One of the biggest drawbacks of PLM tools for creative design teams is the restrictive nature of the PLM structure. Designers are asked to design in a season, a line plan, or even more narrowly, into a slot or a placeholder. In many cases, they are being measured against design ratios where it’s best if their design ratio is lower than others.
The end result is that designs are not put into a PLM system until they are almost complete which reduces the ability to collaborate early in the design process. Using social collaboration software (Dassault Systèmes tool is aptly called “My Social Collaboration”) can provide a mechanism for teams to collaborate, early and often, in an unstructured environment, free of concepts such as seasons, plans, and placeholders. The result of this collaboration can then be moved into a structured environment when ready.
With “My Social Collaboration” teams can:
- Create ideas and posts within your design community
- Share design concepts
- Like and comment on posts
Visual Assortment Planning
Now that we’ve established an environment where design teams are able to freely share concepts without restrictions, these concepts can be aggregated visually in order to put together a cohesive design story that will be appealing to the end consumer.
The excel, grid-like structure of traditional of PLM tools make it difficult to get the overall “feeling” of the line and / or story. With “My Visual Assortment Planning” teams can:
- View and collaborate on design stories
- Automatically place products into a visual plan based on a merchandising hierarchy
- View metric and data related to the products
Early visibility to extended teams
PLM’s main users have traditionally been technical design, product development and sourcing teams. Providing a tool that creative designers want to use is a big step forward for these teams as well. It means that they have early visibility to design concepts and the overall direction of the line.
This early visibility means more time for collaboration on key areas such as fit, construction, and even choosing the best vendor(s) to work with. PLM’s promise of being a mechanism for collaboration can be realized when all teams, including design, are active participants.
NOTE: By Jennifer Black, Consumer Goods & Retail
Industry Solution Technical Director,