We live in the golden age of technology, where innovation in value chains and processes is fundamental to a company’s survival. However, Product Lifecycle Management PLM plays a vital role in the innovation process by developing next-generation products at a lower price. PLM-driven products have a faster time to market as compared to conventional methods. Product lifecycle management integrates with the business strategy to yield maximum impact on the teams and growth of an organization.
What is Product Lifecycle Management PLM?
The software market is leaps and bounds ahead of what it used to be only a decade ago. Therefore, in an era where innovation is crucial to business success and continuity, Product lifecycle management software emerged as a savior. Product lifecycle management is the process through which a company manages a product’s lifecycle. Thus, the management starts from the ideation and goes till the product retires.
PLM software manages product data at every stage of its lifecycle, including its design, production, sales, and service. It tracks, records, and shares product information as it moves along the value chain.
What are the various stages of Product Lifecycle Management?
There is no set industry standard when it comes to product development and management. The phases below paint a generic and typical picture of the different stages of the lifecycle.
- Ideation and product design: The concept and design phase is where the ideas are born regarding the product. It discusses the product requirements based on external and internal analysis of competitors, market gaps, customer needs, company strength, etc.
- Development: In this stage, a detailed design of the product is devised. The necessary design tools are discussed. In the development phase, product validation, analysis, prototyping, and piloting will occur at this point. The pilot testing fetches feedback regarding the product and further modifications and refinements.
- Final production and launching: A final product comes to life after the necessary modifications in the design and components following the pilot testing feedback. The final product launch and market distribution decide the product’s scalability. A market-ready version is produced in this phase.
- Support and services: After launching the final product to the market, this phase accommodates the necessary support and services to the customers if needed.
- Retirement: After the product goes into the market, its fate is up to the customers. As the name suggests, retirement is the end of the product life cycle. During this stage, it retires and withdraws from the market. Similarly, withdrawal management is an integral part of the PLM, which involves retrials and further refinements into a newer version. It can also be absorbed into new concepts.
What is the use of Agile PLM, and why is it important?
One cannot simply deny the significance of PLM software in the success and survival of a business. PLM software serves as the backbone of any value chain. It promotes collaboration and PLM integration, which is necessary for the success of any product.
Here are a few points to remind you why PLM is essential for any organization aiming for growth.
Communicate and collaborate
A successful PLM solution ensures streamlined communication and smooth collaboration across the different stages of the product lifecycle. Often people mistake each step or phase of a product’s life cycle as independent and autonomous. This, however, is far from the truth.
A good PLM solution ensures communication and collaboration among all the product life cycle stages. Every stage is linked with others and requires support and collaboration to amplify the final result. The different phases of product data management, change management, ERP, CRM, etc., are part of one big collaborative network.
Moreover, PLM consolidates product data into one giant database and manageable resource portal. Therefore, it is accessible to all stakeholders. It allows the free flow of information among people and all stages in a product’s life cycle. Many industries require compliance testing of the product to meet regulatory and industrial standards. Thus, PLM takes care of such needs and can forecast the needs in the initial phases of ideation. PLM creates, tracks, and manages the product data in the later stages too for meeting industrial requirements.
As discussed, PLM creates data because it foresees the industrial requirements. This data must be stored and managed with PLM software to be accessible when needed. PLM software allows developers and engineers to create, maneuver, and access data, enabling efficient document management. They can generate reports while managing the cost and sales strategies.
Along with that, PLM manages the whole organization and its data. Therefore, it is vital to use good PLM tools to take care of external and internal organizational needs. However, developers and engineers should have sufficient knowledge of the tools and resources of PLM support to avoid unpleasant surprises. It allows the organization to reap the maximum benefits of the PLM solution.
What are the benefits of Product Lifecycle Management?
A sound and good PLM solution have many benefits. Additionally, organizations benefit greatly from PLM by
- Making it to the market faster
- Good product quality
- Improved development
- Safer products etc.
Specialized PLM software has a more significant impact on all these product functions. Let’s examine in detail some of the benefits.
- Improvement, efficiency, and effectiveness of the value chain: Silos are the biggest resistance to change, improvement, and performance. PLM allows bi-directional data flux that improves the product development process and brings engineering efficiency and effectiveness to the overall process.
- Eliminating the errors: It is wiser, faster, easier, and cheaper to identify and rectify product issues in the initial stages. PLM is responsible for identifying the errors in earlier stages of the product life cycle that helps to reduce the cost and other manufacturing waste.
- Efficient project delivery: PLM software offers cross-enterprise digital solutions. The PLM software supports advanced workflows, quick product delivery, and precise calculation of associated costs. Hence, it allows teams to manage the process smoothly and later hand it over to new manufacturing units. It results in higher design quality too.
What are examples of product lifecycle management?
PLM solutions make supply chains more fruitful. Big organizations deploy agile PLM systems across all their departments to assist manufacturing. Some industries that extensively use PLM include automotive, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and defense.
- Humboldt Wedag: It is a big name in the cement industry. They are the industry leaders. Humboldt uses PLM solutions for employee collaboration on design and development. They have a responsive and future-proof PLM system that works across three continents America, Europe, and Asia.
- Kaeser Kompressoren: It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of compressed air systems. It uses PLM software to streamline its design capabilities. PLM assists Kaeser with centralized solutions for a collaborative and productive environment.
- Sartorius: It uses PLM software for optimized product development in biopharmaceutical research. PLM system manages, tracks, and creates life science industry data for quality control and efficiency.
To sum it up, there has been a never-ending battle of being the best since the inception of times. Consequently, every organization wants to conquer its respective industry with modern tools, solutions, and software. Therefore, every company invests in improving its products and meeting customer demands using sustainable market practices. PLM is one such market practice that promises success and growth. The future of product lifecycle management is bright in the manufacturing industry as new products come on the market every day. Use the PLM software to perfect your development and manufacturing and unleash new business possibilities.