Products are the lifeblood for brands and retailers. They exist because they have a product to sell. Yet, bringing these products to market requires companies to keep track of many moving parts. Doing so without a standardized process leads to bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
Product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process companies use to manage products from development to disposal. Before the prominence of digital channels, implementing PLM was painful. But now, PLM serves as a backbone for brands and retailers to compete in the modern world.
Competition is fast, and speed to market is critical. Thus, you must innovate and launch new products to remain relevant as consumers can easily compare brands and notice who has newer and more varied products. So companies with a diverse and innovative selection are the most attractive.
With PLM, companies can bring better products to market faster. It does so by improving efficiency, standardizing processes, and reducing waste. In this post, we’ll examine how brands and retailers can implement PLM to yield its maximum benefits.
The Importance of PLM Software
Several cross-functional teams are involved in the process of introducing a new product. There’s the design team, engineering team, manufacturing units, and suppliers for the parts to create the product. This whole ecosystem needs to be in sync.
Being in sync can be challenging as all these teams work on different aspects. They also tend to work in different geographic areas, which spreads resources across disparate systems.
As a result, many teams work in silos, introducing problems. As companies grow and the supply chain of the modern world becomes fully integrated, you need to have a platform and processes that connect all stakeholders.
PLM software provides a data store for all the information involved in designing and manufacturing a product. With a centralized system, critical information is readily available to different teams across the organization.
PLM software facilitates this process by integrating with other business systems such as ERP systems, product information management (PIM) systems, and CAD systems. The efficiency of the design and production cycles improves as the software brings together the siloed teams and processes.
Best Practices When Introducing PLM
Following these best practices when implementing PLM helps ensure your company achieves the best possible outcome:
PLM enables companies to innovate culture in a structured way. While PLM can standardize processes, it should not be too restrictive. Setting up too many fixed rules and constraints may break a company’s spirit. It’s important to find a balance between standardization and letting people work how they prefer.
Your PLM system must integrate with the best-in-breed solutions, not just ERP and CAD systems. For many designers, software tools are like a religion. They have their preferred tool, avoiding different ones. A fully integrated PLM solution lets designers use their tools while ensuring others are on the same page.
Data and analytics
To prove the value of implementing PLM, you must determine what KPIs best measure the success of your implementation. That requires you to assess the exact outcomes you aim to achieve with PLM. It could be (to name a few):
- Better control on inventory
- Better management of suppliers
- Reducing (re)work
- Reducing scrap or waste
With a better understanding of your objectives, you’ll know which metrics to focus on as you build your PLM strategy.
In a vastly interconnected, digital (and evolving) world, robust integration of people, processes, and technology must be central to any company’s strategy. A modern PLM that can bring product developers together can also bring competitive products to life with fast speed to market.
A sound product also needs a strong PIM. This gives a company the ability to enrich product information, syndicate it to multiple channels, and ultimately sell it. At fabric, we invest in looking at the art of possibility, the changing market trends, and the fast-moving technology landscape.
Competitive product go-to-market strategies require PLM and PIM to work hand in hand. As a modern, API-driven solution, fabric provides more intuitive integrations with your existing legacy systems and new technologies.