Fashion and retail
Lawson, for its part, plans to focus on providing PLM to the fashion industry, helping those companies to establish processes that will help them cut the lead time from product concept to production to actual delivery on the retail shelf, officials said. Lawson Fashion PLM will initially be available as a stand-alone product. The company will then determine how Freeborders' software will fit with its core M3 Enterprise Management System for the fashion industry, according to a company press release. There was no word on whether Lawson plans to integrate Freeborders with its larger ERP suite functionality. Odds are, if the company's paying attention, it will.However, once PLM is part of the larger enterprise, there is another challenge to overcome, according to Hojlo. "Just defining what PLM is for non-engineers [is a challenge]," he said. "Marketers, product management [and] the vice president of supply chain have always been involved in new product development and launch processes, but they've not been users of PLM. Just explaining to them that they should suddenly be using PLM and why they should be collaborating closer with engineering-the biggest challenge is organizationally and managing that through the psychological initiative."
"PLM is slowly maturing to become part of an important part of the value chain," said AMR's Hojlo in a March 17 interview with eWEEK. "People are realizing that without solid product innovation processes underlying [a] business overall, then PLM really isn't that effective."