Being competitive in Industry 4.0 means getting your products to market quickly yet discretely. From concept to design to development and manufacturing, your products pass through multiple people and multiple teams before they reach the hands of your customers.
Your product’s lifecycle shouldn’t feel like a high-stakes game of telephone. It’s time to introduce or upgrade your product lifecycle management (PLM) software.
PLM software keeps your entire team on the same page. In this article, we’ll explain what PLM software is, what features and functions you can expect from it, and how it streamlines processes and lowers manufacturing costs.
What Is PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)?
PLM, or Product Lifecycle Management, is the process of handling a product from idea, to design and engineering, to manufacturing, to service, and finally, to termination and disposal. As a product changes hands throughout its life, the management of the product lifecycle requires one source of truth in the form of documentation. Having a solid repository of information streamlines the manufacturing process.
What Is PLM Software?
PLM software helps businesses maintain a single source of truth during the entire lifecycle of a product. PLM software integrates with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and CAD software seamlessly, offering data-backed insights to all the team members your product passes through on the way to distribution.
5 Features and Functions of PLM Systems
Here are some common features and functions of PLM systems.
1. Project Management and Product Data Management (PDM)
PLM systems can integrate with project management systems, or even work as standalone project management systems for individual products. They include functionalities like progress monitoring, scheduling, and more. PLM software’s primary function is to act as a central repository of information, making it easy to automate documentation and determine where a product is in its lifecycle.
You can also customize your PLM system to trigger actions, notifying designers and engineers when a product is ready for them, for example. PLM software stores design mockups, customer specifications, engineering blueprints, and more. Every action made is recorded in the PLM, reducing the risk of human error and delays, and all stakeholders have easy access to up-to-date product information, even when changes are made in real-time.
2. Workflow and Change Management
In a similar vein, PLM software can manage workflows, even in the event of sudden changes. This ensures that processes are completed in the correct sequence by the right teams, in alignment with best practices.
When changes happen, and they often do, PLM software offers tracking, documenting, and managing changes to provide transparency to all stakeholders. You can also add permissions that limit changes made by certain teams until leadership authorizes them.
3. Cross-Functional Collaboration and the Supply Chain
PLM software makes collaboration among team members and departments easy. Stakeholders can quickly access relevant information from engineers and designers to suppliers and other third parties. PLMs typically include tools like version control, virtual shared workspaces, and editing in real-time.
These features can also help you manage the complex nuances of the supply chain. PLM software can integrate with your ERP’s supply chain modules to ensure you can get the materials you need for the production of the product. Suppliers can also integrate with your system to provide the most accurate sourcing information.
4. Standards Management: Regulatory and Quality Compliance
PLM systems can be configured to ensure local, federal, and international standards are met. Not only can PLMs keep you in regulatory compliance, but they can also integrate with quality management systems to ensure products are meeting your quality standards, as well. On top of all that, they can also incorporate customer feedback so your team knows whether or not they are meeting customer expectations.
5. End-of-Life Management
PLM systems help with end-of-life management of products. When it’s time to eliminate the product or dispose of old stock, PLM software can lower your costs by suggesting the reusing of old components, and how to recycle and dispose of old products safely and sustainably.
Does PLM Software Integrate with Your ERP?
If you still have questions about using or upgrading PLM software, we’re here to help. Contact us at Godlan and learn how PLM software can drive down manufacturing costs while getting your products to market faster.