Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is gaining a lot of attention these days. The modern day product essentially goes through 4 stages:
- Introduction Stage
- Growth Stage
- Maturity Stage
- Decline Stage
Using PLM software gives businesses a strategic advantage by simplifying implementation, and providing a higher ROI (Return On Investment). The PLM software is a system that unifies into one platform, all the tasks and the teams involved in the product development lifecycle.
According to reports, the PLM market is expected to grow to $75.87 billion by 2022. At its core, PLM software offers enhanced data management and transnational reporting capabilities, but it is much more than that and is very important for business growth.
Explained below are some reasons why product lifecycle management software is important to grow your business:
Offers Scope for Innovation
Consumers now-a-days want more retail choices and they want it more often. Using PLM software, a cross-functional collaborative workflow is enabled. This can be linked to a global product development calendar which retailers and wholesalers can use for innovating and developing new products. These products can then be released into the market faster. One good example is the use case of the fashion brand ‘Zara’ who implemented PLM systems and reduced their time-to-market from 55 weeks to 30 weeks.
Improved Efficiency and Coordination
In a world where time is money, implementation of an effective PLM system can save a lot of time which is otherwise spent on spreadsheets, emails, document sharing, etc. Moving data manually between these programs, not to mention the several email chains is very time consuming. Product Lifecycle Management software brings all of these under one umbrella improving efficiency and coordination. It also saves time spent in correcting manual errors. These errors could cost businesses a huge deal of money.
Reduces Design Time
By unifying several tasks and departments, PLM Software offers immediate access to all design data and facilitates better management. Design efforts that are wasted through loss or damage of files can be avoided. It offers consistent data-rich bills along with real-time cost roll-ups. Some Product Lifecycle Management systems also allow for tasks to be directly attached to a document, so that designers and project managers both can be kept in loop. Companies that have successfully implemented PLM software have reported that their time-to-market has been reduced by up to 75%. You would rather use the saved time focusing on more important aspects of your business.
Accelerated Release and Change Cycles
This is the most significant impact of PLM software in growth of businesses. It helps businesses gain substantial efficiency in processing and release of a product. Being an automated process, a Product Lifecycle Management system brings together all the information in one secure location from where it can be accessed by multiple authorized users. It has pre-defined review workflows and templates for change types. It streamlines the approval processes, identifies all the tasks that need to be dispositioned, automatically evaluates roll up cost impacts and eliminates the lags in the approval process by utilizing emails. It eliminates the necessity to physically chase down a package which needs changes. Changes can now be made without even leaving your desk – all thanks to lifecycle management software.
Facilitates More Comprehensive Collaboration
PLM software offers real-time visibility into evolving designs which encourages on-time and frequent checks in the designs. All the stakeholders can provide feedback in a timely manner and this facilitates the inclusion of all aspects of the product plan. With all this information available in a single location, designers do not have to be frequently distracted with on-going requests. Thus collaboration and communication is much more comprehensive but less intrusive. Accurate product information is made available in real-time. With better collaboration come better product designs which are essential for the growth of the business.
Fewer Parts Can Be Purchased in Larger Volumes
Many-a-times, firms are left with parts that can be reused. Reusing these parts prevents them from going to waste and also saves the cost involved in purchasing a new part. However, larger organizations have a significant number of parts and reusing them becomes difficult as it is difficult to jog the designer’s memory or go searching through ERP systems looking for identical parts. Product Lifecycle Management software facilitates efficient inventory management and allows for exploration of items that are similar to the parts required in the development of the new product.
Reduces Production Rework and Scrap
Any changes that are made can be instantly reviewed by all the stakeholders online. Approval is faster and more comprehensive compared to a paper-based process. There is more consistency in bills of materials which can also include the documents on production and inspection processes.
Better Production Experience and Reduced Cost
PLM software has led to the reduction of the long production runs and enhanced the production along with reducing the production costs involved in various aspects of the product development lifecycle.
Reduces Administrative and Clerical Costs
Being an automated process, PLM software reduces the need for hiring several administrative and clerical staff like analysts, documents checkers, clerks etc. Implementing a PLM Software can help reduce these costs in the ratio of 20:1.
Eliminates Inaccurate Results
Government regulations are very stringent about the environmental impact of products. Some of these regulations even require material tracking and data reporting. Use of certain hazardous materials are prohibited by government authorities and it is required that businesses keep a track on the same and report compositions of the product. Manual calculations in measuring the product composition can be tedious and time consuming, not to mention imprecise results as these compositions are mostly mentioned in parts per million. PLM software reduces such inaccurate results by offering an automated tool that calculates and reports the composition of the product and materials precisely.
Helps Meet Compliance and Industry Standards
Regulatory requirements from authorities like the FDA and ISO can create an additional burden. Product designs and development algorithms must be in compliance with the prescribed guidelines. Non-compliance can bring-in huge cost to the organization. PLM systems facilitate the meeting of compliance requirements by maintaining a unified repository of all the information and records on modification of the product and raw materials purchased. It offers commercial-grade documentation procedures. Changes can be automatically tracked for maintaining audit trails. This helps businesses eliminate the cost that could be incurred due to non-compliance.
Offers Competitive Advantage
PLM software streamlines all the processes involved in the product development lifecycle right from the conception of the idea and design to manufacturing through to support. Product costs are decreased and so is time-to-market, wastage and reworking. When products reach the market faster, it gives the firm a huge competitive advantage which is critical for success.
Overall Product Lifecycle Management software reduces the risk profile of an organization and offers a clog-free pipeline. It provides an information backbone by integrating personnel, data and processes with business systems. It enables improvement in the value of a product over its lifecycle and better utilization of resources thus leading to greater profitability. The benefits of PLM software are rooted in time, cost and quality all of which are quintessential for the growth and success of a business!