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Why Smaller Design Teams Should Embrace Fashion PLM Software

At a Glance:

The Industry Requires Speed, Fashion PLM Delivers

Cloud-Based Fashion PLM Software is User-Friendly 

Fashion PLM Software Helps Limit Costly Mistakes 

Fashion PLM Encourages Future Growth

Fashion PLM Software is More Affordable Than Traditional PLM Software

Fashion PLM Software Outperforms Legacy PLM

Fashion PLM Software FAQs

For years, fashion PLM software was reserved for industry giants and rarely used by fashion startups or modest organizations. Today, modern fashion PLM has leveled the playing field for a wide range of early-phase apparel brands, and smaller design teams are reaping the benefits of cloud-based SaaS solutions like Backbone PLM.

PLM software has become a must-have tool for emerging brands looking to save money, grow their business, or acquire new customers. Most importantly, fashion PLM helps designers remain nimble while optimizing product development and communicating with suppliers. 

Follow along as we discuss six reasons why your brand and your design teams should embrace fashion PLM software.

1. The Industry Requires Speed, Fashion PLM Delivers 

Fast fashion is a common phrase in the industry. Whether you’re the lead designer or the CEO of a fashion brand, you’re expected to reinvent the wheel with fresh products and increase your speed to market each season. 

However, fast fashion comes at a tremendous environmental cost. The traditional manufacturing model in the fashion industry often requires high minimum order quantities (MOQs), which leads to excess materials and overproduction. Without the proper channels to maintain product specs and purchase orders, it is nearly impossible to organize product data and cut down on waste.

Design teams need faster, smarter PLM software to succeed in today’s digital fashion landscape. They need an accessible, affordable system to make quick decisions, organize artboards or product versions, and collaborate with team members in real-time. They need Backbone PLM. Backbone helps turn designs into products — empowering creativity, improving lead times, and driving revenue. 

A staggering 20% of production time is wasted looking for product information, which is why Backbone’s two-way Adobe Illustrator plugin and system of interconnected libraries place dynamic data at the forefront so designers can focus on design. Backbone PLM makes it possible to design tech packs in minutes, reduce sampling with fewer errors, and improve quality control. Backbone’s centralized system of record helps teams manage product information and move at digital speed to make better decisions on material costs, design changes, and timelines. 

A cloud-based PLM like Backbone provides a clear, holistic view of your brand’s product development cycle with dynamically updated data. Backbone PLM allows for greater visibility into product data because your entire organization and supply chain have access to up-to-date specifications. Real-time updates streamline communication between designers and manufacturers, so revisions and production remain on schedule. 

Related Article: How PLM Tech Pack Creation Saves Time and Money

2. Cloud-Based Fashion PLM Software is User-Friendly 

Adoption rates for new technologies have a lot to do with user experience. Does it feel right? Are designers enjoying it? Is it making their creative path easier? Unless your fashion PLM software is prehistoric, the answer should be a resounding yes! 

Cloud-based PLM for fashion and apparel brands is relatively new compared to on-premise software, which means modern fashion PLM isn’t bogged down by a weakened infrastructure. There is no legacy code slowing down upload speeds or freezing design files — instead, tools like Backbone PLM offer a faster, more innovative solution for design teams to scale for growth and work at digital speed. 

Designers are often resistant to change when you take away a favorite tool or implement one they are unfamiliar with. However, if you introduce a program that provides an uninhibited space for designers to design, they are more likely to embrace the change. For example, spreadsheets and manual design tools are often slow, cumbersome, and incredibly error-prone when uploading product renderings or storing design versions. Backbone PLM visually displays design and product information in one central location, including all image files, fabric materials, custom palettes, and Pantone libraries, which are pre-populated in the Backbone system.

In Backbone, interconnected product and component libraries can be reused, edited, or updated so teams can coordinate and enhance their designs. Designers can drive engagement across internal teams by enabling callouts on images that automatically populate your BOM, record Points of Measure (POMs), and collect feedback and revisions all in one place. With free-flowing designs from start to finish, designers experience far less resistance compared to traditional PLM systems, making it a user-friendly experience for design and technical teams alike. 

Related Article: PLM vs ERP: What’s the Difference?

3. Fashion PLM Software Helps Limit Costly Mistakes

During product design and development, manual mistakes are far too common — especially if your team resorts to the duct tape workflow of slapping together spreadsheets and emails until something sticks. Every time data is entered manually into a spreadsheet, that increases the chance something is entered incorrectly, entered as a duplicate item, or forgotten entirely. The more you work in programs like Illustrator or Excel, the greater risk you add to your product development process. 

Eventually, each mistake will compound until your production costs and time to market drastically increase, but the worst part is the loss in creative time. Productivity takes a massive hit the longer it takes to locate current design files, and every minute spent on low-priority tasks like sending emails is time not spent enhancing designs and generating revenue. For fashion startups working with limited budgets and resources, this lack of efficiency can be detrimental to a business. 

A cloud-based PLM like Backbone drastically reduces the chance of any human error. Backbone’s user interface makes product data easily accessible, automating cross-functional communication and tech pack sharing with vendors. Team members have immediate access to edits, and feedback is consolidated in one central location. Streamlining routine design and development processes helps limit risk and keeps product creation running smoothly. 

Related Article: The True Cost of Running a Fashion Startup

4. Fashion PLM Encourages Future Growth

Even the smallest fashion brands and mightiest design teams have a lot of crucial details to keep track of in every single product, including design sketches, measurements, materials, feedback, approvals, and more. Once your brand begins to grow, teams are left to manage even more collections, SKUs, suppliers, and data — lots of data.  

Keeping track of these details in spreadsheets can quickly stunt the growth of any burgeoning fashion team. When you can no longer manage product information without errors or delays, you know it’s time to invest in a modern fashion PLM software. 

Backbone’s cloud-based PLM solution lays the foundation for sustained growth by providing your design teams with scalability. As your brand grows, Backbone PLM grows alongside it to adhere to any design or development need. On top of that, Backbone’s fashion PLM software allows for:  

  • Real-time collaboration across the entire supply chain
  • Two-way Adobe Illustrator plugin with organized product versions 
  • Interconnected product and component libraries 
  • Dynamically created BOMs
  • Annotations and comments left directly on a product sketch
  • The ability to automate manual tasks

Related Article: Leveraging Fashion PLM Software to Grow Your Fashion Startup

5. Fashion PLM Software is More Affordable Than Traditional PLM Software

Fashion brands used to spend tens of thousands of dollars to purchase the licenses for PLM software. That doesn’t even include integration fees, training, data migration, and so on. Implementation would take months and often require numerous consultants or technical staff members to get the software up and running. 

Thanks to the advent of modern SaaS solutions like Backbone PLM, there is no bulky hardware to buy, program, install, or maintain customers simply pay a monthly fee for a subscription to the system. That greatly reduces program costs and implementation fees to benefit fashion brands of varying sizes and budgets. 

A modern fashion PLM software such as Backbone provides a flexible solution for teams with 1 to 10 users for only $199 per user/per month, whereas your average legacy PLM can cost upward of $1,200 per user/per month. Our affordable solution empowers fashion brands to build products with Backbone, encouraging creative teams to save time and get to market faster. 

For teams with more than 10 users, Backbone PLM also offers an enterprise option with everything included in the regular plan, with the addition of custom pricing and dedicated support. For a complete breakdown of both pricing tiers and product offerings, head to our pricing page to learn what it costs to develop smarter, faster, and at scale. 

6. Fashion PLM Software Outperforms Legacy PLM 

As discussed, smaller fashion brands have an even playing field when it comes to fashion PLM software. That is because fashion PLM is more affordable and easier to implement, while household fashion brands are left with outdated legacy systems. Many of the traditional PLMs were implemented over a decade ago, and they simply lack the functionality to keep up with today’s digital landscape. Adoption is low, they are no longer fast or efficient, and designers seek a way out. Considering so much time and money went toward capitalizing on these programs, large organizations are hesitant to upgrade their systems with anything new. Here is your opportunity. 

As an eager fashion brand with a smaller design team, don’t overwhelm yourself by learning a PLM solution that doesn’t suit your needs. A fashion PLM software like Backbone is easy to learn and comes equipped with everything you need to improve your design and product development. 

Beyond that, Backbone PLM will satisfy your needs with: 

  • A visual display of design elements 
  • Effortless size spec and sample management 
  • Real-time updates and fast tech pack creation 
  • Unlimited custom fields 
  • CSV exporting 
  • Dynamic reporting tools 
  • Free onboarding and training 
  • And much more

Related Article: Traditional PLM Software vs Fashion PLM Software

Fashion PLM Software Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is fashion PLM software?

Fashion PLM software is a design and development solution to take products from concept to creation, containing centralized product data to streamline and organize creative briefs, production schedules, supplier communication, and more. Fashion PLM allows you to capture every element that goes into production, acting as a collaborative environment for designers and product developers to integrate colors, materials, size specs, and samples. Fashion PLM software bridges the gap between suppliers and systems to execute properly and mitigate risks at every stage of the supply chain. 

2. How does fashion PLM software save time? 

When working in a fashion PLM system, designers and developers have greater visibility into the product. The time that would be spent looking up product details in email threads, spreadsheets, or design folders can go toward improving design workflows. The more you use Backbone PLM, the more efficient your team will become. Tech pack creation becomes seamless, sharing designs is automatic, and submitting change requests with vendors can be done in just a few clicks.

3. How can fashion PLM software reduce software costs? 

Implementing fashion PLM software will reduce costs long term because you can expose errors and hidden costs that might have been disguised behind legacy systems. Your brand can fill in the gaps in your product development process and gain access to costs you were not aware of previously. You can effectively communicate with vendors, make data-backed decisions, and limit overhead expenses associated with your product, reducing errors and indirect fees. The longer your brand utilizes a fashion PLM, the more cost-saving benefits you will accrue. 


Embrace Fashion PLM, Embrace Backbone

A dynamic, cloud-based PLM solution will improve every aspect of design and development. Fashion PLM software helps brands function and succeed in a very competitive digital climate by improving quality, speed to market, 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. Product and component libraries are the heart of the Backbone system and the central source of truth needed to create tech packs, line sheets, BOMs, and much more within minutes.

If you’re ready to build your brand with Backbone and utilize a better fashion PLM software, discover our collection of case studies, blogs, and free resources to learn more.

Want to try Backbone for free? Click the button below to schedule a demo today!