The Future of Fashion: Production Platforms

Now more than ever, brands need a new breed of production management software to stay on top of their e-commerce operations. Let's move away from siloed tools and fragmented processes with Production Platforms.

With production cycles shortening and direct-to-consumer becoming the go to channel for commerce, brands need to stay on top of their production now more than ever. But with legacy software, siloed tools and fragmented processes the fashion industry is in need of a new breed of production management software: enter Production Platforms. 

For high growth brands and manufacturers that want to work more effectively together, a production platform has become the latest and most important software solution to manage product development. Designed specifically for product based companies,, a production platform will align product design and development, streamline sourcing and order management, and enhance your collaboration across your supply chain. Here’s what you need to know.

The Calico Production Platform | Source: Calico

What is a Production Platform?

A production platform is finely-tuned software that improves communication, design management, order information, and sourcing, and it does so all from a single, accessible place. Too often, fashion brands and manufacturers are stuck  using legacy systems or generic software  that don’t truly cater to the demands of production management. PLM software, ERP suites, or OMS software are all common to see, but they lack the integration required to speed up production time and get your product to market faster. 

Who’s it for?

Every team member that works with or oversees product management  at any stage will benefit from the use of a production platform. This can include your designers, production managers, product developers, the specialists working on garment technology and fabrics, your buyers and merchandisers, and even your supply chains, operations managers, and marketers can use a production platform to get products to market faster. If you're in the fashion industry at any level and in any role, then there’s a good chance that you’re either already using or are looking at the adoption of a PLM system, an OMS, or an ERP. These legacy systems can be effective, but they lack the integration of an intuitive production management platform which usually means slower development times and expensive production errors.

Why your brand needs it

Speed, accuracy, and communication are the cornerstones of more efficient production management. For fashion brands today, the majority of production will be handled via emails, shared spreadsheets, and increasingly fragmented legacy systems. Not only will those systems be slow, cumbersome, and often costly, they are also renowned for their lack of integration with one another. The result is miscommunication, which leads to expensive production mistakes. The solution is greater integration across development stages  and higher levels of transparency throughout the production management process. As the fashion industry only grows faster, more fragmented through team distribution, and increasingly reliant on sustainability and transparency, the move to an end to end production platform is quickly becoming a fashion industry must-have. Having a digital core at the heart of your production management is critical for running your business in today’s fast paced environment. 

Transparency throughout your production process is vital | Source: Calico

Game changing benefits

While traditional PLM software for fashion brands can be  beneficial, it loses out on those benefits when they cannot integrate with your other systems. Having to jump between siloed software, emails, spreadsheets, WhatsApp and more makes production tedious and error prone. Using a production platform streamlines the workplace and allows your team to focus on what matters - getting to market faster and growing the business. There are some clear benefits to using a production platform, including:

  • Faster Development Time: With all your key product details in one place, your team will spend a lot less time scavenging through email threads and chasing suppliers. That means every member of your team can be working on growth instead of manual repetitive tasks.
  • Money Savings: Mistakes cost money in the fashion industry, and a production platform will ensure that those mistakes are easily avoided. Budget management becomes simpler , and your team members will be able to spot potential errors far more easily. This dramatically reduces the risk of design mistakes that slow down production and increases costs.
  • Improved Supply Chains: Healthy supplier relationships are the cornerstone of a successful brand. Keeping open and transparent communication with your suppliers helps is vital to ensure production doesn’t break down. With a production platform like Calico’s, you also get instant access to the new supply chains that you need, knowing that they’re vetted and experienced in working with world-class clients.
  • A bird’s eye view for all your SKUs: Changes to your tech pack, an update for an existing product line, and even budget changes are all information that your team is  going to need to have access to. A production platform automatically saves your information and makes it easier for your team members to access that information. Not only does this cut down on time waste, but it also increases in-house transparency. That means having more control across your entire product range, with visibility at the heart of it all.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: The fashion industry is one that often struggles with cross-team and cross-industry collaboration. By using a production platform, you will have a single source of truth that will give your business the means to empower your teams so that they can work together faster and more mutually beneficial.

How do I know if I need one? 

The best way to evaluate your need for a production platform is to ask yourself some basic questions about your current business model and your plans for the future. If the answer to any of these questions is a yes, then a production platform is going to be of benefit:

  • Do you spend a lot of time scrolling through hundreds of email threads, chats and spreadsheets, looking for a specific piece of information? 
  • Do you currently have more than five members of your team, or currently manage five or more styles per season?
  • Is your production time mostly spent switching tabs between your email inbox, WhatsApp, Google Drive, Excel sheets, and Slack or Zoom?
  • Do you consistently have samples delivered that are different from what you asked for?
  • Is a lot of your time spent going back through emails so that you can find a specific approval?
  • Have you had to tolerate significant production delays due to a missing link in the development stage?
  • Would you prefer to spend your day working to grow your brand or expand your product lines instead of chasing up suppliers, manufacturers, or team members?

Your next steps

Start working smarter not harder with Calico. Calico is the production platform built for brands and their factories to design, develop and produce seamlessly in one place. Sign up and speak to one of our team to find out how we can get your product from concept to doorstep in record time.