Apr 28, 2010

The Three Stages of Retail PLM Adoption - whitepaper released by Kurt Salmon Associates

NEW YORK - Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software offers quick wins, but has only scratched the surface of its real value, according to a whitepaper released by consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates.

Much bigger wins await retailers whose product development and sourcing departments use a PLM system to work in parallel and share the same, up-to-the minute information, according to the whitepaper, "The Three Stages of Retail PLM Adoption," available for download on Kurt Salmon's website.

The whitepaper, based on in-depth interviews with soft goods leaders, and results from Kurt Salmon's PLM consulting assignments, offers a snapshot of investment and benefits and a roadmap for future PLM opportunities. For organizations currently considering PLM, the whitepaper provides the blueprint for a successful phased implementation approach that includes designers, merchants and external suppliers.

The whitepaper's five retailing myths take on agents, the product development department, sourcing, factories and management itself.

Myth 1: My agent knows better than I do. This gives agents too much power. Most agents communicate between a retailer on one end and a supplier on the other. Warning: Don't assume your manufacturing agent knows more than you.

Myth 2: Our product development department is more trustworthy than our suppliers. Rather than keeping vendors away from setting specs, retailers should focus on communicating clearly what needs to be done, then capitalize on the skills of the vendors to do most of the technical work.

MYTH 3: Only sourcing can understand what suppliers are talking about. That thinking stands in the way of designers getting into direct dialogs with suppliers about ways to tweak product designs for more efficient manufacturing and distribution.

MYTH 4: Our factories won't want to share their supply chain. Retailers who show a factory the rewards of stronger collaboration will be able to create a competitive advantage.

MYTH 5: We can't change ourselves. Retailers who do not use PLM technology to revamp the way they develop products and work with suppliers will suffer higher costs and be late to market, and that's a recipe for shrinking market share.

The whitepaper outlines immediate steps retailers can take to get value from their PLM investments. And from those steps, retailers can significantly improve their organization's financial performance.