How PLM Drives Innovation in the Curriculum and Pedagogy of Fashion Business Education: A Case Study of a UK Undergraduate Programme

  • Jo ConlonEmail author
Part of the Decision Engineering book series (DECENGIN)


PLM is increasingly understood as a strategic platform to facilitate business transformation through its dual role: firstly, driving operational excellence and then as a platform for innovation through providing an impetus for continuous engagement with emerging technologies. The three P’s of PLM: process, product data and people, remind us that if the transformational potential of PLM is to be achieved, there is a growing need for professionals with an understanding of PLM as the backbone of the future enterprise facilitating an open-ended view of product lifecycle management. The retail sector, previously a late adopter of PLM, is now undergoing a period of significant investment. In parallel, educators within the associated higher education sector are challenged with maintaining a forward-facing curriculum and providing new learning environments that engage students to suitably prepare them for future professional practice. The argument that is advanced in this case study is that PLM provides a contemporary framework and alternative approach for establishing a collaborative, forward-facing pedagogy for fashion business. Further, the insight and energy of students and graduates at the periphery of practice or their “peripheral wisdom” (Wenger in Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge university press, p. 216, [25]) has much to contribute to a sector in transition. This case-study reports on the first ever educational partnership to embed PLM in an undergraduate fashion programme in a UK University and seeks to encourage other educators to embrace PLM as a vehicle for educational change. This partnership was formed in 2014 with PTC for FlexPLM. The case study illustrates the initial implementation of product lifecycle management in conjunction with a shift from traditional lectures to collaborative learning practices to provide a powerful learning environment that equips future fashion professionals with a key differentiator that can drive the transformation of the industry.



We would like to acknowledge the generosity of Mark Harrop, the WhichPLM team and the WhichPLM academy website.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Art, Design and ArchitectureUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

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