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Plan for change and retain profitabilitiy

When it comes to the design/development decision making process, it’s important, even critical that decisions are completed in a timely manner and are linked to the development calendar milestones. The alternative is that you leave decisions to the last minute and then enter the Casino. In other words, you start gambling on getting your products to market at the right time and at the right price….Those that have visited the Casino know well that there’s only one winner and it’s not usually the punter!

Leaving decisions to the last minute is a seriously RISKY business that no one can afford to take. It’s therefore critical that decisions are made in line with the approved & published development milestones.

All too often, I meet with people that tell me so many horror stories about brand managers, senior merchandisers, owners or directors that agree calendar dates for the collection/range.  At the very last minute they decide that they don’t like a particular style or colour or maybe they want to add an additional feature or worse still, several new styles.  You can imagine at that point what is going on in the minds of the designers and development teams; I am sure you can fill in the gaps here!
The simple fact is that if your product development process is built on the “Microsoft PLM” solution stack then you have little chance of getting these changes made in the most economical way. You may as well throw the dice and hope that your numbers come up, because it’s extremely unlikely that you’re going to make a profit. These changes and additions will erode your margins from each of the processes, furthermore it’s likely that you’re going to experience mistakes along the way leading to product returns that not only hits your profit margin but it also damages your reputation in the marketplace.

So how can we make last minute decisions but still retain profitability on the new changes and product introductions?  Using modern PLM solutions allows the entire team including the extended supply-chain to view the progress of the range at any time. When changes are introduced, the PLM solution can use RISK analysis processes to better manage and inform the team of the consequences linked to the changes.

This way businesses can build into their development plans, a degree of change that can be managed via a RAPID development process, which will use approved FAST processes and suppliers that will enable the development teams on both sides of the supply-chain to be able to react quickly and still allowing the detailed check points that will deliver accuracy of data, quality and cost. The RAPID development approach is linked to suppliers from within the supply chain that use rapid development lifecycles with check points linked to the results of the risk analysis.

So plan for change and deliver last minute, on trend products at the right price and right quality.

Contact me

Please free to share your experience in assessing and selecting a PLM solution. Email me at I look forward to your feedback.


Mark Harrop is a leading Apparel PLM expert with more than 34 years experience in the industry. Mark co-founded the Product Development Partnership Ltd, the team of experts behind WhichPLM.

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