Outlining the Retail PLM Implementation Process in 6 Steps



Implementing a new product lifecycle management (PLM) software may seem like a daunting task at first, but it’s one of the biggest strides retailers will take towards achieving digital transformation.

Retail, footwear, and apparel companies of all sizes share many of the same challenges, so learning from past successes and failures can be extremely helpful. There are several important steps that you can take to ensure a smooth retail PLM implementation process.

1. Establish clearly defined goals

The first thing you should do as an organization before implementing a retail PLM solution is to establish specific business goals for the software. PLM solutions have many different capabilities, and you can find out which are the most important to your team by creating clearly defined goals and identifying how the software will help you achieve them. This will get everyone on the same page early in the process, which makes choosing your solution a lot easier when the time comes to make a decision.

2. Put an implementation team together

Successful PLM implementation requires a dedicated team of people with assigned roles. It should include:

  • an experienced project manager who can set deadlines, adhere to the budget, manage the workflow, and delegate certain tasks
  • an IT manager for handling all technical matters with the PLM vendor
  • a small group of end users consisting of designers, product developers, merchandisers, and anyone else involved in the product lifecycle to test the software and provide feedback

3. Choose your PLM solution wisely

To find the right retail PLM solution for your company, weigh the pros and cons of the several options your team has identified. Find out which vendors have the best reputation and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Look for solutions that continually add new cutting edge features and leverage emerging technologies like predictive analytics and augmented reality. The PLM software you choose should be robust enough to scale to meet the needs of your business and provide a dedicated team ready to assist you with configuration and implementation.

4. Devise a training plan

You know your organization and the stakeholders best, so devise a training plan that will be the most effective for them. Schedule the training around the go-live date that your company is aiming for so they will retain the information, and personalize the training sessions for different roles and learning styles.

5. Test it out

Let the end users you’ve specified from your PLM implementation team go to work testing out the use cases, features, and user environment. Test out some different scenarios with collaborative simulations and gather feedback from the testers on their confidence using the software, its readiness to launch, and any areas where more training might be needed.

6. Go live and measure the results

You trained the users and tested the software – now it’s time to launch. Remember those goals you set at the beginning of the PLM implementation process and start tracking progress with measurable KPIs. You’ve come a long way and made a giant leap towards realizing digital transformation. Don’t forget to celebrate!

Want to know what to look for to find the right retail PLM solution for your needs? Download this free checklist:

PTC Retail PLM  Software Solution