The Case for PLM
What is PLM?
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is both an enterprise software solution as well as a key business strategy for discrete manufacturing companies that brings together and manages all of the critical product information and business processes that go into bringing successful products to market. PLM has matured to become a mission-critical system for successfully driving product development.
PLM in essence manages a company's "Product Record". The Product Record is the rich, dynamic, comprehensive, and real-time store of information that defines products at every phase of their lifecycle, such as: items; bills of material (BOMs); approved manufacturer lists (AMLs); component attributes; finished good attributes; compliance data; manufacturing and process instructions; test instructions; concepts, sketches & renderings; photos; MCAD & ECAD files; drawings and models; schematics & layouts; software code; firmware; customer requirements; documentation; specifications; data sheets; pricing; costing history; packaging and labeling information; program data; supply and allocations; corrective actions; field service data; product change/revision history; and quality history, for example. The Product Record provides this information on a real-time basis to all functional divisions within design/manufacturing companies, inside and outside their four walls, including supply chain and outsource partners, providing the right information to the right people at the right time, to support the range of decisions and activities for companies to design, source, buy, manufacture, service, support, and dispose of all products.
All Companies Face the Same Challenges
- Develop products that are "right to market"
- Get to market faster
- Ramp to volume and hit target cost
- Drive margins and reduce supply chain risk
- Reduce service and warranty costs
- Mitigate risk associated with regulatory compliance
The Complexity Challenge
In order to compete, product development companies are under increasing pressure to innovate faster, with more complexity, and less resources. Key drivers that dictate the necessity for an effective PLM solution and strategy include:
- Explosion of new products driving more and more product launches
- Shorter product lifecycles and life spans
- Increasing product complexity and product variants
- Accelerated rates of globalization and outsourcing
- Acquisition integration with more complex product portfolios to manage
- A growing myriad of regulatory compliance directives to adhere to in order to gain access to markets
... all while trying to maximize profitability at all product lifecycle phases.
Most Companies Have the Same Core Problem
Without a properly implemented PLM system and strategy, companies suffer from disconnected product development processes, data, and participants resulting in profit leaks in many forms throughout a product's lifecycle that compromise planned margin targets and potentially the complete success of a product launch or release.