Product variant management is key to customer segmentation strategies that maximize market share and profitability.
Variant management maximizes reuse of trusted engineering artifacts throughout the product lifecycle, reducing overall engineering costs.
The ability to quickly swap in lower-cost materials, rapidly create a customer special, or respond promptly to competitive threats all require advanced variant management capabilities.
Variant management enables organizations to focus their quality processes on shared parts and platforms, reducing the overall cost of delivering high-quality products.
Maximize reuse and bring new products to market in a fraction of the time otherwise required.
Option pool/option set: Provide enterprise management and visibility to options and logic, removing the need for spreadsheets
Advanced logic: Describe more complex variable logic for configure-to-order needs with range-based variables, case tables, and more
Product family matrix: Quickly see how configurations are planned and make updates as needed
Independent assigned expressions: Update customer offerings without requiring engineering to make logic-only updates to BOMs
Rules logic: Create logic containing a variety of rules that define how products can be configured. Create and tie together engineering and marketing logic
Multiple development streams: Manage multiple parallel development branches. Gain full control over merged changes to maintain high product quality
Change management: Synchronize changes from design through to plant-specific production information managed in ERP systems with local and global rule effectivity management
Configure variant BOM: Create configurations for order specific variants or use these to describe stock offerings based off a common platform
See examples of how your peers are using PLM for product variant management.
Product options and variants are closely related, yet distinct, capabilities. Product options are simply variants selected by the customer at time of purchase. Choosing the fabric for a sofa, adding an entertainment package to an automobile, or specifying business class seating on an airplane are all examples of product options. In contrast, product variants are pre-selected and produced by the manufacturer, and customers choose to buy one or the other. For example, manufacturing both 3-speed and 8-speed blenders is a product variant decision. Both product options and variants require advanced variant management capabilities.
Product platforms are a widely adopted strategy that can maximize market share, quality, and affordability. Product platforms are simply product portfolios built from inception with variability in mind. A base product platform identifies key features and functionality common to all planned variants. By designing a series of products around a shared set of fixed and variable components, organizations reduce engineering effort and extend production capacity. Product platforms require advanced variant management capabilities, including product family management, the ability to reuse components while minimizing data redundancy, and the ability to manage upstream and downstream product data.