What is a PLM?
Product life cycle management (PLM) is a holistic approach to managing a product from the initial idea all the way through the sales and marketing phases before it’s retired from the market.
The phases of PLM include: ideation, design development or prototyping, production, distribution and support services, and at last retirement (discontinuation/withdrawal from market). A PLM software is a centralized platform for product information that makes information sharing, communication and collaboration more efficient and streamlined.
There are two ways to implement PLM:
First, you can choose to implement a PLM solution through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, also known as Cloud PLM. In this model, you purchase a license to a PLM software from a third-party vendor and pay a subscription fee. Here, the vendor hosts your data on their server, which results in a quicker implementation at an affordable price.
The second option is the On-Premise model, wherein your organization builds their own servers to manage all of their data in-house. Here, the PLM software is directly installed onto these servers and local devices, ensuring a greater level of security and control.
Now that we have a good understanding of PLM, let’s look at all the advantages of implementing it in your business.
7 Advantages of PLM that every business needs to know
1. Centralizes all information – One of the biggest advantages of PLM is that it puts all your product information on one centralized platform. If you’re using a cloud PLM, you can access this vast trove of information with just an Internet connection. Having the ability to access your work from anywhere, anytime gives you the ability to work remotely. No more losing yourself in an endless sea of excel sheets, documents and emails that keep piling on in your computer or desk.
With a centralized platform, real-time data sharing is possible—and that means your business can enjoy faster and more accurate communication and collaboration across teams, departments, and geographies.
2. Increases speed-to-market – How fast you can get your product from the idea stage to production to sales is an important KPI for any business. This process can be especially slow and prone to error for many businesses. Without a robust central system, handing off work to the next team can take longer. For instance, the product development team can sometimes send the wrong design specs, or approvals take too long, and the manufacturing team is sometimes not aware of the latest changes.
PLM solves all these issues and more by streamlining your entire process, and integrating it all together end-to-end. It brings transparency and accountability to your processes. You can be assured that every team is able to the see the latest prototype file version because they have access to a single source of the truth.
3. Improves product quality – You might think achieving greater product quality means compromising on your bottom line but that can’t be further from the truth. At least, not when you’ve got a robust PLM.
PLM software makes it easier to identify and remove defects from your inventory. It streamlines quality assurance checks and targets to make sure only the best products reach the market. You can also track your product data to see where breakdowns and delays are occurring the most and fix those problems immediately through the PLM platform.
4. Reduces business costs – Going over budget, making design errors and wasting raw materials due to poor production planning are all common problems for any business. You might even think they’re unavoidable! However, PLM systems have a track record of significantly lowering production costs for all kinds of businesses. By working from a single source of truth, PLM can reduce your prototyping errors. It can allow procurement and manufacturing teams to work in sync with other functions to plan raw material requirements in the most efficient way. It can help you set accurate budgets for different product lines and monitor them all at the same time.
In addition, you should not underestimate the power of PLM costing dashboards that provide easy-to-understand reports and graphs. These can help you optimise resource allocation, enable quick costing decisions, provide feedback and recommendation based on data and prevent you from ordering duplicates.
5. Increase productivity – How much of your day is spent doing paperwork and data entry? Do you start projects in emails, only to have to type all that information into other places? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could use project management software to manage your projects? Starting your ideas and projects in PLM allows everyone who needs to be in the loop—no more wasted time on paperwork and data entry.
With PLM, you can consolidate all your product information and communication in one place, reduce the risk of errors and eliminate the need to dig through hundreds of other unrelated documents and emails to find the right information.
PLM gives you more time to do your actual work rather than spending it on trying to spot errors or double-checking work. PLM also cut downs unnecessary steps and streamlines workflow across departments and teams.
6. Helps with sustainability – Sustainability has never been as important to businesses as it is right now. From big moves to small shifts, every business in every industry is trying to make changes towards sustainability. PLM can help you make sure that the materials you use are sourced ethically and sustainably.
Not to mention, managing all your business activities digitally can help you go paperless. What’s more, PLM can help cut down your carbon footprint by reducing waste and unused raw materials, preventing overstocking and putting quality control measures that will reduce defects.
In the fashion industry for instance, Fashion PLM Software is helping brands bring some much-needed transparency to their supply chain and improve vendor compliance.
7. Greater data security – For any business, their most precious asset is their data. In fact, nothing probably haunts your dreams more than infringement of your intellectual property. PLM can provide a greater degree of data security with features such as role-based access controls where employees only see the information they need to know.
Other security measures include multi-factor authentication, firewalls, data encryption, cybersecurity check-ups and training for employees. These measures will surely cost a pretty penny on their own, but they are well worth it when included among other modules of PLM.
PLM is at the heart of many successful businesses, but until a few decades ago it was inaccessible to most companies due to high infrastructure and implementation costs. However, with the increasing popularity of cloud technology, PLM is now an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
The world is gradually becoming more and more digital. Everything from how you live, work, and play will change with it. If you don’t digitize your business, you’ll fall behind. So before investing in NFTs or Blockchain, AR or VR, think about PLM first since it’s the first step you need to take to make your business ready for a digitalized future.
Shivani Sehta is a marketing enthusiast and content writer at World Fashion Exchange. WFX is new generation Apparel ERP Software and Fashion PLM Software and PLM software company. She specializes in writing content about the latest technology trends. In her free time, she likes to dance and spend time with nature.
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