The Parker Avery Group had the pleasure of being one of a select few sponsors invited to Gerber Technology’s 15th annual yearly event, titled “ideation”, which took place on October 10-11, 2013 at the Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Attending a conference in beautiful Hilton Head in October is a draw in itself, but as the new PLM Practice Lead at Parker Avery, I was really interested in learning more about the technology and best practices of the Gerber clients who were presenting – companies like J.Jill, Aéropostale, Bassett Furniture, VF Corporation Jeanswear, Under Armour and Life is good.
I always prefer hearing about a PLM implementation from the customer rather then the vendor.  So many insights into the company’s culture, change management tactics and strategic focus are revealed, and these colorful stories and anecdotes bring to life the complexities of PLM projects.  It is also great to see the organization’s spokesperson taking the stage and overcoming the common fear of public speaking, supported by their team members in the audience encouraging them and taking up front row seats.  We’ve all been there. 
I could easily relate, as I would also be presenting along with Robert Kaufman, Parker Avery’s CEO.  Prior to arriving at the conference, we had developed our presentation, but like many, we were still tweaking and practicing in the handful of hours before our session.  There is nothing like public speaking to make each minute of the day a thrill.   
Parker Avery’s session, “Navigating the Path to PLM Excellence – A PLM Maturity Model” was selected to frame what we believe is a key topic for PLM adopters and Gerber clients:  When you can understand the key process areas that identify the stages of your organization’s readiness within each level of PLM maturity, you can make certain decisions about what must happen next.  By assessing the organization’s level of PLM maturity, understanding the key elements required to improve PLM capabilities, and developing a roadmap to take the path towards PLM excellence, new possibilities for the organization emerge.  When these possibilities are understood, steps then can be taken to drive everything from vendor selection to identification of consulting partners, scope and budget alignment and organizational sponsorship and support.
Even with two 75-minute sessions during the two-day conference, I still had time to be an attendee.  I enjoyed participating in a mix of technical sessions about Gerber’s toolbox approach and integration.  These were not only really interesting topics, but also very well presented by technical team leads and demonstrative of Gerber’s investment in developing new capabilities.  I really enjoyed the J.Jill and Aéropostale sessions, and found each one to reveal a different PLM implementation focus in terms of benefits, project complexity and the overall solution footprint enabled by Gerber’s Yunique PLM. These sessions were well attended, and the entire event was well planned and inviting.
Each meal took place outdoors in a beautiful setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  With round tables and open seating, I spent every breakfast, lunch and dinner making new acquaintances and bumping into people I haven’t seen in many years.  I also had the pleasure of spending time with Gerber’s founders, the CEOs of their partners, and many members of the sales team.  Learning about the acquisition of Yunique by Gerber, the genesis of the initial idea, the team members that have contributed to the success of these stories and moments were inspiring.  It is truly exciting to be working closely with our clients, Gerber and our other solution partners in creating and implementing best practices in PLM adoption and implementation.  

An event where sunglasses are required, and you get to Karaoke outside with two dueling pianos playing Lady Gaga covers on the last night – it turned out to be much more fun than work.  For the post-event survey, I shared with the event coordinators: “Comprehensive, educational, informative and inspirational. ideation was that and more.”  And it was.

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Published On: November 14, 2013Categories: Change Management, Events, PLM, Product Lifecycle Management, The Parker Avery Group