Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) capabilities of today are geared towards applying cutting-edge solutions.
Bringing together people, business processes and information, PLM tools ensure product quality. Although these three assets remain constant, their potential has changed.
This is especially true when it comes to information. Advancing technology, like IoT and big data algorithms, improve the way we can draw conclusions from information.
PLM tools and processes improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and competitive advantage of businesses. Here are the key PLM capabilities that matter in the times of digital transformation.
Key PLM capabilities in 2020
1. Cutting time-to-market
From prototyping to product optimisation and change management, PLM systems offer a holistic approach to managing product development.
Design stage benefits from using 3D prototyping tools. For example, engineers who use CAD type tools like AutoCAD or SolidWorks can collaborate on product prototyping.
Then, based on established processes and workflows, products can be quickly brought to customers. This collaboration, better change management and transparency improve – in turn – time-to-market.
It is possible due to having information like:
- shared product specifications,
- customer feedback,
- and data from suppliers.
2. Increasing reusability of resources
Having product data, feedback from customers and contractors also has another benefit. You can use this information to improve resource management.
You can spot, for example, what similar parts have been used before, allowing engineers to reduce the product’s cost and improve its quality.
This is true to parts, services, and workflows. Once you learn how you use your resources, you can make changes to improve its effectiveness.
3. Improving cost competitiveness
After improving product delivery and resource management, you can also improve cost competitiveness.
In today’s digital economy, companies can use data to create digital twins of their products. It is a concept of creating a digital replica of physical entities. In the case of PLM tools, it allows determining equipment, parts and construction costs.
As you learned in the previous examples, companies can also use that knowledge to find reusable components. They can also map workflows and processes that are more efficient than others. Replicating them, and improving resource management, they can finally reduce development cost.
Another way to benefit from such data is by increasing the level of strategic sourcing. Knowing exactly what you need, and using algorithms to predict changing demand, you can e.g. reassess your stock level.
4. Breaking down silos
I’ve mentioned that engineering teams, for example, can collaborate on product prototyping. PLM tools, however, allow for much wider cooperation between departments.
Fostering collaboration on a business-wide scale is possible through shared data sets. Using a single tool to map processes, find relevant information, or share feedback, you can:
- identify sales opportunities and revenue contributions faster,
- improve product quality with shared feedback and transparency,
- keep overheads under control with centralised supply chain management.
These are just three examples of how bringing different departments together may benefit your business.
5. Strategic business transformation
The problem many companies face is keeping up with changing business environment. They often lack a cohesive insight into product development, manufacturing and finances across departments.
Next, their software is often outdated, and the transformation seems daunting and uncertain. The cost of following ineffective processes is, however, much higher.
PLM software provides companies with a possibility to reap off the benefits of cutting-edge tech. Modern solutions are often pre-configured and follow easy integration frameworks. Deloitte Product Lifecycle Management (DPLM) is an example of an approach to transforming a business without creating bottlenecks.
The benefits, on the other hand, include:
- More efficient aggregation of data
- A strategic approach to information
- Improved quality management
- Advanced analytics
How to choose PLM software?
Finding the right PLM software starts with understanding company needs. Who will use it at your organisation? What are the duties and with whom do they usually collaborate?
Moreover, find out if your company has any unique demands. Several out-of-the-box solutions are offering different features. Knowing your specific demand will help you eliminate some of them early on.
Next, list the areas you want to improve with the new software. This may include:
- Design and development
- Manufacturing and production
- Merchandising and sales
- Servicing and customer support
If you have a hard time finding the right software, use the help of external consultants. They can provide you with an unbiased analysis of your challenges. Technical consultants can also help with mapping the data and designing new information architecture.
The goal of investing in PLM software is to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. With a better overview of your company operations, processes and workflows, finances, etc., you can optimise each area.
Make use of the latest tech to empower your company with intelligent insights.