Using a Digital Product Material Library to Connect Your Retail PLM Teams
Written By: Blake Simms

There can be what seems like an endless amount of steps that go into designing and producing a new clothing item or accessory for your brand. From aligning with the latest fashion trends to developing a product prototype to sourcing the actual material, all of which happens before going into production and hitting the market within the timeline of the trend lifecycle.

Getting all the different product lifecycle teams involved on the same page is essential to accelerating this ideation to product creation process. Designers must first visualize and storyboard the item and then collaborate with product development and sourcing teams to select fabrics and materials that meet the cost, availability, quality and compliance requirements set by their brand. This is often where breakdowns occur and not being in sync can result in material-induced design setbacks and ultimately product release delays.

Are retailers really doing all they can to win and retain customers?

Digital design tools can open the door for easier communication and consolidate decision making to create a seamless flow of information in each stage of product development. A digital material library, for example, can help to expedite product design and institute supply chain visibility by combining virtual prototypes with information on each material used in the manufacturing process. For high-end fashion brands, material specifications and standards are important to ensure quality and compliance. On the flip side, other fast fashion purveyors may be okay with sacrificing quality to find the most cost-effective materials needed to produce their retail product. Whatever the case, a digital material library allows designated users to control and manage material and color standards for their product line and inventory.

Understanding any potential supplier constraints early in the process is also beneficial when planning, negotiating and confirming the global sourcing of fabrics and materials from a supplier network. For example, the geographical location of a global supplier may have an impact on the overall cost associated with the material being sourced, so visibility into the supply chain provides greater control and insight into the product development process.

Integrating a digital product material library with other Retail PLM tools like a digital storyboard enables designers, product development, and sourcing teams to think proactively about acquiring materials and fabrics, and having all this data in one singular platform can be a huge time-saver and really empower your team to work together effectively. In the end, avoiding unnecessary materials-induced setbacks ensures that products get to market faster, freeing up your team to focus on their next project.

Join our upcoming webinar "How Digital Material Libraries Are Solving 3 Product Development Challenges" to learn how you can tap into digital material libraries and get to market faster.

Solving retail product development challenges


Tags: Augmented Reality Retail and Consumer Products Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
About the Author Blake Simms

Blake has an extensive international career in marketing and business development within the technology, fashion, retail and consumer products industries.

With a Degree in International Marketing Management, Strategy & Communications, Blake has worked for a variety of leading global organizations and supported them in developing and delivering their strategic vision and corporate goals.

As a Marketing Director, Blake has designed, implemented and executed both international and regional go-to-market strategies, with a strong focus on increasing brand awareness and reputation, developing acquisition/lead generation initiatives and delivering powerful sales-enablement tools.