Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

Addressing challenges across the product lifecycle

Today’s business climate is made up of global teams, more complex products, and new customer requirements for emerging markets. These challenges represent obstacles to successful product development, efficient manufacturing and service, and ultimately time-to-market and profit. Companies embracing PLM not only survive, but thrive in this environment.

PLM: Improving Business Value

Product Lifecycle Management, or PLM, is a driver of successful product development, and a strategic contributor to business value across the enterprise. PLM helps product manufacturers manage complex, cross-functional processes, coordinating the efforts of distributed teams to consistently and efficiently create the best possible products.

The principal role of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is to manage a product’s definition from concept to retirement.

To be effective, PLM solutions must completely define all aspects of the product’s Bill of Materials (BOM) – including mechanical and electrical design files (MCAD, ECAD), software, documentation, and service information. PLM enables the definition and synchronization of cross-functional views of the BOM: engineering (eBOM), manufacturing (mBOM), and service (sBOM).

Directly, PLM offers significant value to a company, but PLM also enhances other enterprise systems (ERP, CRM) by enabling the sharing of product information throughout the organization.

PLM offers broad and deep capabilities, including:

The result is improved profitability through:

  • Increased revenue via successful product introductions
  • Reduced product and development cost
  • Accelerated time to market
  • Improved product quality

The following business initiatives often represent the areas where PLM can offer the greatest improvement:

  • Global Product Development
  • Quality Management
  • Product Complexity Management
  • Program & Portfolio Management

Global Product Development

Globalization is not just about reducing costs: it’s now about driving business growth in new, expanded markets. To capture these market opportunities, companies need to share information and standardize processes. Today, however, organizations often use multiple, independent systems to manage product information and development activities. This inhibits knowledge capture and collaboration, reducing opportunities to improve and transform product offerings.

PTC improves Global Product Development by providing a single, globally accessible repository with best practices and tools to help drive collaboration inside your global organization.

  • Provide a single source of truth for all product-related information
  • Enable fast and secure collaboration among global sites and value chain partners
  • Share the collective knowledge and experience of the enterprise

Quality Management

The ability to ensure quality, reliability, and safety is integral for product develop¬ment. But many companies address quality too late, using disjoint processes with inadequate cross-functional communication. This limits management insight into many aspects of product quality throughout its lifecycle and restricts access to information needed for quality-critical decisions. The results are evident in costly rework, launch delays, high warranty costs, and even damage to the company’s reputation.

Other approaches often consider product quality, reliability, risk management, and process quality as separate, disjoint activities taking place across multiple, disconnected systems.

PTC’s Quality Management solutions unites these activities together and associates them to the product definition – including the Bill of Material, virtual product model, and other related product information and analyses. This enables an enterprise-wide approach to:

  • Establish an authoritative source of quality
  • Connect quality, risk, and validation plans across the organization
  • Reuse lessons learned to close the loop on quality issues

Product Diversity

To better meet customer-specific and market-specific demands, companies are increasing the number of products and product variants they manufacture. The need to manage this growing complexity of product offerings ties up R&D budget and capacity that could otherwise be used for new products or market opportunities. Too often, innovation takes a back seat to validating product configurations.

Manufacturers must find a way to optimize their designs processes to maximize reuse across configurations and minimizing costly redundancies.

PTC’s approach to Product Complexity Management provides manufacturers with a way to efficiently deliver regional or market-specific products without increasing operational complexity. This allows manufacturers to achieve product diversity by:

  • Architecting product platforms as a collection of reusable modules
  • Validating product platforms and customer-specific configurations
  • Propagating configuration information to create manufacturing and service plans

Program & Portfolio Management

Manufacturers are under increased pressure to deliver new products faster. But too often, product development resources are spent on products that fail. A lack of insight into how projects are performing across the portfolio makes it difficult for manufacturers to prioritize projects based on strategic objectives, to allocate resources to the best products, to execute new product development across organizational teams, and to make informed decisions based on risks and returns.

Identifying the right products and services to create a competitive portfolio demands insight into requirements, performance, and profitability.

PTC’s offers an approach to Program & Portfolio Management that can help by:

  • Capturing the voice of the customer to establish requirements for success
  • Enabling program management to monitor progress and ongoing performance
  • Providing insight to guide investments in successful portfolio products and programs

Deploying a PLM solution is often a complex, long-term program with multiple stakeholders and extensive requirements for process and technology change.

To minimize risk and accelerate time to value, the most successful companies pay special attention to four critical success factors in planning, implementation, and adoption.

  1. Strategic business alignment: Investing in up-front planning and alignment around detailed implementation roadmaps and scorecards that help ensure program accountability for business value, not just technical improvements.
  2. Process-based solution design: Defining priorities for business process improvement and standardization, and then looking to software capabilities that support process change. The process leads and the technology follows.
  3. Reduced customization of PLM software: Holding the line on software customization to keep costs in check and preserve flexibility for future growth and change.
  4. Comprehensive, role-based learning and adoption: Taking a strategic and role-based approach to learning and adoption of the new processes and tools, including ongoing communication about the value of change and customized programs for people and work groups with different roles and responsibilities.

Learn more about deployment approach, experience, and consulting services offered by PTC Global Services.