People seemingly cannot agree on who really needs Product Lifecycle Management, or PLM. What is my response? EVERY business needs PLM! Why, you ask, well, let me tell you.
Every business has a large pile of information that supports their products. It may be in the form of paper, but thankfully today, most businesses have a large amount of digital information that supports their business. Managing that virtual information is what allows the company to continue delivering products and support to their customers. PLM is all about managing virtual information to support physical products.
Some people believe that only companies with very large, or very complex products need PLM. Of course, these large companies need PLM because it is impossible for them to manage all the information that is required to build their products. However, with the increasing speed required for new product introductions, with the increasing pressure of global competitors, and with the increased complexity of all products, every business can be improved with the benefits of PLM.
PLM supports the virtual product, no matter what that product is. You may not have 3D CAD models of your product, but you do have a Bill of Information of some type that is used to create your product. Whether you have recipes, or formulas, or patterns, or unique process steps, or whatever, there is some type of information that must be managed. This is true whether you are a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker. And, all businesses want to capture feedback from customers no matter what the products or deliverable.
For example, let’s say you run a cupcake business. Your final product is a tasty cupcake that customers will eat. Now, after the cupcake is eaten, you don’t wanna know what happens! But, your job is not done. You would like to capture a response from your customer about that cupcake, and then use that information to enhance your recipes, improve your processes, and develop new, innovative cupcakes. Your business has many recipes and processes that support the creation of your tasty cupcakes, these must be modified and continuously managed to deliver only the very best products to your customers; that’s PLM.
There are also many new technologies that have the potential to change your business and improve your interactions with customers, suppliers, partners, and others. If your processes, recipes, and other information are not managed properly, it will be difficult, or impossible to take advantage of new innovation in your business.
For example, improvements in mobile technologies, and the capabilities within social networking tools provide a rich new playground that can add innovation to any business. But, it you don’t have your basic processes and products managed properly with PLM, you will struggle to take advantage of these new opportunities; Your competitors are taking advantage of them today!
So, what do you think! I am always interested in feedback, and I really want to eat a cupcake now!