Mark Harrop

CEO

Mark is the founder and Managing Director of WhichPLM and WhichPLM Academy. During a career that has spanned close to four decades, Mark has worked tirelessly to further the cause of PLM – providing the unbiased, expert advice that has enabled some of the world’s best known retailers, brands and manufacturers achieve efficiency savings across their entire supply chain through informed technology investments.

Mark’s absolute focus is on assisting clients to achieve maximum return on their investments – be it in technology, software or personnel. He is a thought leader and renowned industry blogger who believes in opening channels of communication and building strong relationships with suppliers. In each of his roles, Mark has worked to further the cause of PLM – providing the unbiased, expert advice that has enabled some of the world’s best known retailers, brands and manufacturers achieve efficiency savings across their entire supply chain through informed technology investments.

Beginning his career at Lawtex PLC in 1974, Mark quickly rose through the ranks from Cutting Room Manager, to Work Study Engineer, and then on to Factory Manager, studying closely with Marks & Spencer at Dunchurch College along the way.

In 1985 he moved to Xetal Systems, where he served as Design Bureau Manager and was responsible for introducing the first commercial CAD and digital printing services (employing the Microdynamics CAD solutions) able to deliver accurately-dyed 1 metre sample lengths that could be converted to garment samples within 24 hours. Mark took up the position of Director of Sales and Marketing with Microdynamics in 1987, where he helped to introduce the company’s CAD systems to the European market. At Microdynamics, Mark worked closely with the research and development team in the creation of the first PDM system, “Spec”, specifically designed for the apparel industry.

In 1992 he joined Gerber Technology through their acquisition of Microdynamics, where he spent the next eight years sharing his industry expertise with the Retail, Footwear & Apparel division, focusing on the design and sale of PDM software, consultancy, customisation and training. Following on from his work at Microdynamics, Mark took a leading role in the design of Gerber’s second-generation WebPDM solution for the retail/ brand/manufacturing vertical.

Joining Freeborders Ltd in 2000, Mark was appointed Managing Director, with responsibility for building the company’s brand throughout Europe while supporting the US-based team in the creation of the first CMP Collaborative Product Management solution – the forerunner to a full PLM Suite – which launched in 2003.

In 2005 he was headhunted by PTC to help launch their European RFA (Retail Footwear and Apparel) business and was appointed EU Regional Director, with the mission of hiring, training and developing a business pipeline.

Finally, in 2007, Mark founded the PDP group, which under his leadership became the world’s leading provider of consultation and support services to both end users and suppliers of PLM solutions for the Fashion industry. In 2008 Mark and his team launched WhichPLM, an online news and information hub offering tools and unbiased advice to a growing readership.

And in 2012 WhichPLM separated from the PDP group of companies to become its own independent entity, helmed by Mark, and providing a potent mixture of industry-leading reportage, insight, interviews and tools, as well as educational consultancy for retailers, brands and manufacturers in all corners of the globe. As of October 2013, Mark will no longer be a Director of the Product Development Partnership or Product Development Partners.

Contact Mark to discuss course bookings