Are you unsure if your fashion business actually needs a cloud PLM or Product Lifecycle Management solution? A fashion PLM solution is designed to help you profitably manage growing business complexity and speed-up product development. Having worked with hundreds of leading fashion brands and manufacturers all across the globe, we at WFX – World Fashion Exchange have identified seven common signs to see if your business needs a fashion PLM solution. Take a look!

1. Your product information sits in different applications.

As your business grows, things become more and more decentralized. Different departments grow in independence and begin to run on their own. This growth leads to diversification of systems and technologies across different departments. This makes it extremely difficult to keep your product data across the different applications consistent, up to date and complete. As a result, you experience issues collaborating with internal teams as people do not have a single accurate view of product data.

2. You create multiple spreadsheets for the same thing.

With ever increasing collections, a growing number of products and multiple vendors – managing deliverables and milestones have become increasingly difficult. As a workaround, you take refuge in spreadsheets by listing a date for every action item for every style. But before you know it, various stakeholders have duplicated the same spreadsheet, customized it to suit their needs and shared it across the organization. What you are left with is a new set of problems – many versions of excel sheets, errors in documented data and processes gone out of control.

3. You are inundated with emails.

Every day, you find your inbox flooded with unread emails. You try to manage them better by creating email rules, folders and sub folders, categorizing them on the basis of urgency or color coding them for easy identification. But all of this steals time from more important activities such as strategic planning, budgeting and actually getting things done. At the end of the day, you still have vendors, team members and managers following up with an exhausted you.

4. You are unable to invest due to budget constraints.

Your ship runs on low fuel. Profit margins are extremely vulnerable to everyday human errors and surplus capital for new initiatives are limited. You cannot seem to find funds to invest in the right technology or to upgrade enterprise applications and improve cost management. Basically, your operations have grown beyond your technological infrastructure and have created a vicious cycle where poor efficiency leads to budget constraints and limits further investment into efficiency-driving technological transformations.

5. You waste time sending and searching emails.

You document plans, direct teams and track action items over emails. This statement may not even sound like a sign to you. But it basically reflects that you are using email as the primary mode for strategic and operational collaboration. Emails by their very nature are cut off from your other enterprise wide systems.  And managing your product lifecycle over emails is an inefficient and siloed way of working. Regardless if you are a small or big company, as a fashion business you cannot afford it. This is because your scale of operations demands a seamless and centralized collaboration platform integrated across design, purchasing, production, and your supply chain.

6. You miss deadlines.

You constantly find yourself writing excuses -to team members, suppliers and customers – for delays in product delivery, quality, missed deadlines and claims. No matter how tightly you oversee all the workings of the business, tasks fall through the cracks and you only learn of them when it’s too late. All of this means products arrive later than they should, more markdowns, and you need to spend even more time solving a problem that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

7. Your IT infrastructure is stunting business growth.

Over the years, you have worked hard and spread your wings. Your business and teams have grown, sometimes across multiple locations. Your products are sold in different territories and you have expanded your supplier base with people working across time zones. All this creates an exciting business environment but also increases communication errors and collaboration challenges.Your business has evolved but the technology you use to manage it hasn’t. Business growth is becoming harder to manage.

Conclusion: A good problem to have!

If you can relate to any of the above signs, that is good news because there is a solution to each of these. By investing in the right fashion PLM technology and leveraging the cloud,the very challenges hindering your growth can turn into new opportunities.Through an end-to-end product lifecycle management solution, you can enjoy a new way of doing business, collaborating with internal and external stakeholders, growing more efficiently and improving profits.