quickly snap pictures of fashion inspiration outside the office, whether they’re browsing stores or partying at a music festival. Instantly uploaded to Centric’s cloud-based PLM, images are visible to the rest of the team and ready to be incorporated into designs next time they’re at work.

Centric’s Agile Deployment℠ methodology makes it easy and fast to implement, allowing companies to introduce PLM on a modular step-by-step basis to suit their requirements. With complete out of the box functionality, Centric PLM doesn’t need messy or costly customization.

Image courtesy of tentree

Image courtesy of tentree

Is Centric the best PLM software?

Only you can decide which PLM suits your business, and we don’t like to brag, but over 220 companies trust Centric to provide their PLM solution rom major-league players to tiny startups. Centric PLM handles products from apparel to hard goods and is the leading PLM solution for fashion, outdoor and lifestyle brands.

In two decades partnering with companies in the fashion and apparel industry, Centric has developed a foundation of apparel PLM expertise and deep knowledge of best practices to benefit your lifestyle brand. We treat our relationships with customers as partnerships, always focused on how you can get the most out of PLM to support your business. Don’t just take our word for it though – find out what our partners have to say about us.

Image courtesy of GANT

Image courtesy of GANT

Meet 4 lifestyle brands using Centric PLM

GANT is a major American sportswear and lifestyle company. In 2017, GANT switched to Centric PLM to improve their product development process, reduce time to market and enjoy greater control over the product lifecycle. GANT successfully implemented Centric across all brands in under a year, and are getting ready to produce their first collection entirely using Centric PLM.

San Francisco-based Marine Layer, a rapidly expanding casualwear brand, went live with Centric PLM in November 2016. The company needed a PLM solution to help manage data from product development to retail and track shared information. Today, business is booming and they are happy that their PLM foundation is in place to help them focus on making great products.

A sustainable and socially responsible lifestyle business, tentree offers active wear for men and women—planting 10 trees for every item purchased. With rapidly growing teams and product lines, tentree has successfully implemented Centric PLM and reports improved efficiency and collaboration across internal, satellite and overseas offices.

Huckberry, the unique men’s lifestyle company based in San Francisco, is ‘equal parts store, magazine and inspiration’ and offers clothing and gear for the urban adventurer. With the challenge of rapid growth and the addition of a successful private label division, Huckberry selected Centric SMB in September 2017 to support product development, reduce mistakes and maximize efficiency.

Image courtesy of Huckberry

Image courtesy of Huckberry

More than 220 companies trust Centric. Want to see how Centric PLM can help you grow?

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