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PLM and the value road map

How do you go about establishing your blueprint for success?

One of the first steps is to use a methodology that some people and organisations call the ‘Value Roadmap’ or ‘Value Assessment’ to help you to pin-point the value from implementing a PLM solution.

The ‘Value Roadmap’ is often delivered by the PLM suppliers or by third party ‘Apparel domain experts’ who possess a broad and deep understanding of the processes used within the Apparel industry, based on ‘Best-Practise’ methodologies, and can make assessments of good or poor processes based on the process-maturity gaps within the clients existing product development lifecycles.

Consider using independent experts…

Now you shouldn’t be surprised when the outcome of the Value Roadmap Assessment completed by the PLM supplier points you to the supplier’s PLM solution (their software, consulting services, training and support contracts, etc). That’s why it sometimes makes more sense to select an independent third party expert to carry out the task. This way the output is more likely to be based primarily on process improvements, rather than the software solution. and in the order of ‘Value’ for the business to enable the delivery of a blue print based on key milestones for success and which will be owned by several partners.
PLM Value can come from a variety of different sources:

– Process Effectiveness: how good is it and can it be improved? Process Maturity workshops are designed to deliver improvements based on using industry ‘Best-Practise’ facilitated by automation.

– Visibility of Information: how, why, when and what type of information needs to flow throughout the extended Supply-Chain? Integration of systems including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), in-house developed solutions, merchandising, CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design & Manufacture) tracking and logistics all assist the flow and visibility of information.

Measuring success

Once you’ve defined the ‘Value Proposition’, the next step is to measure and document the improvements, which in turn should be linked to key milestones within the implementation plan. Only when you achieve these milestones successfully should you move onto the next milestone. Like I often say, avoid the ‘Big Bang’ approach which can often lead to a five to six months project becoming 12 months or, worst still, a one year project rolling into multiple years. It’s sad to say there are a few of those out there, so keep in mind ‘Success should drive Success’.

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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