A recent Industry Week article, that noted that adoption of product lifecycle management (PLM) technology is reaching record levels and that the PLM market experienced a stronger-than-expected 13.5% growth rate to reach an estimated 24.3 Billion in 2007, also reported that implementations can quickly develop returns on investment of 100% to 300%. Considering the needs for manufacturers to find every savings opportunity possible with record-high commodity costs and a global economic down-turn on the horizon, this is one opportunity your manufacturing organization should not miss.
As I noted last year in my post on PLM for trends based industries, a PLM systems, which enables the process of managing the entire life-cycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal, will provide:
- complete process visibility compared to the limited process visibility that is the norm without a PLM 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
In addition, as per the Industry Week article, the broader scope of today’s PLM solutions enables manufacturing managers to collaboratively reach upstream into the early stages of portfolio management as well as downstream into the integration with manufacturing. In other words, enhanced productivity of existing resources is the result of PLM’s ability to integrate the various value chains. This is because, with PLM, multiple views of the product can be quickly and easily shared among different people of the organization in real time and the collaboration features allow people to communicate, share ideas and interact dynamically around a particular product.
Furthermore, PLM is not just for manufacturers — it’s for any organization that buys a lot of manufactured parts, especially if a good percentage of those parts are custom. The best results often come from innovation that arises as a result of collaboration between the buying organization that has the expertise in new product design and the custom manufacturer that has the expertise in product manufacturing. So where should you look for these solutions? I’d start with some of the companies I covered here on this blog in the past, which include Akoya, Apriori, Arena, Co-exprise, and MFG.com. Each of their solutions can help you identify and realize cost-savings opportunities when properly applied in your product life-cycle. And a couple of them can even help you manage your product life-cycle – so check them out, move forward, and see if you can’t get yourself some of that 100% to 300% ROI!