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What do customers want from a future PLM?

The results of WhichPLM’s customer survey, with some interesting feedback from fashion PLM users, provides plenty of insight on future industry requirements.

The first independent fashion PLM customer survey was a hot topic of discussion over the summer for fashion customers of PLM solutions, solution suppliers and industry educators, all eagerly awaiting the results of WhichPLM’s first report offering. Full of interesting facts and feedback from the people that matter (the users!), the results will help future customers to make the right choice when it comes to assessing and selecting a PLM solution and will also help them to avoid the issues made by others in earlier projects. It takes quite a leap of faith for any company to admit that they made mistakes or that they had avoidable issues, but customers that took the survey were extremely up-front with their honesty and frank about their experiences, which makes the report so useful and fundamental to any fashion/retail company looking at taking up a PLM project. For this, I’d like to thank all of those that took part.

I’m confident, based on recent feedback from PLM technology companies that have already purchased the survey, that the details will help them to better understand just what it is that they need to prioritise, both for current and new process developments, to improve the overall user experience and to enable earlier value adoption from a PLM investment. It is also clear from the feedback received that we have a few PLM suppliers that are not helping their customers and have no near-term development plans. As well as good experiences shared in the report, these pitfalls provide essential reading for future customers too.

Personally, I am extremely bullish about the Apparel PLM market, the results of the survey show that customers want more from their PLM investments and no longer is PLM a ‘nice to have’ tool, but rather a ‘must-have’ to maintain efficiency, profitability and competitive edge. Companies that want to reap the productivity gains from PLM should take the plunge, but at the same time should take careful advice from experts that have shared their thoughts within the customer survey.

Contact me

Please feel 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.

To purchase the WhichPLM Customer Survey Report (discounts available for retail companies and education institutions), please visit:

Mark Harrop will be presenting key insights from the report at a free fashion PLM roundtable event in London next week. For more details and register, please, visit:

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