PTC recently sat down with Lindsay Clunie, Process Manager at L.L Bean. Here, Lindsay talks about using PTC FlexPLM to build great products and explains the benefits of being an active participant in the FlexPLM User Technical Committee.
We had used a couple of PLM systems in the past and didn’t see those PLM vendors making an investment in their solutions to power us forward with improvements to the user experience, speed, or ease. We also had users across multiple product categories at L.L. Bean who weren’t familiar with a PLM system. We had to transition them away from Excel, email, and offline documents, and into a centralized system, where we could take advantage of real-time visibility and collaboration across multiple product categories.
All of our product categories are in FlexPLM, with 100% of our products managed in the system. This is huge for us; FlexPLM is our source of record for product specification information. Downstream partners rely on this information to populate other business systems, including those that house customer-facing data. We’ve been able to cut down on the manual work of these downstream users trying to track down information from the development teams. This results in more readily available, and complete, product information.
In the apparel and outerwear categories, our users have taken advantage of the linking image capabilities, which has resulted in HUGE time savings, as we reuse many of the same clean sketch images across products (reg vs. tall; stripes vs. solids; etc.). If updates need to be made, it’s great to not have to touch multiple images to make the same update, but rather do it in one place.
The folks who I work with at PTC are industry experts. They have sat in my chair as a product developer, designer, or technical designer. They have actually built the tool; they know how to manage accounts and connect me with the people I need to work with. They are credible!
We attended our first TC in January 2016 for just a day. As a business analyst on the FlexPLM project, I feared the content would be too ‘Technical’ for me as the name suggests. However, it was a perfect forum! Some attendees were more technical than me, others were less so. After returning from that day, we worked with our PTC account manager to ensure we were on the list for the next TC (in its entirety!).
Prior to joining the FlexPLM team at L.L.Bean, I was a product developer. I was used to attending industry shows where the mentality was to be close-lipped and not let anyone try to steal your innovative ideas. When I was introduced to the TC, a group comprised of many of the same companies I had previously seen at industry shows, it was a completely different experience. The community is so collaborative and willing to share with one another. We’re all experiencing similar challenges in our businesses. There’s an attitude to level the playing field from the standpoint of the FlexPLM tool and allow our business users to focus on what they should be doing: building great products!
Absolutely! It’s so helpful to have a network of collaborative business and IT folks to draw from for their experiences, triumphs, and cautionary tales. My users at L.L. Bean have begun to ask me “how are other companies doing it?” It’s a great way to exchange ideas, as well as contribute to the direction of the FlexPLM roadmap.
I’m very excited about the UX improvements and to deliver these to my users. I appreciate how much our voices are heard and valued to help shape the future of FlexPLM.
Join the PTC/USER Retail Technical Committee to work closely with PTC Product Management and collaborate with other customers to direct future software development! By participating in PTC user and working groups, you can represent the voice of the customer to drive future functionality and solutions for your industry. Click here to access the online registration form. For more details, please contact your local PTC Account Manager.