At a Glance:
The long-term health and success of fashion brands depend on the potential to earn revenue and consistently deliver valuable products to market. The concept of fast fashion has increased competition and forced many fashion organizations to condense design and product development processes to reach customers sooner. But fast fashion isn’t the only speed-driving factor — fashion conglomerates and major retailers train the market to expect mass-produced seasons and offer discount deals to draw traffic to empty shelves before making space for the next round.
The pendulum shifts to favor faster development and a near-immediate time to market. While fast fashion garments are often cheap, trendy, and disposable, many sustainable fashion brands are fighting this trend. Smaller organizations can remain competitive and satisfy the market demand, but they don’t need to participate in an expendable production model to benefit from fashion PLM software. Backbone PLM provides a platform to create products smarter, faster, and at scale to safeguard revenue, cut down on waste, and increase speed to market — the right way.
Whether you’re running a fashion startup or a team of seasoned industry professionals, Backbone’s fashion PLM software is a single source of truth for all product-related needs, including design, development, sample management, sourcing, costing, reporting, and much more. From concept to creation, Backbone’s dynamic, cloud-based fashion PLM helps streamline design and development needs to increase speed to market — and we can help your brand be more sustainable, too.
Related Article: 4 Ways Your Fashion Brand Can Become More Sustainable
Increase Speed to Market with Fashion PLM Software
In the fashion industry, the production cycle typically consists of three key phases:
- Design and development
- Manufacturing and delivery
The design and development stage is usually hectic for smaller fashion brands but has the greatest potential for time savings. This period has the most capacity to improve workflows and compress your fashion production schedule. That is where Backbone comes along. Continue reading our list of 6 ways design teams can increase speed to market with the help of fashion PLM software.
1. Reuse Design Templates
You’re surely familiar with the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, this certainly applies to fast-tracking product development. Reuse the same design templates that have worked well for previous collections. Fashion brands will often revamp well-performing styles into a midseason production run or create the same style with a different SKU. This process helps limit production costs and makes deadlines easier to manage.
What’s more, Backbone’s fashion PLM provides an organized, visual display to copy and share design elements. You can build flexible tech pack templates to reuse for various collections or send tech pack templates directly from Backbone to factories, your team, or anyone else in minutes. Additionally, every change made to a product is automatically reflected in the Bill of Materials (BOM), and each BOM template provides a starting point for new products to be adjusted for individual components.
2. Make Product Data Easily Accessible
If product data is inaccessible or impossible to share, it will slow teams down during crucial development phases. Without a centralized platform to store vital product detail, it will eventually become lost in a scattered mess of spreadsheets and email threads. If you’re lucky, you’ll only waste a few hours each day tracking product specs, but as this daily burden continues to take away from valuable working hours, you will potentially extend your time to market and face a significant financial setback.
When product specs constantly bounce back and forth between departments, the data becomes static, and it is much harder for design and development teams to maintain quality assurance. With a unified vision, teams are left to guess if data is accurate, and they risk sending faulty designs to suppliers. It is possible someone will record past data or track the same work twice, leading to errors and possibly duplicate product orders.
Everyone on your team needs real-time access to current product data to maintain order and clarity during product development. Fashion PLM software does this effortlessly. Backbone’s Item Views feature allows teams to create flexible views and filter real-time data associated with your products, including lead times, sample tracking, and factory allocation. Visual Line Sheet Reports compile product data for greater visibility as you collaborate with internal and external partners, allowing you to summarize and review products by season, collection, type, and more.
Best of all, Component Utilization Reports leverage data across your Backbone libraries to create dynamic outlines that help you analyze impacts on your bottom line from component changes to raw materials to price negotiations with vendors. Data is made visible to the entire organization, and team members are automatically notified when changes occur.
3. Emphasize Team Collaboration
The design and development process is not complete without input from your whole team, including suppliers. To make fast-acting decisions and avoid costly mistakes, teams must collaborate across the entire organization from designers to merchandisers. Speed is important, but accuracy is vital. One simple mistake can slow production and drastically extend your time to market. For designers working in Backbone’s cloud-based fashion PLM software, they can manage fit sheets, costing, colorways, MOQs, and more, all from one system.
Teams can also utilize Backbone’s shareable folders to design and share tech packs with factories in minutes, reducing sampling with fewer errors and improving quality control. Backbone’s centralized system of record helps you manage information across teams and move at digital speed to standardize size specifications and fit across core and carryover styles. Eliminate duplicative work with reusable, dynamically editable graded rules and measurements, so vendors can access the exact specifications they need.
And when you need to drive engagement across teams, enable callouts on images that dynamically populate your Bill of Materials (BOM), record Points of Measure (POMs), and collect feedback and revisions in one place.
4. Phase Out Emails and Spreadsheets
If your fashion brand works predominantly in email and spreadsheets, that means you probably spend a lot of time on manual data entry. When fashion designers, technical designers, and product developers spend most of their day inputting data points one by one, it takes away from time spent enhancing products and streamlining workflows. With Backbone PLMs centralized product records, teams can reduce manual data entry by up to 40% and make product details available to everyone in your organization.
Team members can communicate directly through the system and inform manufacturers of the latest changes. But the best part is design teams can access and update product files without worrying about whether they have the current version. Changes sync seamlessly, taking the pain out of product revisions for your whole team.
5. Implement Manufacturing On Demand (MOD)
Manufacturing on demand, also known as on-demand manufacturing, brings a substantial change to the process by which designers and developers communicate with suppliers. MOD is a production model where products are only made when required. After a customer places an order, then you would begin producing that item. In the fashion industry specifically, it is referred to as made-to-order.
Fashion startups and smaller apparel brands are often the groups following this model. In this method, brands will not send any MOQs until there is a direct order from the customer. That often results in longer wait times for the consumer, but it protects fashion brands from overproduction and wasting excess materials.
MOD is becoming a more prevalent business model for fashion and apparel brands as designers seek to retool their creative path toward principles and profit. Along with accurate tech pack creation, brands that store their product data in a central location are set up for success when implementing MOD.
6. Create Products on the Cloud
At a time when fashion companies operate as remote teams dispersed around the world, a cloud-based fashion PLM is a must-have. If your brand operates using software that requires on-premise installation, we can guarantee you’ll be limited by its short leash as your team’s business ventures expand.
Working without cloud-based PLM often leads to lengthy backlogs. Design changes and product reviews will pile up on someone’s desk, errors will increase, and approvals will be delayed — once again slowing production time. Backbone PLM is a powerful resource for design teams hoping to improve collaboration and simplify the revision process when working on prototype samples. Acting as a central source of truth for product-related data, Backbone PLM is available to anyone on your team, wherever they are working in-house or remotely. Improved collaboration and visibility over dynamic data produces fewer mistakes, enhances product development, and ultimately results in a faster time to market.
Related Article: Fashion PLM Software vs ERP Software
Benefits of Fashion PLM Software
Fashion PLM software supports a wide range of digital environments for apparel brands to transform designs, increase productivity, and reduce lead times. Backbone PLM helps you manage the complete product development lifecycle based on the information listed in the chart below:
Drive engagement across teams by enabling callouts on images that dynamically populate your BOMs and collect revisions all in one place.
Manage product revisions and seamlessly exchange design files between Backbone and
Adobe Illustrator through a two-way plugin.
Admins can create, edit, and manage custom fields specific to your brand’s unique needs and goals. Our intuitive admin panel makes it easy to configure brands, taxonomy, fields, and users.
Time and Cost
Create visual product reports that compile key data for greater collaboration with key stakeholders. Summarize and review products by season, collection, type, and more.
Create flexible views to meet your team’s needs and empower them to make informed decisions for profitability, including lead times, sample tracking, and factory allocation.
Related Article: How to Choose Your First Fashion PLM System
Backbone Does it Best
All in all, increasing your speed to market is based on:
Easily accessible product data
Collaboration across supply chains
Real-time updates and communication (free of spreadsheets)
Efficient approval process
Fashion PLM software helps brands function and succeed in a very competitive digital climate by improving product quality and overall visibility across the various stages of the product development lifecycle. Backbone takes a dynamic approach to fashion PLM compared to traditional legacy systems, providing a central source of truth needed to create tech packs, line sheets, BOMs, and much more within minutes.
If you’re ready to increase your speed to market and utilize a better fashion PLM software, discover our collection of case studies, blogs, and free resources to learn more.
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