Bamboo Rose Blog | Retail News

Painful and slow. Old PLM is like running a marathon barefoot

“The world is full of people who have dreams of playing at Carnegie Hall, of running a marathon and of owning their own business. The difference between the people who make it across the finish line and everyone else is one simple thing: an action plan.” – John Tesh, pianist and composer


Much like the casual runners coming out of the woodwork and jogging along the Charles River this spring here in Boston, we’re still feeling inspired after the running of the 121st Boston Marathon. Every year, the race captures the spirit of Boston. There’s grit. Focus. Strength. Camaraderie.


It takes more than just determination to finish a marathon. It requires a plan that’s months and even years in the making. From building up to the long distance marathon with weekly runs and high intensity intervals to good food, it’s more strategy and foresight, not just a quick feat of physical endurance. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”


But marathons are getting faster. Nike runners are attempting to break the 2-hour marathon for the first time this spring. An apparel company sponsoring a record-breaking race should be no surprise to anyone in the retail industry: Fashion is getting faster too.


Retailers like H&M, Topshop and Zara have prioritized speed as they bring the latest fashions to consumers at previously unheard of low prices. The success of this model has served as a wake-up call to the rest of the industry – soft home, hard home, DIY hardware stores, grocery – we’re all looking for a way to harness technology to get to this speed. The speed of the consumer.


Planning is key. Retailers need to be set up for speed. We need the systems in place. We need to know how we are going to react to new trends and how we are going to get them to market quickly to keep up with consumer demand.


So how? Real-time collaboration. Quick response (WR). There’s an acronym for it, for goodness sake.  Designers, merchandisers, buyers and manufacturers need to be on the same page, making decisions and taking action, and leaving no room for delays.


Trying to achieve this level of real-time collaboration by trading Excel spreadsheets back and forth is like running the Boston Marathon barefoot. Sure, it can be done; ancient people did it that way for years.


But today’s level of competition and today’s software platforms, there’s no need.



How can you see what your buyers are thinking? Discover how to achieve better buyer collaboration.