PTC's Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing Initiative, Extending the Reach of its Brand-To-Factory Strategy
Written By: Blake Simms
7/10/2019 Read Time : 3 min

We are proud to announce the Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing (IAM) initiative. A response to the acute pressures placed on brand and retail businesses by today’s fast-paced, hyper-competitive market, the IAM initiative is designed to transform the way products are sourced and manufactured – across fashion and apparel.

Conceived in partnership with digitalization consultancy Black Swan Textiles, the IAM program leverages PTC's FlexPLM and ThingWorx Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to bring the vision for Industry 4.0 alive for fashion and apparel manufacturers anywhere in the world.

With more users than any other PLM platform in the Retail, Footwear and Apparel industry, FlexPLM is already the industry’s most widely-used PLM solution. Built with FlexPLM, the IAM initiative will deliver even deeper integration between a single, centralized source of data and other business systems – establishing direct connectivity with manufacturing and opening the door to transformative new business models.

“Combining PTC’s technical expertise with Black Swan Textiles’ decades of experience in automation, manufacturing and product development, the IAM initiative will allow the fashion and apparel industry to significantly reduce time to market, shrink inventory and digitally connect a fragmented supply chain,” said Brion Carroll, VP of Global Business Development for PTC’s Retail Business Unit.

To establish a comprehensive link between PTC’s FlexPLM solution and the full complement of factory systems and hardware, the IAM initiative has been forged by new partnerships between PTC, Black Swan, and other key players in the connected supply chain such as Blacksmith International and Henderson Sewing Machine Co, Inc.

“To meet the demands of their customers, global manufacturers need access to real-time data from the shop floor in order to make informed decisions during the manufacturing process,” added Edward Hollyday, VP of Black Swan Textiles.
“By connecting different assets and sources of data such as 3D design, PLM, cutting and sewing machines, an existing factory can quickly become an ‘intelligent factory’ and begin delivering on the promise of the Industry 4.0 revolution. As a brand or retailer, the benefits of integrating multiple threads of data and obtaining real-time digital insights into the factory floor are profound, and we believe the IAM initiatives will give PTC customers a huge competitive advantage.”

Blacksmith International, a Utah based apparel manufacturer and global sourcing company in the vanguard of digital transformation, is currently implementing several solutions (including FlexPLM and MOVE Warehouse Management) and IAM technologies to improve efficiency, transparency and bottom-line profits. “The ability to make business decisions based on up-to-the-minute data from the factory will drive the next wave of innovation, and it starts right here in Utah,” said Brian Sather, Blacksmith International. “We are proud to be working with Black Swan Textiles and PTC to architect the factory of the future: connected, transparent, and a fixture of the local community.”

Henderson Sewing Machine a third generation sewing machine distributor and systems integrator, will also play a crucial role in the deployment of IAM hardware. One of the first and most pivotal parts of the initiative is centered around the ‘connected sewing machine’ where legacy sewing machines from all makes, models and stitch types will be connected to IAM, as Frank Henderson, CEO of Henderson Sewing Machines explains:

“The global manufacturing landscape is more competitive than ever, and the pressures placed on factories of all shapes and sizes demand a new level of connectivity and automation. Together with PTC and Black Swan Textiles, we are working to take manufacturers to that new level with the help of the Intelligent Apparel Manufacturing platform.”

Further details on the IAM initiative was highlighted throughout PTC's annual digital transformation conference, LiveWorx, which ran from June 10th-13th, in Boston, MA. A panel discussion titled; “Meeting The Demands of Future-focused Brands and Consumers with the Brand-to-Factory Initiative” took place on Wednesday, June 12th at 1pm. Panelists Edward Hollyday (VP, Black Swan Textiles), Brian Sather (CEO, Blacksmith Manufacturing), Brion Carroll (VP, Global Business Development, PTC) and Frank Henderson (CEO, Henderson Sewing Machine) discussed this initiative and explained how it builds on PTC’s existing Brand-to-Factory (B2F) strategy. “This is a must-attend discussion for brands, sourcing agents and manufacturers in the retail and apparel industries seeking ways to work more closely with their suppliers, and to connect proprietary hardware and software systems through an intuitive intermediary platform”, said Bill Brewster, SVP and General Manager of PTC’s Retail Business Unit.

In addition, the IAM platform was available to experience first-hand in PTC’s dedicated Retail booth, which was located in Xtropolis – LiveWorx’s impressive 200,000 square foot exhibit hall. Black Swan Textiles and Henderson Sewing exhibited a connected sewing machine as well as connecting in real-time to machines at Henderson Sewing in Andalusia, AL using the power of PTC’s ThingWorx platform.
Tags: CAD Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
About the Author Blake Simms

Blake is a high-performing, results, and data-driven, strategic marketing leader with extensive international experience in B2B technology marketing, specifically enterprise SaaS, Cloud, and subscription solutions in Retail, Footwear, Apparel, GM & CPG sectors.

With a bachelor’s degree in marketing management, strategy and communications, Blake has worked for a variety of leading global organizations and supported them by developing and delivering their Go-to-Market strategy, with measurable outcomes in new ACV bookings and ARR growth.

As a Marketing Director, Blake has a proven track record of nurturing teams and building highly successful, best-in-class, innovative marketing programs from the ground up, driving real results against KPIs in the areas of lead generation and pipeline creation, brand awareness, product launches, customer engagement and retention, product marketing, communications, sales-enablement, and account-based marketing.