Centric Software Boosts PLM Power with Artificial Intelligence

PLM market leader debuts first artificial intelligence-driven PLM module to cut costs and speed time to market

Building on its strategy to develop innovations that drive retail transformation for brands, retailers and manufacturers, PLM leader Centric Software announced the unveiling of its first AI-based PLM module. Centric Software provides the most innovative enterprise solutions to fashion, retail, footwear, outdoor, luxury and consumer goods companies to achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.

“Companies can end up with hundreds of thousands of images in libraries. Often, it’s easier for companies to just order new samples or create new designs than for people to find what they need.”

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ dates back to the 1950’s when computer scientist John McCarthy coined the phrase to describe the potential ‘thinking machines’ of the future. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) tools are systems modeled on the problem-solving abilities of the human brain, breaking complex problems down into different layers of information comprised of many smaller problems. Applications vary considerably ranging from virtual assistants like ‘Alexa’ and ‘Siri’ to Netflix viewing recommendations to Amazon recommending things we might like to buy. However, AI applications for brands, retailers, and manufacturers to drive product design and development are few and far between.

Humberto Roa
Humberto Roa

Centric Software began building AI-based tools a year ago in response to feedback from its customers. The result is Centric AI Image Search, Centric’s first dedicated AI capability for PLM. Humberto Roa, Vice President of Innovation at Centric Software, explains that Centric AI Image Search represents a bid to use AI for better decision-making in design and development.

“Creative teams in fashion and retail collect enormous amounts of physical samples of materials, trims, colors, and styles that serve both as inspiration for the future and as a record of the past,” says Humberto Roa.

Humberto added, “Some companies keep millions of dollars’ worth of physical samples on hand but actually using these physical samples is time-consuming and storing them in an easy-to-access format is very difficult.”

Humberto continued, “You can scan everything, but in order to be searchable, these digital files need to be tagged with keywords and organized in a file structure or library. Companies can end up with hundreds of thousands of images in libraries. Often, it’s easier for companies to just order new samples or create new designs than for people to find what they need.”

The new Centric AI Image Search solves this problem using cutting-edge image recognition tools. With Centric AI Image Search, designers can take a picture of a new fabric or trim inspiration and instantly search PLM image archives to find the closest match. If a similar item has been approved or used before, a designer can find out immediately. If there isn’t an existing match in archives, Centric AI Image Search can help find a supplier that provides a close match.

Centric AI Image Search will eventually replace physical sample libraries in multiple locations around the world, reducing the huge effort needed to keep physical and digital libraries up to date and allowing users to access the information that they already have as a visual dataset to make more effective decisions.

Chris Groves
Chris Groves

“Centric AI Image Search for PLM is at the forefront of a new family of AI and machine learning applications to assist with decisions around the PLM lifecycle. This will undoubtedly be the first of many apps that will focus on decision-making and leverage information from systems such as PLM, ERP, and PIM. Other possible AI applications could promote better and faster decision-making to reduce time to market, improve quality, lower material costs, select vendors, propose products for sales channels and ultimately make better products.”

“We are excited to announce our launch of the Centric AI Image Search, demonstrating our on-going innovation commitment to the development of AI and machine learning applications,” says Chris Groves, President and CEO of Centric Software.

Chris added, “We continue to be inspired by and innovate with our customers to improve their competitiveness, drive sales and promote growth.”