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PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from an idea, through design, manufacture, maintenance, and finally, disposal. PLM centrally manages and provides access to all product data and information. PLM is data management software that evolved from a combination of capabilities originally pioneered by CAD, CAM and PDM technologies. While refers PLM to a software implementation, the focus of PLM is to improve business execution and strategy.
Benefits of PLM include:
- Reduced time to market
- Improved product quality
- Reduced prototyping costs
- Streamlines Supply Chain
- Encourages re-use of original data
- Reduces waste
- Improve product development
- Reduce product cycle times, costs and defects
- Merge product development and product sourcing to shrink the time to go from product concept to product delivery
- Improve coordination between merchants and suppliers
IDC found that the use of retail PLM reduced new product cycle times by as much as 80 percent, decreased product costs by 2-5 percent, and improved product quality by as much as 40 percent by eliminating product defects. Leslie Hand, IDC research director for Retail Insight, said that “Retail PLM/MLM applications deliver on both accounts — facilitating continual innovation, faster cycle times, shorter lead times and higher accountability for quality and compliance while reducing the costs to design, make, ship and sell products.”
Just prior to the economic downturn, analysts were predicting a 30-40 percent annual growth rate of Retail PLM through 2014. While that rapid rate of growth wasn’t realized, sales have been particularly strong across China, India and Asia Pacific where economies are averaging 7 percent annual growth rates. A report by Just Style notes that “Fashion retail in the US and European markets is stagnant while China and India are experiencing significant growth.” But despite a slower growth rate than predicted three years ago, retail PLM is growing quickly, closer now to a 20 percent annual growth rate through 2014.