Across different industries and the manufacturing sector especially, the interest in PLM software is soaring. It is due to the increased pressure of product improvement and efficient delivery that companies are now investing in PLM infrastructure. PLM software is the best tool across all functions, from improving product manufacturing and supply chain logistics to scaling one’s business. This blog will discuss the important aspects of PLM software, its stages, and everything else you need to know.
What is a PLM system?
PLM or product lifecycle management is a tool that helps manage the entire lifecycle of a product from the moment it is conceived till its retirement.
It involves managing, controlling, and inspecting different phases of the product lifecycle. It facilitates the entire process or lifecycle through data integration, workflow monitoring, system inspection, and stakeholders’ management.
It can be an efficiency-boosting business strategy and software simultaneously with a goal to simplify and improve the product development process. Companies adopt the PLM framework for two primary reasons:
- To intensify the workflow
- To manage and keep the costs low
Stages of PLM infrastructure
PLM infrastructure consists of multiple separate processes which further segregate into four stages.
Stage 1: Conception/Ideation
It’s the initial phase/stage of the product lifecycle where the product exists merely as a figment of imagination. It is just an idea that is ready to take shape with extensive research, planning, and preparation. It requires major decisions regarding design, features, manufacturing viability, product feasibility, and time to market.
Sitting in the comforts of our homes, we often fail to realize what goes behind product manufacturing. Any idea that looks and sounds great on a piece of paper may not always get to see the light of the day. A lot of the company’s resources go into producing it. The initial concept is accompanied by several challenges, including:
- Material acquisition
- Machinery investment
- Project outsourcing
- Staff augmentation
- Designing and development
- Price decisions
- Production frameworks etc.
Stage 2: Design
After the conception of the product and initial planning, the design stage comes, which requires refinement and materialization. During this phase, the initial prototype comes into shape. It necessarily does not have to be a fully-functional product at this time. It is more like a working prototype awaiting acknowledgment and approval. PLM dictates the free flow of information and access to centralized data centers at this stage for all the stakeholders.
Stage 3: Production
In the third step, a product officially enters the mass-production phase after getting approval. It is a crucial stage because the PLM Software assesses different elements affecting production. PLM plays an integral role in overseeing the production cost. A lot of variables come into play, such as:
- Material required (amount and origin of the raw goods)
- Quotas per batch
- Time required for meeting the quota
- Labor requirements
- Potential production errors or manufacturing defects
- Equipment and machinery
- Fuel/energy sources etc.
Stage 4: Distribution
As the name suggests, this phase includes distributing the products to consumers through different channels. It involves
- Inventory management of the manufactured goods
- Logistics of sending them to sales channel
- Service and maintenance
- Disposal methods
Lifecycle of a product plays a big role in analyzing distribution means and market product performance. Later it takes care of the product’s retirement after it reaches its maximum potential.
Role of PLM during each stage
As the product lifecycle progress and moves through each stage, PLM software is fed data which is then processed. Product Lifecycle Management studies the data, streamlines processes, and eliminates waste in the form of repetitive and redundant tasks at each step. It means that PLM software essentially integrates with the Enterprise Resource Planning system to generate meaningful results and informed decisions.
Why must we adopt PLM as a strategy?
Product lifecycle framework as a business strategy works in favor of the company in terms of streamlined processes and collaboration. Since data is accessible to every stakeholder, the potential for collaboration on a certain project therefore increases.
Product Lifecycle Management is apt and suitable for all business scenarios because of its universal and interactive nature, through which it blends seamlessly with every business type. It reduces the cost and time while maintaining the workflow and quality. Using software and tools like CAD encourages communication and collaboration, resulting in increased productivity at each stage.
If this information wasn’t enough for you to change your mind about PLM technology, then I don’t know what will. Try it once for your business and be the judge.