From PLM 1.0 to PLM 2.0: The evolving role of product life-cycle management (PLM) in the textile and apparel industries, a literature review of PLM in the retail, footwear, and apparel (RFA) sector (2000 – 2016)

Joanne Conlon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Purpose: Product life-cycle management (PLM) is an enterprise-wide strategy and has gained prominence across the manufacturing sector. The fashion industry is a late adopter of PLM, yet within global retail brands PLM is now becoming a mainstream approach to optimize core processes. This paper identifies and summarises the most relevant publications in the in the Retail, Footwear and Apparel sector (RFA) and analyses the latest academic research to establish a broad basis of understanding of PLM in the sector and identify potential future research directions.
Design/methodology/approach: The author presents a systematic literature review undertaken to investigate the current state and main perspectives of research on PLM in the RFA sector. The paper adopts the three features (managerial, technological and collaborative) of the definition of PLM by Corallo et al. (2013) as the analytic framework for the 26 papers in the sector to illustrate how PLM is currently framed and conceptualised in the RFA sector and discuss the key themes that have emerged within academic studies of PLM in the RFA sector.

Findings: PLM is at an interesting phase as it evolves from classical PLM 1.0 to connected PLM 2.0. Authors agree that businesses in the fashion and textiles sector are late adopters of PLM. The evolution of PLM from its PDM origins as an IT tool to a business strategy is reported through case studies, business models and road-maps with new product development (NPD) the dominant focus. The strategic role of suppliers and their integration is noted as a critical success factor (CSF). Key inhibitors relating to PLM adoption and optimization in the sector are identified as limited holistic and theoretical perspective of PLM coupled with a deficiency in relevant industry skills. Consequently, the transformational potential of PLM 2.0 may not be fully realised without a more coordinated effort of industry and academia impeding the development of the sector.
Research limitations: Limitations of this study are that it is a literature review of academic papers in the RFA sector papers within the timescale 2000-2016.
Practical implications: The results from this paper indicate that there is a lack of research on PLM in the RFA sector and concludes by suggesting promising avenues the future research: knowledge management theories specifically applied to the fashion and textile sector to better understand the ways PLM aids the integration of knowledge with work activities and strategic development of organisational competencies and processes; further case studies based on organisations implementing a PLM strategy who are achieving operational excellence and driving strategic business transformation; the opportunity for academic and industry collaboration on the development of PLM to meet these needs.
Originality/value: To the best of the author’s knowledge, no systematic literature review on this topic has previously been published in academic journals. Given levels of investment in PLM platforms in the sector, both practitioners in companies and the academic community might find the review and agenda for future research useful.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fashion Marketing and Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Apr 2018


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