In the fashion industry, new product development is a dynamic process that is highly dependent on seasonal demand. Traditionally, the full development cycle of a new product occurs at least twice a year on short schedules. In the past decade the revolution of “fast-fashion” has caused retailers to develop products at a frenetic pace. This movement is changing the face of the global apparel industry and placing more pressure on retailers, forcing them to deliver ten fashion collections a year, versus the traditional four.

Decreasing customer attention spans along with increasingly varied purchase options fuels shortening delivery schedules. Whether it’s digitally purchased through social media, or by mobile methods, customer expectations are shifting. To remain competitive, fashion and retail developers must either rise to the challenge or fail as a business. That path to success ultimately points to an integrated product lifecycle management (PLM) solution.

Developing at a Frenetic Pace

In a recent survey conducted by Aberdeen Group, inefficient collaboration was the overriding theme for fashion and retail companies at 57%, with siloed departments second at 36%. They were 54% more likely to list poor collaboration as a challenge over companies not in the fashion industry.

By its very nature, the fashion industry moves quickly, requiring flexibility across the entire organization. A disjointed company, weak in collaboration and working in siloed departments, will be slow to react to changing market sentiment.


Notably, data quality was listed as a challenge for retailers, demonstrating that insight and visibility into product development data and activities is a strong differentiator. Data-driven decision making keeps retailers smart and connected to the process, affording them the flexibility to stay with market fickleness.

To win in fashion and retail, time-to-market, cost targets, and leveraging a global supply chain properly are crucial. A PLM solution makes this possible by connecting processes and breaking down these pressures into a palatable form that simplifies the complexity of the process of concept-to-consumer.

For a deeper dive, check out Closed-Loop Product Lifecycle Management: Deliver Inspired Products in Fashion and Retail.

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