Once product developers need to develop more than 10 styles per season, they tend to drown in spreadsheets and look for fashion PLM software to help them organize their collections, keep track of fabrics and components, and share sample feedback with their suppliers.
At Rechain, after helping our clients manufacture millions of units across 10 countries for our clients, we noticed one thing: brands using PLM software were able to share a much more detailed tech pack, making communication with their manufacturer easier and allowing us to run more thorough quality inspections.
To help you pick the best fashion PLM for your current organization, we’ve tested dozens of them and shared their pros and cons below. Before we jump in, here are 5 things to consider when picking a PLM software:
- Implementation timeline: some software requires weeks of implementation and custom developments to adapt to your workflow. Make sure to inquire about this when meeting with a vendor.
- Ease of use: PLMs have been around for more than 20 years, and some definitely kept a 90s vibe when it comes to the user experience. To avoid a difficult adoption within your company, check how user-friendly their interface is.
- Cost: some fashion PLM vendors ask for implementation fees, and only offer annual subscriptions. Adopting new software within a team can be challenging, so having to commit early on to long-term usage can be costly.
- Partner access: besides being used in-house, PLM software will be used by your suppliers to share tech packs and sample reviews. Make sure the PLM you evaluate offers a partner access feature, to invite your suppliers to check a restricted set of styles.
- Integrations: Having the right integration with other, dedicated software is extremely important because it can speed up the process while helping you save resources. Illustrator and other tools can prove to be of immense help, especially when it comes to creating new designs and sharing them with manufacturers. The best fashion PLM tools always have great integrations with the most popular tools on the market.
- Online access: the best PLM for fashion is usually accessible via the cloud. That makes it easy to access these solutions from pretty much anywhere in the world and work the way you want. In doing so, you have access to great remote work solutions and it also helps eliminate any downsides that can arise. Plus, you also lower your costs since there’s no need to have a server for this program on-site.
- Reviews: it always pays off to check and see what others are thinking about the fashion PLM software you want to use. Reviews can bring great insight into the capabilities of that tool and the features that you can obtain from it. The return on investment is much better if you know what you are getting into and what possible downsides you might encounter from each fashion PLM tool you want to use.
- Documentation: We recommend checking the documentation for each fashion PLM as well. You want the entire process to be seamless and simple, so having great documentation and support can indeed make a huge difference.
Without further ado, here is our ranking!
Rechain: fast, easy to use, and complete PLM
We might be slightly biased on this one, but we’ve developed Rechain’s PLM in collaboration with a wide range of brands and the result is a best-in-class PLM software dedicated to fashion and integrated with your production monitoring.
Here are a few key features of Rechain PLM:
- Reusable libraries and components: when creating a trim or fabric component, you can easily reuse it in any style. It replaces the hundreds of Excel files stored on Google Drive and allows you to track consumption across your collections.
- Sample reviews: easily annotate photos of your samples with your feedback, and link your comments to components or dimensions for reference. Sample feedback can be shared in one click with your manufacturers, without having to create an account for them.
- Production integration: every style created and managed through Rechain PLM can then directly be used to track its production within Rechain Production.
In addition to being a feature-complete PLM, Rechain is fast and extremely simple to use. In just a few minutes, your team will be productive.
Centric: a fashion PLM for large enterprises
With LVMH, Superdry, and Guess as clients, Centric is a strong option if your company has more than 2,000 team members. Their PLM has integration with many professional software, allowing you to quickly connect it to your existing tools.
Centric PLM’s main features are:
- RFQ management: Issue RFQs en masse and easily compare price quotes
- Planning: Easily see priorities and manage accordingly
- Traceability: Track products throughout the complete lifecycle to manage traceability
- Bonus: 3D design solution for the design of your products
Like most fashion PLM software, Centric also offers an Adobe Illustrator extension to easily retrieve sketches and designs.
WFX: a broader solution for your product development
WFX is a suite of software helping brands from the first stages of the design until the end of product development. Created in 2001, the company has a long history, guaranteeing robust support. However, user interfaces can feel a bit outdated and detached from what we’re used to seeing on more recent PLM software.
In addition to standard fashion PLM features, their platform offers:
- Costing: easily evaluate the cost of a given product, and have an overview by component
- Digital Assets Library: store in one single place prints and other digital assets to easily collaborate with your team
- Time & Action Calendar: track each step of the product development process as you would with an Excel spreadsheet, but with centralized updates.
WFX is a good option for small and medium brands.
Founded by a team of industry veterans, Be Product is focused on building robust standard features of a fashion PLM instead of trying to expand to fancier 3D options like Centric.
Be Product’s main features include:
- Inspirations database: designers can store on Be Product their inspirations, either from the web platform or from the dedicated mobile app.
- Advanced search: search through styles, colors, designs, and fabrics easily with their search feature.
- Illustrator integration: their Adobe Illustrator extension automatically tags new sketches based on the text mentioned on the artboard
- Email capture: every email interaction with suppliers appears on Be Product
With help from the Be Product Fashion PLM, you will finally be able to access a comprehensive digital fashion platform that makes creating fashion products simpler and more convenient. Within this PLM software fashion tool, you will have access to bill of materials, tech packs, color management, and task management, but also integration with all the other tools you need. In the end, it’s a very comprehensive and professional tool that will help expand your fashion business to new heights.
Backbone is the best PLM for fashion and a detailed digital workspace. What it does is it helps you create products, but also scale and collaborate with other designers. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s made by designers with a lot of experience in the industry. That means you get the support, help, and assistance you need, while also being able to focus on value and growth in the long run.
- It can help boost your creativity and efficiency with centralized product libraries and dynamic data
- You get access to a point-of-measure library, fast tech pack creation, and a bill of materials
- Decisions are backed by data, which makes it easy to cut down on waste and safeguard your revenue. You also get to see line sheets, item master views, and utilization reports.
- The fashion PLM software can be used for multiple industries like home goods, accessories, athleisure, apparel, or even design agencies
- Everything is cloud-based and designed to help your business grow and scale in the long term.
One of the core advantages of the Backbone fashion PLM software is that it helps provide exceptional attention to detail and incredible value for money. The quality you receive is second to none, and it can be a great solution for both design agencies and fashion brands too. Being able to annotate images, manage palettes and swatches, but also integrate numerous fashion features is what helps it set itself aside from all the other solutions. It’s a tremendous opportunity and one of the top services that you do not want to miss.
Developing new products and integrating a bill of materials can make the process much easier. Plus, you also have direct access to the point of measure and blocks library. All of a sudden, the PLM software fashion solution is very helpful and it can make it much easier to produce the designs you want and manage them with ease. It’s an exceptional, very professional solution that you can start using right away.
Gerber Yunique is designed as a fashion PLM software and it works great for retail and apparel. Like the other fashion PLM solutions here, it’s cloud-based, and it helps make it easy to create and manage designs in a single location. The software is very efficient and designed from the ground up for smaller and slightly larger fashion businesses. It delivers the platform development solutions you need, while also integrating state-of-the-art technologies to speed up your processes and become more productive.
- You receive direct access to some of the best templates in the industry, and these can be fully customized and adapted to fit your needs. All of that is doable from within the fashion PLM fast and easy.
- You can easily update designs or improve upon successful ones
- Gerber Yunique is a fashion PLM that integrates with major design tools, while also delivering accurate data in real-time
- You can track and manage the process from prototype to finish
- It has complete Illustrator integration
Gerber Yunique does a very good job at making sure that you create and manage all your designs with ease. It’s the best PLM for fashion, especially if you have a smaller business. On top of that, the interface is very easy to use, and since it’s cloud-based, you can access all designs, colors, and other features very quickly.
Switching from a manual to an online process can be very difficult, but that’s where the Gerber Yunique fashion PLM shines. It integrates some of the best and latest solutions, while also managing samples and making it easy to make the right design decisions. If you’re looking for an efficient, dependable, and professional fashion PLM, then the Gerber Yunique software is certainly one that you want to take into consideration.
Techpacker is designed from the ground up to be an easy-to-use and very affordable fashion PLM. What makes it different is that both designers and manufacturers are able to use it. You will find it easy to manage all the development stages while narrowing down on any potential problems.
Techpacker stands out because it has tech packs, presets for measurement, costing sheets, or bills of material. That means with just a single button you can easily have the sketches and design info in a PDF format. You can share that with the manufacturer and you’re good to go.
- Great tech pack system that speeds up the design and sharing process
- It’s possible to add callouts to sketches, but also create reusable components
- Excel to Techpacker transfer is very seamless
- Real-time communication features
- It’s possible to create your own tech packs for grading or fitting sheets, measurements, and other tools
Techpacker will help you ensure that you have direct integration with the right design tools. Not only that, but you will find it much easier to connect with the manufacturer at any given time and share your designs in PDF format. It’s great for small and even larger fashion businesses.
Many consider it to be the best PLM for fashion because it’s efficient, easy to use, but also fully customizable based on your needs. We encourage you to give it a try especially if you’re looking for a comprehensive, yet inexpensive fashion PLM software.
BlueCherry is an enterprise software and a very powerful fashion PLM. What makes it different is that it can be great for retail, footwear, general fashion brands but also manufacturers.
The impressive benefit here is that you will be able to reduce the time to market and boost your social growth while also maintaining regulatory compliance at the highest possible levels.
- BlueCherry features integrated omnichannel solutions that help maintain regulatory compliance, while also making resource planning a lot faster and easier.
- Detailed product lifecycle components designed to identify and optimize the time to market and boost profits
- Enterprise resource planning is a part of BlueCherry and that helps handle your resources and share them evenly for the best possible experience and quality.
- A unique concept of a consumer control system that gives fashion companies complete control over the process, from planning to logistics and sales.
BlueCherry is created by CGS which has over 30 years of industry experience. That helps provide exceptional value and quality for customers, while also making sure that you access state-of-the-art services to fit your requirements. The company uses its expertise to deliver one of the top fashion PLM software systems that you can find on the market at this time.
Finding the right fashion PLM software for your business can be very challenging and time-consuming. But it’s very important to study the pros and cons as well as all the features offered by every software until you find the right one that fits your needs. One thing is certain, great PLM software fashion solutions are dependable, easy to use, and also accessible from the cloud. That makes it easier than ever to improve your workflow, and better connect with manufacturers, while also speeding up the time to market. Used properly, fashion PLM solutions will allow you to boost profits, not to mention save time and resources you can better allocate for improved results.