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5 Benefits of Product Lifecycle Management in Your Organization

5 Benefits of Product Lifecycle Management in Your Organization
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 17 Jun 2024

In recent years product development processes have increased in complexity and sophistication. This asks for more systematic, structured and elaborate approaches to managing the product development lifecycle. i.e., from inception to decommission. A central concept to this evolution is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). PLM is a strategic framework that integrates data, processes, business systems, and, fundamentally, people in an extended enterprise that uses the above-listed resources to design, produce and distribute non-trivial products and services. PLM enables industrial organizations to collaboratively manage the complexities of product development (e.g., manufacturing, maintenance, disposal) efficiently and cost-effectively. Nowadays, industrial organizations must be aware of the main ingredients of PLM systems, as well as of best practices for implementing and deploying them.

Understanding Product Lifecycle Management
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is largely about managing product information. It can therefore be considered as an information management system that integrates data, processes, and business systems throughout an organization and its supply chain partners. Hence, it can also serve as the backbone for all information relating to a product, which leads to a single, secure source of information that facilitates the management of products from the initial concept, through design and manufacturing, to service and disposal. PLM incorporates a broad spectrum of disciplines. The latter include, but not limited to, software engineering, data and process management, and business strategy. Hence, PLM project tend to be multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary, which can at times be extremely challenging. Nevertheless, the PLM advantages outweigh the effort needed to address such challenges.

5 Benefits of a PLM Approach
When it comes to managing the product lifecycle, a PLM approach achieves the following benefits:

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Enhanced Collaboration and Connectivity: PLM facilitates enhanced collaboration and connectivity across disparate departments, geographies, and components of the supply chain. It centralizes product information and processes, which enables concurrent engineering practices. This enables product management stakeholders and supply chain actors to access, process, analyze and update data in a fast, reliable and consistent manner. It also enables instant access to the most up-to-date products’ information, which provides a sound basis for accelerating product development cycles and optimizing efficiency.
Improved Quality and Compliance: PLM systems are instrumental in improving product quality and compliance with industry standards and regulations. They integrate quality management processes with real-time visibility into product development activities, which enables them to proactively identify and mitigate production and distribution risks. This fosters compliance to quality standards and ends-up enhancing the quality of the final product. PLM systems can have a positive impact on the implementation of Quality Management approaches and frameworks such as Total Quality Management (TQM) and Six Sigma.
Streamlined Operations and Reduced Time to Market: PLM standardizes and automates core product development processes. This leads to streamlined operations, reduces manual effort, minimizes errors, and cuts down the time to market for new products. Moreover, it boosts operational efficiency that accelerates the pace of innovation and provides a competitive edge in the market.
Enhanced Decision Making: The consolidation of product data and processes into a singular system offers unprecedented visibility into the product lifecycle. This provides stakeholders with critical insights that underpin informed decision-making, leading to an enhanced decision-making capability. The latter ensures that product strategies are aligned with organizational goals and market requirement
Cost Reduction: Through the optimization of product development processes and improved resource allocation, PLM systems contribute significantly to cost reduction. Specifically, they can foster the reduction of unnecessary waste and the reduction of scrap and rework, while improving product quality. Based on these reductions and optimizations, organizations can achieve substantial cost savings over the product’s lifecycle.

Companies Not Using PLM are Missing Out
Organizations without PLM systems often end-up managing fragmented data ecosystems with escalating complexities and inefficiencies. The latter are usually a result of the lack of a cohesive system for managing product information. This not only impedes collaboration amongst stakeholders but also amplifies challenges pertaining to compliance, quality management, and time-to-market. Therefore, organizations not using PLM are essentially compromising their capacity to innovate and compete effectively in the marketplace.

The Importance of a PLM Process-Software Combination

The deployment of PLM software is seminal to the realization of the above-listed benefits. The PLM software benefitsinclude the automation and optimization of product lifecycle processes, from design and manufacturing to service and disposal. However, it is imperative to recognize that the effective implementation of PLM extends beyond the adoption of software. It requires a holistic integration of processes, people, and technologies. In this direction, a synergistic combination of PLM software with well-defined processes ensures that the organizational culture, workflows, and the PLM system are very well aligned. This amplifies the efficiency of the PLM system, while at the same time fostering organizational adoption. Moreover, a proper integration of PLM processes and PLM software systems supports the calibration of PLM initiatives with the strategic objectives of the organization.

In summary, the integration of PLM in modern industrial enterprises is not a mere operational choice but rather a strategic imperative. The benefits of PLM range from enhanced collaboration and connectivity to significant cost reductions. These benefits substantiate its role as a critical determinant of an organization’s innovation capability and competitive advantage. However, the benefits of implementing product lifecycle management hinge on a balanced amalgamation of PLM software and optimized processes. Enterprises that overlook the adoption of PLM systems will sooner or later become confronted with operational inefficiencies, compliance and quality challenges, and setbacks to product innovation.

In a landscape of continuous technological advancement and intensifying competition, enterprises have no other options than to implement and deploy the best possible product management processes. PLM systems provide one of the most important pillars of effective product management. Moreover, the strategic alignment of PLM systems with organizational processes can deliver both enhanced operational efficiency and unprecedented innovation. It also gives rise to a new paradigm in product development and management, which can be turned into a competitive advantage.

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