Fashion Designer Sketch Drawing Costume Concept

A day may come when designers — and supply chain participants — no longer need to “make it work.” That’s the impetus behind solution firm PTC Retail’s latest iteration of its PTC FlexPLM solution, which introduced a “Samples Console” that adds real-time visibility to deadlines, deliverables and samples data for retailers, smoothing out the process from product inception to completion.

Its solution saves hundreds of hours across design and development, the company said, as FlexPLM version 11.2 adds “exclusive functionality and updated experience enhancements that were directly informed by retail industry feedback and requirements” — but more on that later.

The new version includes the aforementioned PTC FlexPLM Samples Console, which the company described as a “dedicated module that provides clarity, visibility and comprehensive control to product developers and technical designers who struggle to manage multiple iterations of the product sampling process across many seasons, resulting in managing several hundred samples at any given point in time,” which is a godsend to designers. And, current FlexPLM customers can easily upgrade to the new release at a low cost.

Functioning as a central hub, its Samples Console allows all data regarding a sample to be viewed, filtered and maintained in a single user interface, in addition to specific attributes such as season, colorway, specification and source that can be monitored, updated and edited in a single location, the company said.

“This provides all of the relevant sample context that enables the interpretation of the sample’s status in its relationship to the critical path and achieving milestone deadlines,” they noted.

A key component is that its samples console will also enable closer collaboration with factory partners, allowing supply chain members to track any product’s ready-to-buy status in a single real-time solution without having to implement external tools, the firm said.

In general, it’s an appealing solution — but it may gain even more traction during these critical times, when transparency is priority and supply chain functionality is at risk. “This heightened, global visibility will have an immediate, positive effect on retailers’ and brands’ go-to-market calendars. Sample tracking alone consumes more than 140 hours per year for development and design partners, and the Samples Console can reduce that time dramatically,” the company said.

Quach Hai, vice president, retail product management, PTC Retail, said that “Samples often represent critical-line review milestones during the go-to-market process. When you consider all of the cross-functional teams involved and the amount of time dedicated to spec development, there is no doubt that sample tracking is a crucial business process.”

Hai added, “It consumes a significant amount of time and money, which makes accurate tracking essential. This is why we’re delivering capabilities to make this process easy and efficient.”

The solution differentiates from competitors due to its authentic nature: It was developed in close consultation with more than 20 of the world’s biggest brands and retailers, the company said.

Bill Brewster, senior vice president, general manager of PTC’s Retail Business Unit, said its latest release “captures the essence of FlexPLM, and PTC’s commitment to helping our customers drive digital transformation and speed to market. By getting closer to our users, we continue to improve their day-to-day lives, design new features to respond to their needs, and deliver real, measurable results.”

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