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Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) for Readymade Garment Industry

Product Life-cycle Management (PLM) features business processes and supporting infrastructure to help firms enhance product development. The product life-cycle consists of four stages; introduction and marketing development, growth, maturity, and decline. During the introduction, effort is dedicated to consumer awareness and promotion to get sales leads, and during the growth phase, demand increases, and the size of the market increases. In maturity, sales growth stagnates; nonetheless, the organization earns profit while in decline, the product becomes unpopular, the market is saturated, and the risk of making losses increases. The emergence of multiple apparel companies continues to saturate garments in the market and set precedence for quickly changing fashion trends. To remain competitive, readymade garments companies use PLM to gain a suitably competitive edge over rivals.

Benefits of Using PLM Software in Readymade Garment Industry

Cost Efficiency

PLM helps lower the costs of operation by eliminating labor costs, which usually account for a significant company expenditure percentage. Businesses are established to make profits, and the goal is realized by keeping operational costs low and avoiding losses. The need for efficiency arises against a backdrop of dwindling natural resources, need for sustainability, and consumer activism, altering the nature of business as organizations strive to meet consumer demand. There would administrators tasked with documentation, change control, making presentations, and processing reports; however, implementing PLM reduces administrative staff's need, resulting in reduced expenses. A reduction in costs translates to a suitably competitive edge over rivals through cost leadership.

Better Inventory Management

PLM enhances inventory management through effective demand prediction and planning product launch dates. According to Rai & Girib (2019) accurate forecasts of inventory levels ensure that an organization prevents overstock and stock out as it aligns stock levels with demand and supply. Failing to have enough inventories affects the ability of a venture to meet consumer needs causing dissatisfaction. Unsatisfied consumers translate to low sales, are more likely to switch to alternative brands, are challenging to switch back, and through negative word of mouth can dissuade others from making purchases. PLM improves inventory management, enhancing other areas of the organization; inventory management affects sales, cost of doing business, and purchases. PLM helps calculate the most cost-effective way of warehousing by conducting a cost-benefit assessment of ordering products versus storing them.

Enhances Communication

Implementation of PLM enhances business communication, which is essential in ensuring consumer satisfaction. Communication is the basis for providing feedback and issuing instructions, and through PLM, there is quality improvement in the readymade garment industry. Although there is no single agreed definition of quality, it refers to meeting and exceeding consumers' expectations as it is through consumer satisfaction that there is the achievement of organizational goals. Improvements in communication are not limited to consumer feedback, as PLM improves data exchanges across the supply chain (Rai & Girib, 2019). Effective communication with suppliers reduces defects. In case of occurrence, they can be corrected easily as coordination with vendors and parties in the supply chain provides speedy solutions.

Supports Product Development

PLM supports product development by tracking products upon introduction into the market by assessing performance, collecting feedback from users and retailers, and determining products' profitability. If a product is not profitable, decisions can be made to rework its design, reduce the price, or retire the entire fashion line, and such decisions would be made based on inventory levels. PLM ensures efficiency in product design by reducing endless conversations and reviews associated with traditional design processes. Cutting down numerous meetings helps team members to work together better and execute product designs quickly and easily.

Product Optimization

PLM integrates product development activities, human resources, business systems, and data resulting in product optimization. Through PLM, there is the ease in material access, less time in searching warehouses, less productivity, and better collaboration between organizations. In the clothing industry, PLM is used to automate repetitive tasks and in so doing eliminate errors, ensure efficiency in human resource allocations, and focus on us of personnel for profit-generating activities. Traditional material and recipe management functions are left in the past as manual approaches, and data modifications lead to inaccuracies and cost wastage. Duplication is a significant challenge in such systems; however, PLM prevents the multiple recording of data as instead of recapturing and reintroducing material specifications, it modifies existing databases (Rai & Girib, 2019). PLM also contributes to product optimization by streamlining supply chain processes as it allows companies to automate processes and the transfer of data between suppliers and producers. Organizations are also able to publish standardized documentation to ensure conformance with supply chain regulations. Standardizing acceptance criteria also enhances the accuracy of data management and transparency as suppliers, vendors and manufactures know what is expected of them.

Reducing Waste

Product Lifecycle Management contributes to waste reduction resulting in cost savings and quality improvement. Debris is a marker of low quality and is evidence that quality was inspected into a product rather than integrated throughout the design process. In the garment industry, it is in the introduction stage where design occurs and determines between seventy per cent and ninety per cent of a product’s lifecycle cost. During the introduction, manufacturers can also eradicate excess waste and continue to develop sustainable outcomes through the use of PLM. Organizations in today’s ever-competitive environment require reputable, compliant, and accurate business processes which are based on ICT infrastructure. IT-based approach of doing business where technology is at the center of operations not only acts as a single point of truth but also ensures alignment across departments resulting in more efficient processes. PLM allows readymade garment companies to reduce the occurrence of waste across organizational operations by eliminating duplication of efforts, unnecessary interventions by people or machine, and non-value activities.

Waste is prevalent in the fashion industry, adding to the cost of production, which is passed to clients and the environment. However, through a close loop system which is an extension of PLM, it is easy to eliminate waste as it entails creating a genuinely full life cycle that encourages the transformation of waste into useful products. While close looped products are transformed into lesser quality products, the design process is focused on the production of goods that circulate within the market for the longest time. The average consumer buys fourfold more clothing than two decades ago; nonetheless, less than one per cent of readymade garments are recycled, only a quarter of all textiles are recycled, and more waste occurs upstream in the production process. PLM based close loop systems ensure a reduction in waste as it emphasizes efficiency in using factors of production.

Accelerating Revenue Growth

PLM accelerates revenue growth. Businesses are set up to make profits and in so doing, ensure returns on investment by reducing operational cost, minimizing losses, and increasing revenue growth. Unlike cost reduction, revenue growth is four times more significant in contributing to profits. Through PLM, organizations can manage cost control and reduce expenditure which supports revenue growth. PLM contributes to the core objective of doing business by also allowing business organizations to foster innovation without affecting agility as product teams can work together to create the best product designs and solution to consumer needs (Stark, 2018). The invention also allows companies to remain abreast with changes in the business environment, preventing obsolesce; thus, it is a crucial reason for the readymade garment industry to implement PLM. Intellectual property rights are increasingly important in the clothing industry, and PLM solutions allow organizations to protect intellectual property driving innovation and revenue margins.


PLM plays an essential role in the readymade garment industry. For example, PLM ensures efficiency in product supply chains by enhancing the flow of communication between suppliers and increasing product designs' speed. It also contributes to cost savings by reducing labor costs and determining the most cost-effective way of stocking by conducting a cost-benefit assessment of ordering products versus storing them. Maintaining adequate inventory levels enhances ventures in the readymade garment industry to meet consumer needs causing dissatisfaction. PLM also helps in eliminating wastes resulting in reductions in the costs of operation and increasing profit margins through close loop systems which emphasizes on efficiency in using factors of production.


Rai, S. S., & Girib, S. (2019). Assessment of supply chain agility in the Indian garment industry. Asian Journal of Empirical Research, 9(10), 265-280.

Stark, J. (2018). The Benefits of PLM, Another Why PLM? In Product Lifecycle Management (Volume 3): The Executive Summary (pp. 31-36). Springer, Cham.


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