Surefront is a Unified Product Collaboration Platform with PIM, CRM, and PLM solutions. It's a centralized data home where stakeholders can freely share product information and assign access permissions. Most integrations are supported in Surefront, but none are needed. Our articles often focus on one aspect of our unified PIM, PLM, and CRM platform. With Surefront, each solution seamlessly works together to achieve a guaranteed 10x ROI for every customer.
Product lifecycle management isn’t a new priority for retail teams. The term “product lifecycle management,” as we define it today, was coined by The American Motors Corporation back in 1985. However, when it comes to software, the actual features of each platform that offers PLM functionality vary so significantly that the umbrella term alone isn’t enough to describe what functions some PLM tools actually fulfill.
The result of using an overarching term to refer to so many different functionalities? Suppliers and retailers rarely understand what features are available from different PLM tools, or why PLM tools need to seamlessly integrate with Product Information Management (PIM) software to effectively manage data. The variances between different solutions are so substantial that software providers often struggle to define themselves with one term alone. Take Surefront: Our platform's instant quote customization, custom e-commerce listing capabilities, SmartCatalog, and ability to interface with external partners takes our clients way beyond the product lifecycle.
Let’s break down what PLM software is used for, features to keep your eye on, and where most retail decision makers go wrong when hunting for a PLM tool.
What is PLM software used for?
PLM software is used to develop products and track them throughout their lifecycle. PLM tools can encompass everything from the inception of a product idea to the final sale of that product. They should help everyone within an organization access the product data they need to do their jobs effectively and allow teams to collaborate on products. Most retail software depends on integrations to operate effectively and PLM tools are no different. PIM integrations are necessary to effectively manage the high bandwidth level of data that teams need access to throughout the product lifecycle. Without PIM functionality, teams simply can't manage the massive loads of data necessary throughout the production and B2B sales process.
Core features of most PLM solutions
Retail PLM tools allow employees to collaborate and share data throughout product idea inception, manufacturing, and shipping process. Retail PLM solutions can be used for every vertical, from fashion to sporting goods, from home furnishings to luxury accessories. The best PLM tools on the market also support product orders and catalog listings. However, to support the sales and listing process, solutions require built-in integrations with PIM and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools. PLM software is used to manage product data throughout its life cycle. From design and development to production and marketing, PLM tools facilitate communication and collaboration between teams in various locations.
Unified PLM and PIM tools help companies integrate data, workflows and systems across a chain of key stakeholders. This can include everyone from suppliers and manufacturers to distributors and end consumers. Unified product lifecycle management tools are the central hub for all things related to product communication and collaboration.
What not to do when choosing a PLM
Choosing the right PLM solution for your business is not an intuitive process. Retail business owners go wrong when they assume that every software labeled “product lifecycle management” has the same functionality. That’s not at all the case. If your PLM software doesn't also offer PIM and CRM functionality, your team will still hit walls trying to access data throughout the production, sales and listing processes.
PLM software is used for a wide range of functions throughout a product’s lifecycle. Choosing a PLM tool without reviewing that specific retail software’s functionality can have a negative impact on your business. With the wrong PLM solution, you could wind up:
- Paying for features you don’t need.
- Spending months painstakingly onboarding your team, distracting from other projects.
- Frustrating your team with inadequate training on complex software.
- Unable to integrate your new PLM with your current systems.
- Unable to integrate your PLM with future systems.
- Having limited functionality, requiring you to make costly additional investments in PIM and CRM tools.
Onboarding the wrong PLM software can represent a massive expense for your business down the line. With the wrong solution, you could have to pay for additional functionalities, delay your team’s productivity, or have to fight to get out of a restrictive contract. You know what they say “the best defense is a good offense.” Doing your research on the front end will prevent all of the above atrocities from damaging your bottom line.
How to know you’ve found the best PLM solution
The best PLM solutions will help you streamline the process and eliminate tedious data re-entry. But there’s still only one unified PLM, PIM, and CRM platform that lets you collaborate with internal and external teams in one place. Surefront Unified Product Collaboration Platform was built to serve the retail industry. Our PIM tool centralizes all of your product data in one place, giving you the power to choose with whom and when you share that data.
Surefront goes the extra mile with a triad of powerful functionalities. Our product syndication feature allows retailers and suppliers to publish product listings across multiple catalogs with just a few clicks. But that’s not all. Surefront’s sustainability tracking abilities can help retailers ensure that their operations adhere to increasingly rigid sustainability protocols –– making testing, certification, and reporting a gosh darn breeze.
You don't want your data to be siloed. Your company’s CRM, PIM and PLM solutions shouldn’t operate in a vacuum, either. Surefront is a Unified Product Collaboration Platform to power growth and ROI. Our patented PIM, CRM, and PLM solutions streamline the omni channel sales, merchandising and product development processes. By combining these essential functionalities, Surefront creates a single source of truth throughout your product lifecycle, sales and listing processes.
The results? Up to 150% more revenue per employee and a 40% shorter product development cycle is just the beginning. Try our 10x ROI calculator to see your company’s potential profits. Or, skip the noise and book a custom demo with one of our unified product collaboration management experts today. The retail industry evolves quickly and has a lot of moving parts. We do all of the research, so you don’t have to. Stay ahead of market fluctuations, trends and new features by subscribing to our Unified Product Collaboration Management Blog.
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