What is PLM & Why do I Care?

If your company manufactures a product or provides a service, you are involved in ‘product lifecycle management’.

A Product Lifecycle…

Your product or service begins with an idea and follows through design, product [service] development, sales, support through until your company decides to end of life the product.

Let’s look at a company like Tesla – they make electric cars. Their idea was an electric car and they began collecting requirements data. Their engineering department used all of that requirements data to generate an engineering requirements document. They created their design from the engineering requirements document. At the same time, marketing had to figure out how they will be selling the car; finance had to come up with pricing that would allow the company to become profitable; manufacturing had to figure out how they would manufacture the car; support had to figure out how to maintain the car; etc. This is a gross oversimplification, but you can imagine how much information is created and generated to build, sell and maintain this car. They will be managing [maintaining] the information through all the various changes until the car’s life is ended. For a manufacturer, document management is a big deal…

Why You Should Care…

  • Finding Information

Studies have shown that engineers spend about 25% of their time looking for information. What is the financial impact to your company if you use the wrong information? How often do you recreate information because you can’t find it? How much time [money] could your company save if they could get the right information to the right person at the right time? Wouldn’t it be nice to make revisions without errors?

  • Change control

Managing changes to products or services is one of the most expensive processes in any company. How much time [money] could your company save if you could electronically manage your change process? Most companies reduce the time it takes to approve a change by an order of magnitude.

  • Collaboration

We all strive for a collaborative environment. Wouldn’t it be easier if files could easily be found and shared all over the world? Wouldn’t it be good to avoid dropped balls due to poor collaboration?

  • Compliance

Whether we are talking about ISO9001 or ISO13485, companies must have processes [procedures] in place and need to be able to prove that they are being followed. Compliance with ISO9001 for manufacturers is often required and is generally good for business. Compliance with ISO13485 is required by the FDA. These are key components of Product Lifecycle Management.

  • Return on Investment

A return on investment analysis comparing managing these 4 major areas manually versus using today’s PLM software will [more often than not] show positive numbers.

Contact me if you could use some help…