12 March 2020

Reduce Time to Market with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software


Reducing time to market is one of the most important features of product lifecycle management (PLM) software.

For product managers, the time to market is often a key KPI on which they can measure work performance. How fast can you get through prototyping, to production and manufacturing, to sales?

Racing against the clock, you need a tool that will help you compete in a changing market. In the days of digital transformation, choosing the right software is a way to go.

If you want to improve the productivity and efficiency of product development, read on. Here, I’m about to show you how PLM tools can increase time to market.

Note: this will seriously improve your bottom line, too.

1. Reduced prototyping cost

From the product’s inception, you should keep track of its delivery. Don’t wait until production to monitor progress.

PLM software is an easy way to:

  • gather requirements from engineering,
  • plan sourcing and supply chain operations,
  • plan the entire project.

Optimising your product development from its ideation and planning will make it shorter. The benefits, however, rely not only on scoping the project.

With PLM tools, engineers can start working on a project. Whether it’s a new product or improved feature, PLM software can support 3D prototyping. By working with CAD type tools (e.g. AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Dassault CATIA, etc.), engineers can use 3D prototyping solutions as a part of their PLM software.

2. A framework for product optimisation

When using the PLM tool to reduce time to market, you can also optimise the product’s delivery. It is possible due to ensured data integrity, as the tool connects different data sources.

For example, you can spot reusable elements from other products. PLM systems make it easier to use the parts you already have, like sensors or mechanical parts. This way, you can “share” them between projects, so instead of designing everything from scratch, you can use the elements you have.

This example works both ways. Using the same parts, you can use the knowledge from previous projects to improve the new one. If an element has previously malfunctioned, you can expect this to happen again. So, this time you can make an improvement that will also be applicable in the previous product.

3. Improved change management process

Another essential feature of PLM class systems is version control. With it, you surpass your change management process to improve, upgrade, or scale your product.

Version control gives you a clear overview of a given feature or part, at any moment of its development. Whenever changes occur, such as throughout prioritised new initiatives, version control acts as your centralised product record.

4. Better transparency of product development

For many products, development doesn’t end with shipping to customers. Continuous improvement and maintenance are also a part of the product lifecycle.

To improve aftermarket product management, use PLM tools and benefit from enhanced transparency. By gathering feedback from users, you can then use that information to enhance your product.

This can also apply when working with other suppliers that use your parts to create their products. Maintaining a transparent feedback loop is a great way to offer better products.

Meanwhile, according to an Accenture survey, “only 36% of companies expressed the view that their leveraging of customer feedback to drive product improvements and changes was good.”

Use PLM tool to change that at your organisation.

5. Sales opportunities and revenue contributions identification

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, using PLM tools can affect your bottom line. This can be a result of either cutting costs or sales opportunities identification.

For example, your company can use the feedback from your customers or suppliers not only to improve your product.

You can also use it to ensure better customer feedback or collaboration with business partners. This way, you may uncover new sales opportunities or increase revenue by, e.g. reducing the churn rate.

PLM features for improved time to market

When considering the time to market as a priority, here are some important features which you should expect from your PLM tool:

  • 3D prototyping
  • Manufacturing integration
  • Flexible lifecycle management
  • Workflow management
  • Project task management
  • Reporting

This can vary based on your specific needs and business goals. Make sure to evaluate them first before choosing your PLM software. Then, create a shortlist of already existing tools and give them a try. You can also create your own, custom PLM software, to fully address your needs.

Maximise the revenue potential of your products with PLM software

Namysław Szymaniuk
Software Developer

Until recently, he was Java EE developer, who have been developing extensive PLM system (Windchill) and integrating it with SAP system. Later, he was using the Spring framework and WSO2, while developing a LIMS class system. Recently, he changed technology and engaged in developing cross-platforms mobile applications, using the Xamarin Forms framework. Sometimes, he has nightmares because of that. Speaking of his hobby, he is interested in a car computer diagnostics. He is also the author of the Polish translation of the built-in navigation system Magneti Marelli RT3, appearing in Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Lancia, and Maserati cars.