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PLM Implementation - The Strategy & The Method

Many retailers are looking to reduce time, lower costs, and maintain product quality while sustaining a competitive advantage.

Today I will be speaking about Product Lifecycle Management PLM and the two imperatives for a successful PLM Implementation:

  • The Strategy

  • The Method


Successfully implementing a PLM system requires a strategy that enables innovation, creativity, and agility. It also needs to drive transparency, accountability, and governance around the flow of activities and information along your supply and value chains.

When it comes to PLM or any technology implementation, building an all-inclusive end-to-end strategy is essential to ensure overall success in meeting the business needs and return on investment. A big part of the Strategy is understanding your organization's ability to support and drive Process, Product, Digital, and Market innovation.

Process innovation –

Simplifies the way you work:

  • Streamlines how information is accessed

  • Clarifies roles and responsibilities

  • Supports ability to embrace change

Product innovation –

This means you are open to new ideas and trying new things:

  • Focused on how products are enhanced, manufactured, delivered, and sold

  • Design products and materials for durability and sustainability

  • Integrate digital components for visibility and traceability

Digital Innovation –

Empowers the workforce and enables better decisions:

  • Improves business processes that create efficiencies

  • Allows faster reporting through better access to data

  • Provides flexibility through mobility

Market Innovation –

Creates new opportunities:

  • Engage with Customers to understand their behaviors and needs

  • Develop Co-marketing to improved product launches in new or existing markets

  • Leverage new business models to extend the life of your product

The introduction of new processes and technologies is disruptive to business operations.

Technology doesn't cause innovation; people innovate. The technology provides an environment in which people are empowered to innovate. Changing how you work and using new technology also requires acquiring new skill sets within your organization.

The other big part of your Strategy is a comprehensive Change Management plan. This will help you:

  • Understand the actual cost of the change,

  • Build accountability across the supply chain

  • Creates strong advocacy for your initiatives to ensure a successful implementation and user adoption

This is achieved by working collaboratively with:

1. The Organization

  • Align on Vision & gain Buy-in - from the Executive Team

  • Engage & Empower - Cross-Functional Key Stakeholders

  • Build Efficiency & Enhancements – Technology partners

  • Establish Governance & Improvements - Transformation & Project Teams

2. External Business Partners

  • Synergies & New Business Models- Vendor|Suppliers|Agents

  • Strategy & Thought Partners - Consultants

3. The Solution Providers

  • Solution Partner - Sales Representatives

  • Technical Support - Customer Success

  • Discuss improve or New Functionality - R&D team


When thinking about a PLM implementation project, it's best to consider the pros and cons of each.

The Big Bang method is an all-in-one approach where the goal is to deploy the technology and integrations to all end-users on one go-live date.

With this approach, the entire organization's end-users have access to the software simultaneously, and the goal is to decommission the legacy systems.

The Pros are:

  • All end-users will go live at the same time

  • Shorter timeline

  • You will have the lowest overall cost due to the shorter timeline

  • And you will realize your return on investment sooner

The Cons are:

  • It can be challenging to complete thorough testing of the technology in a shorter timeline.

  • It can negatively affect productivity due to training all end-users before go-live.

The Phased Method consists of multiple go-lives that could be either by

  • Location

  • functionality,

  • or across business areas.

This approach limits the exposure of the new software across the organization and requires using the legacy systems until all go-lives are complete.

The Pros are:

  • Provides additional time to test and integrate lessons learn before the next go-live

  • you have time to ensure that the new solution meets the needs of each business area.

  • Provides extra time to train all end-users

The Cons are:

  • Longer timeline

  • Increase costs associated with each additional go-live.

  • Cost for maintaining two systems

  • Longer time to realize ROI

The best option will vary from organization to organization. It comes down to understanding the organization's readiness for change and the business unit's and stakeholders' goals.

Successful PLM Implementation works when you build a holistic plan that includes a:

  • · Strategy – that is all-inclusive, innovation-driven, and collaborative

  • · Method – that is appropriate for the organization, cost-effective, delivers on the goal

Jordan Alliance Group (JAG) is a management consulting firm specializing in strategic business transformation through innovation and technology for the fashion retail industry. JAG covers the entire lifecycle of PLM implementation. Our team of expert consultants works collaboratively to move our clients through each phase of the business and technology transformation lifecycle:

  • Creating a strategic roadmap around business process

  • PLM technology requirements

  • Selecting and implementing new systems

  • Strategic Change Management and governance for continued success

If you want to ensure your organization is ready to accept the change and understand what it will take to ensure user adoption, contact Jordan Alliance Group.


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