Rethinking Enterprise Software to Deliver on the Promise of PLM

through sampling and directly into production with the exact same tools and system. Of course, moving vendor collaboration capabilities online also im- proves access to information, enhances collaboration, and increases process visibility for teams and vendors. Perhaps even more importantly, extending workflow management, time and action calendar, and automated alerts and notification capabilities of PLM into the sourcing and manufacturing processes can provide massive benefits in the form of development and production, cycle time reduction, design to delivery visibility, and overall business control. Extending some of the robust reporting capabilities typically limited to ERP system into the front-end processes also serves to eliminate another commonly identified weakness in traditional PLM systems. Ellery Homestyles, a leading supplier of branded and private label home fashions to major retailers, has embraced the extended design and sourcing suite concept. With an extensive line of curtains, bedding, throws and specialty products, the company recently deployed the BlueCherry ® system to take advantage of its unique combination of fabric development, raw materials tracking, sample management, workflowmanagement, and web-based sourcing capabilities. BringingDesign into the PLMProcess In addition to taking on downstream sourcing and production capabilities, this new breed of fashion PLM is also gaining effectiveness in early stage fashion processes. While PLM has traditionally provided centralized storage for designs and technical sketches, the creation of these images and related information has not been well integrated into the PLMworkflow. In most cases, designs and storyboards are created using separate CAD design tools and loaded manually into PLM as an additional step during the product development stage. To streamline and integrate designers into the Design & Sourcing Suite, a new Adobe® Illustrator® plug-in technology adds a simple PLM toolbar to the popular design tool that enables designers to quickly and easily post their images, product information, and line lists directly into the PLM product record. This convenient tool also enables a bi-directional flow of information between the systems. Metadata attached to images existing in the PLM, for example, can be viewed and edited when the image is opened in Illustrator. Illustrator images can also be viewed and printed in the PLM application. Designers and developers may also choose to use graphic design tools built into the PLM to create images or drag and drop and fabric, color, product, and other components needed to create mood and style boards. Much of this information is also used to streamline the product planning process. Merchandise and Line Planning Significant opportunities for improvement also exist in the merchandise and line planning process. While some have attempted to incorporate planning capabilities, the complexity and variety of planning methodology used across

assurance tools provided through the web or in a convenient mobile app enable more efficient and effective Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) standards, onsite sample approvals, mill and factory scorecarding, and other quality initiatives. Extended Purchasing and Process Tracking While most PLM solutions offer basic tools for managing the sampling process, a more process-driven design and sourcing solution can provide the full range of rawmaterials and product purchasing and tracking capabilities for both samples and production within a single system.This enables fashion companies tomove

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