Although not a common subject on my blog, I am a big believer in Product Life-cycle Management, PLM, solutions as they can greatly simplify the development, management, sale, maintenance, and phase-out of a product in a large organization. To this end, PTC has released a short white paper entitled PLM: An Imperative for Keeping Pace with a Trend-Based Industry that presents some good arguments for such systems that I am going to repeat here, despite the fact it was obviously written to sell PTC’s solution(s) to apparel and related industries.
A good PLM system will provide:
- complete process visibility compared to the limited process visibility that is the norm without a solution
- a centralized, usually web-based, point of control compared to a lack of control point without a solution
- one version of the product status and truth
- workflow management
- unparalleled control over the product life-cycle
- an integration point for the various systems used in the various stages of product design, development, and merchandising
Another interesting point made by the article is that research, including research by KSA, points to reductions in development cycle time by as much as 20% to 50% when PLM technology is employed. In fast moving industries, such as apparel and electronics, where delay equals value, and subsequently revenue, reduction, this benefit of PLM alone should make the identification and adoption of an appropriate solution a priority.
Furthermore, PLM solutions allow sourcing and procurement managers to be involved in the development process from day one. They can analyze suggested materials and processes, determine whether or not they are cost effective, and suggest alternate materials and processes that are likely to produce the same quality at a low cost and, thus, a higher value point to the organization. Considering that up to 80% of a product’s cost can be locked in during the design phase, this benefit alone can often cover the cost of implementing an appropriate PLM system.