Mark Harrop has been interviewed by Celia Newhouse, Marketing Director Consumer Goods & Retail at Dassault Systèmes
Mark HARROP, Founder and Managing Director of WhichPLM
In the past few months WhichPLM released 2 reports that are absolutely must reads if you are in the business of fashion and technology. The first one is the Annual Review 2014 published in November and if you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, here it is (click here). The second one is the first Supplier Evaluation of 3DEXPERIENCE Company Dassault Systèmes. What is special about this evaluation is that it doesn’t just look at the technical aspect of the vendor’s technology but studies and assesses areas like R&D roadmap, executive vision and customer satisfaction (yes, they actually called 3DS customers to ask how happy they were!).
I recently talked to Mark Harrop on the phone and asked him 3 questions that I thought I would share with you:
CN: In the 1990’s and years 2000, many fashion brands invested in PLM and PDM technologies. Where are these companies standing today and where should they invest tomorrow?
MH:Although some PLM vendors do work extremely hard to build a smooth and robust upgrade path today, the way that PDM/PLM solutions were deployed in the 1990’s and earlier part of the millennium – notably the “toolbox” method – led to a situation where most PLM solutions were tailored to each customer’s needs so extensively that they might as well have been entirely bespoke. Because of this, expectations from the consumer space (the move from Windows 7 to 8, or OSX 10.8 to 10.9) cannot be applied to legacy PDM/PLM implementations, since the numbered version paradigm has in some cases been abandoned.
New PLM customers drawn by the touted reductions in implementation time, the comparatively low cost of ownership, and the potentially rapid “ROI” return on investment – for these customers and others across the market – PLM “OOTB” proven best-practice methodologies has now become essential to the smooth running of any business that depends upon product innovation to meet changing consumer needs.
CN: Do you think that going digital and investing more in technology is essential for apparel companies if they want to remain competitive and why?
MH: Today, I believe that PLM has crossed the chasm, and is beginning to ascend the slope to where we might see peak adoption rates on a global
basis. In previous years we have occasionally referred to PLM as being functionally incomplete, or at least lacking in some of what we consider to
be the essential processes and capabilities. In 2014 customers of PLM can now shop for PLM with confidence, safe in the knowledge that a set of core competencies could be assumed. PLM today is in the most part considered to be a complete solution, capable of delivering against its ROI promises, and already in the hands of both early adopters and the more forward-thinking members of the broader community. And I expect that things will continue to progress even faster with the growth and integration of E-PLM (Extended-PLM) solutions and the use of PLM as an enterprise backbone for extended integration and data consolidation that has created a situation whereby PLM is rightly considered a true enterprise solution, like ERP – something that is evidenced by the significant market growth seen in recent years.
CN: There is a new generation of users out there that is more technology savvy than the previous one. Isn’t this a real opportunity for apparel companies to leverage this new generation?
MH: The new generation entering the retail, brands and manufacturing market place has little or no reservations of using “smart” technologies the likes of PLM-E-PLM, in fact if anything they expect to see and use smart technologies in their daily lives. Very pleased to say gone are the days were we had to hold people’s hands whilst operating a mouse for the first time! I’m so certain of this transition that I would even say that people will move from business to business to work on smarter technologies than stay working as “fire fighters” in companies that can’t keep pace with the challenges of operating in an ever faster retail world.
Celia NEWHOUSE, Marketing Director, Consumer Goods & Retail Dassault Systèmes
Discover My Collection for Fashion, powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides brands and retailers with a new approach to collaborative innovation and helps them design the products consumers love, while improving global efficiencies and speed to market by up to 50%. My Unified Development and Sourcing,the integrated fashion PLM part of this solution, helps fashion brands and retailers developing their collections on time, at the right price and with the desired quality.