655 Campbell Technology Parkway,
Suite 200
Campbell, CA 95008 USA

Phone: +1 408 574 7802
Fax: 1 408 377 3002


How to Build a Business Case for PLM


You know it’s time for change. You know that trying to deal with information from teams located in different locations and different systems is a challenge, from design, retail, merchandising, development, fit, quality, production, logistics, sales and more. You know that you need a single collaborative environment to streamline the product development processes to enable growth and ensure the continued success of your company.

But, there’s a catch, how do you convince executive management to make that change? How do you build a business case for PLM?

Defining a business case should be the first step! A business case can be outlined as a document which specifies the core business benefit of a project in order to justify the expenditure of the initiative. The business case is an amalgam of advantages, disadvantages, pitfalls of the current process and the stumbling blocks that can be expected from the future process so that executive management can decide if the project gets a green or a red light.

As you seek to select a PLM solution that seamlessly fits with the needs and ambitions of your company, here are some tips in developing a business case.

Define Business Problems and Opportunities

Defining your business problem is key. What are the challenges that you face daily? What are the business bugbears that have you up late at night? Is it inconsistent and fragmented product data that has you going around the twist? Or, perhaps data entry and management are equal parts stifling creativity in the workplace and giving you sleepless nights? Whatever your source of insomnia, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) will have you back on track in no time at all!

PLM is the backbone technology that drives all product related activities from design to retail including expansion and omnichannel strategies. PLM improves collaboration, reduces costs and speeds time to market resulting in streamlined operations, higher profitability and an easier way of working for you and your colleagues. A real win-win for everyone!  Companies have saved millions of dollars in less than one year with PLM.

Research and Identify Alternative Solutions

As the great Albert Einstein once put it, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. You’ve identified issues in your workflow and you aren’t getting the desired results, now you seriously need to change! Researching and identifying alternative solutions will really help you understand what solution is the best fit for your company, but what are your options?

1. Modern PLM

A modern PLM solution is one that is cloud-based and is as focused on improving creativity and collaboration as it is on driving process efficiencies to improve business performance and time to market. It looks at the entire end-to-end product lifecycle of a product, is cloud-based and offers mobile apps.

Centric PLM™ is defined as an all-encompassing modern PLM solution. Centric offers a new generation of PLM designed specifically to manage product lifecycles that are very short—often only months or even weeks long—and fast-paced.

2. Old PLM/PDM

Old PLM and Product Data Management (PDM) are legacy solutions that were born of a need to store CAD/CAM files and other drawings related to product design. They originated to meet the needs of the automobile and aerospace industries designed for complex engineering based products with multiyear lifecycles. These solutions and those industries do not look at the entire product lifecycle of a product in the same way that modern, fashion/apparel focused PLM does.

CamelBak, a Centric Software® customer, moved from an old PDM to Centric Software PLM and instantly improved product development process efficiency while streamlining master data accuracy across different product ranges. Not bad at all!

As Paul Rattay PLM Manager at Camelbak puts it,

One can never underestimate the importance of system usability, [PLM] allows my team to focus on moving our process innovation forward and allows our extended teams to focus on bringing great products to market, faster.
3. Home Built System/Excel

Some companies, such as Ariat, the leading performance footwear and apparel brand for equestrian athletes from around the world, build their very own PLM system and it worked for a while until the product development process became extremely difficult to manage and complex as the company grew and evolved in the normal course of developing business, updating sourcing strategies and responding to a changing market. That solution could not keep up so Ariat decided to make a digital transformation with Centric Software PLM.

See what Susan Glynn, Vice President Apparel Design and Development at Ariat had to say about the move to Centric Software PLM below.

In fact, many companies turn to Centric Software searching for relief from a sea of Excel spreadsheets or the limitations of a home-built system, including new customer Acne Studios:

“We have felt for some time now that for us to continue growing, we needed proper infrastructure to communicate between departments,” says Mattias Magnusson, CEO of Acne Studios. “We had our in-house PDM and a web of Excel sheets that different people used. It was difficult to have all the information updated in one place for everyone to view and that made it time-consuming to develop a collection. We wanted to collaborate better, spend less time on administration tasks and spend more time developing better products.”

One Italian company was able to eradicate 170 spreadsheets with 80,000 columns in 17 different languages! Imagine the time savings and simplicity!

Return on Investment

The fulcrum about which any business case should turn is ROI. Convincing executive management to make a change is made that much easier when they know exactly what they can expect in return.

Both the hard and soft benefits of PLM implementation should be presented to stakeholders. Hard benefits are the most measurable benefits such as an increase in profitability coming from the management of the gross margin from product development. Soft benefits include increased productivity or efficiency.

With Centric Software PLM you can expect rapid results, from speeding time to market, improving collaboration and increasing profitability to increased data accuracy, creating new merchandise planning processes, full visibility to business KPI’s and much more! A list of concrete and expected benefits that executive management would be more than excited about!

Why Centric PLM?

Following your extensive PLM research, the flexible, adaptable, modern and configurable nature of Centric Software PLM will become clear. Does the notion of all product data stored in a centralized location, of an ability to focus on business intelligence and innovation rather than administration, of increased profit margins, faster time to market and much more have you beaming from ear to ear? There’s just one thing, how do you add credulity to a PLM business case?

References, references, references!

Click here and find out just how happy revered and renowned brands and companies from across the globe are with Centric Software PLM!

What are the fears and concerns of implementation?

It can be hard to let go of the past and look toward the future in business, but if it’s broken or not fit for purpose anymore then you need to fix it! A major fear for many companies is that the upheaval caused by implementing a new PLM solution will cease or even damage business for a period. This is not the case.

Our Agile Deployment methodology was developed for this very reason. It means that you will be live in just a few short months via multiple short and quick iterations of Plan, Do, Check, Act (inspired by the great Edward Deming), and are supported continuously throughout the process! A Centric PLM rollout is a fraction of the time typically needed for an ERP implementation for example. Amazing!

So, what are you waiting for? Build your PLM business case and educate your executives on the benefits of PLM. Check out Centric Software PLM and ensure the continued growth and success of your company!