Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a strategic software solution that optimizes product development and innovation by integrating data, workflows, and systems across a value chain. This fuels collaboration between different processes and departments while dropping costs that go into developing new products.
In the last thirty years, PLM systems have evolved in many different ways. In the beginning, on-premise PLM systems primarily focused on providing enterprises with robust security and collaboration features, as well as support for many processes and functions throughout the product lifecycle to address challenges beyond core product development. All processes had to be carried out manually and were both time-consuming and labor-intensive. The legacy tools were neither cohesive nor user-friendly; they were mainly CAD-centric and catered to the product's engineering side. With globalization, outsourcing, and time-to-market pressures in the 1990s, companies have expanded their product data management (PDM) deployments.
Possibilities with Cloud PLM
The emergence of Cloud PLM has been of strategic importance to enterprises in terms of its ability to catalyze and identify tasks related to each process that goes into building the product. It enables industries like medical devices, high-tech manufacturers and many others to design and deliver high-quality, compliant products while optimizing efficiency by shortening time-to-market, primarily by ensuring data visibility and accessibility for all enterprise members. Cloud PLM’s design continues to evolve to ensure consistency through each stage of the process. It does not solely cater to the engineering aspect but incorporates structures that maintain the three tenets of a value chain: innovation, development, and commercialization.
1. Systematic Innovation
By working as a single repository for the collection, collaboration, and traceability of each innovation, Cloud PLM enables a bottom-up approach allowing all stakeholders to contribute to product ideation and definition processes. A simultaneous top-bottom approach is used to analyze the financial impact and strategic alignment.
Product data is secure and a lot more consistent, which accelerates the development process. AMLs, BOM, and documents all can be accessed and reviewed through the same system from which older structures have expanded to provide room for more information and efficiency. For instance, BOM is no longer just a hierarchical list of parts; it has expanded to include parts’ specifications, instructions, SOPs, design reports, qualifications, and test methods in addition to the contents of parts required to go into building new products.
Cloud PLM ensures a superior customer experience by maintaining accurate data across the enterprise and localizing product information for target markets. This cuts down the labor and time that is required to launch the product and meet the relevant industry’s requirements. Everything from product revision to implementing change orders is automatically updated on Cloud PLM by the cross-functional enablement across the product network. Data does not need to be extracted from various sources because it is readily available in the same system to everyone, from manufacturers to suppliers. Additionally, multiple change orders can be introduced and processed at the same time, unlike in on-premise systems.
Future Vision of Cloud PLM
Cloud PLM is set out to unlock more possibilities with the convergence of technologies that Industry 4.0 brings. Cloud PLM allows automation across the product life cycle and better decision-making by providing a platform that ties the digital thread with enterprise products. Integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into Cloud PLM allows manufacturers to configure product design requirements based on usage patterns inferred from the real data that the IoT equipment receives. IoT triggers can automatically report issues into the system, which are then processed accordingly. Moreover, IoT analyses and field tests through apps can be used to assess consumer preferences that can be factored into the product configuration.
The pace with which IoT is fuelling the Fourth Industrial Revolution and companies adopting PLM Cloud is accelerating. The collaboration of everything that falls under them is expected to yield a greater return on investment through performance, scalability, and security while providing self-service, purpose-built, and role-based applications.