Manufacturers often serve many brands at the same time – brands that have developed different standards of working, which makes it a demanding task for manufacturers to maintain a strong overview of all activities, specifications, comments, product changes and deadlines.
Supplier relationships are important. Like any relationship, a well-working collaboration will result in stronger relations and ultimately lead to reduced risks of errors and delays, shorter lead times, transparency and improved terms for brands.
Here is a list of some substantial supplier PLM software benefits:
- Improved transparency and tech pack accuracy
- Accurate production costs
- Improved collaboration process
- Improved traceability
- Reduced risk of errors and delays
Now, let’s have a look at how PLM improves supplier relationships and why manufacturers prefer working with brands that use PLM software.
Improved transparency and tech pack accuracy
Brands that don’t have all product data in one centralized system (like a PLM system) where accurate tech packs and BOMs can always be extracted by manufacturers will automatically demand more work from suppliers. Therefore, it can be difficult to maintain an overview when collaborating with brands that use various systems and methods in the development process.
In a setup where brands work in multiple systems such as Excel, Dropbox, email, Wechat, Messenger, etc. suppliers are required to spend time searching for the latest information between the different solutions.
The problem with these formats is that each employee is personally responsible for updating and sharing the latest tech packs, BOMs, changes and comments. Therefore, it is a common issue that the involved parties are not working with the latest comments and changes, as the process is not transparent. This makes it difficult to keep an overview of processes, adding extra work and increasing risks of errors and misunderstandings, as suppliers risk missing out on important information that can cause wrong production and costly claims.
In contrast, working with PLM software will enable manufacturers to minimize risks and increase efficiency by working in one system where tech packs, BOMs, sampling, agreements, price calculations, etc. are up to date and accessible for everyone at all times.
By always working with a single source of truth, suppliers and brands will be able to reduce the number of misunderstandings and errors in the process and ultimately build better relationships through efficient and traceable processes.
Accurate calculation of production costs
As a result of working with inaccurate tech packs, it can be difficult for manufacturers to make accurate price calculations and minimum order quantities, as these will not be exact without accurate tech packs.
Inaccurate price calculations can result in additional final production costs, which can lead to frustrations for both suppliers and brands. Ultimately, this risks damaging the relationship between the two.
Working in PLM will enable suppliers to calculate accurate production costs based on always updated and accurate tech packs. Therefore, maintaining tech pack accuracy with PLM software is a simple and convenient way of keeping suppliers happy and making sure to get the right price calculations and avoid unexpected costs when the final product arrives.
A standardized collaboration process
As a manufacturer working with numerous different brands it can be difficult to keep an overview of all the different processes. This means that brands that don’t have standardized collaborations processes may create extra work and risks for suppliers.
With a collaborative PLM solution in place, suppliers and brands can improve the process of standardization by implementing validated and reliable practices.
PLM enables suppliers and brands to share data on tech packs, BOMs, agreements, sampling, etc., in a standardized setting, which means that the process becomes automatically more efficient.
Tracking of changes improves traceability
When working in many systems, it is difficult to track product changes since information is stored in multiple platforms, as Excel, Dropbox, email, WeChat, messenger, etc. do not have dedicated features for logging product changes.
With PLM, suppliers and brands can track all changes in one system throughout the entire development process.
“For us, the advantage of working in PLM is that we have all information gathered in one place. It makes it so easy for us to track changes.”
Gitte Linnebjerg, Sales Coordinator at HRT Textiles
Reduced risk of errors and delays
When working in Excel, Dropbox, email, Wechat, Messenger, etc., it is difficult to maintain timely version control, to make sure all parties are always working with the latest tech packs. As a result, brands are required to manually update and resend new versions of e.g. tech packs to the manufacturers – a process that entails a high risk of working with outdated information potentially creating misunderstandings, errors and delays.
Furthermore, it is difficult for new employees and rotating staff members to take over tasks in a setup where data is spread out in various systems, essentially damaging the suppliers’ ability to deliver the best customer service.
With PLM, suppliers can access real-time tech packs gathered in a single source of truth, making the development process more feasible for employee rotation and enabling the suppliers to maintain a premium service quality throughout the process. All data exports are date-stamped, so employees who work with physical copies can also be sure to work with the latest versions.
This way, brands and manufacturers are aligned and able to create the setting for rapidly reducing the risk of errors and miscommunication.
With PLM software, fashion brands can accommodate the manufacturers’ desire to work in one system. This reduces the number of errors and delays and makes tech packs rapidly more accurate. PLM software enables brands and suppliers to always work with updated tech packs, as every single change will be automatically updated in the system. This allows the parties to work with real-time information and erase inaccuracy in both tech packs and price calculations.
To that end, PLM software can minimize substantial risks of misunderstandings, errors and delays in the development process, leaving manufacturers with a streamlined process that will contribute to the establishment of better supplier relationships. Therefore, manufacturers tend to favour brands that can deliver accurate data from a single source of truth.