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PLM isn’t just about features and functions!

When You Choose Your PLM Software You Also Choose Your PLM Supplier

OK, so you’re ready to select your PLM solution; you’ve done your homework on your business pain points and matched these with the processes and functional abilities of a PLM Supplier’s solution.

If that’s the case, stop right there! The fact is, when a PLM customer reaches the point of selecting PLM Software (usually based on ‘functional fit’ alone) they often forget that at the same time they are also selecting a PLM Supplier. Neglecting to assess the PLM Supplier’s implementation, training and support approach could result in an extremely costly mistake.

It’s not just about Features & Functions!

 Let’s not forget that it’s more about selecting a partner that you feel you can trust to provide you with a total workable PLM solution, as we say here in the UK: ‘the Full Monty’!!

Most of today’s Apparel PLM suppliers will be able to provide you with the exciting ‘Features & Functions’ that you will need to resolve your business challenges. However, the real challenge is not that they can provide your business with the functionality, but what else can they deliver in the total solution?

There are many questions you need to ask…

• Does the PLM supplier have the right Apparel PLM ‘domain expertise’ for your market sector and product types to enable them to speak the process language of the industry, ensuring they understand just what it will take to resolve the pains?
• Do they have a corporate culture, which is similar to your own business, that you feel happy you can work with?
• Do they have a support team that can answer your Supply-Chain questions which is backed by Apparel PLM ‘experts’ or is ‘the support team’ just a person behind a phone using a piece of support software that records your issues and puts you in a long queue waiting hours or even days to have the problem resolved?
• Does the salesperson really understand your requirements and is he/she being honest or are they more focused on their sales commission?
• Is the company trustworthy?
• Do they operate in regions where your Supply-Chain is located?
• What do you know about the financial situation of your PLM supplier?

Making the right choices when it comes to PLM selection is no easy task. It takes a lot of work and a great deal of knowledge and if you get it wrong, not only will it cost you a six or seven figure sum but worst still, it will damage people’s confidence and could put the PLM project back years! 

It’s not going to be easy, so do your homework and take your time. Here are a few points for you to consider:

• Link the PLM strategy to the business mission.
• Understand the current & future potential pain points.
• Create a clear value roadmap linked to providing your business with a profit.
• Plan your ROI carefully and link it to key implementation milestones.
• Remember functionality is only a part of the implementation- the right people can add significant value.
• Consider the relationship with the PLM supplier when things go wrong, and they will do!
• Get to know supplier references without their initial involvement.

Remember, while you must include all the finer details of the software’s Features & Functions, don’t forget it’s the people with expert knowledge that will make your PLM project a 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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