5 Things to Look for in a Product Lifecycle Management Software
August 6, 2020 - August 6, 2020
Has your company accelerated product development? Are you struggling to keep up with this growth when it comes to tracking your products’ lifecycles? If you’re experiencing this issue or if you’re fed up with the hassle of managing hundreds of spreadsheets, it may be time to look into product lifecycle management software (PLM).
Maybe you’ve known for a while that your company could benefit from a new PLM system but you aren’t sure where to get started. Choosing the right PLM software can be a long, complicated, and expensive process, so you’ll want to do as much research as possible.
There are a multitude of options for PLM software, and many of them vary based on specific industry requirements and needs. Before moving forward and investing in PLM software, you may want to consider what features are most important for your specific business needs.
What is Product Lifecycle Management Software?
PLM is software created to manage every phase of a company’s product lifecycle. PLM manages every stage of production, from the time the product is only a concept all the way to distribution. This software is used to help gather all the data relevant to a product and stores it within a centralised location. The use of PLM software streamlines productivity. With PLM, you’ll never have to worry about where to find a file when working on a specific product. Using PLM software can also be beneficial as it helps reduce manufacturing costs and analyse areas of development that could be improved.
Five Must-Have PLM Features
The most important thing to take note of when looking to purchase PLM software is that not all PLM systems are the same. You want to first identify your business’ needs and then look for software that offers specific tools to help meet those needs. Once you’ve found a few PLM programs that seem to fit your business, it’s essential to make sure they also have these five essential features:
- Visualisation and Design Capabilities
A critical element to have within your PLM software is tools for visualisation and design. Having the ability to design a visual of the product can really help get a good idea about what a product will be like when in the designing stage. Finding a PLM with CAD tools lets you build two-dimensional and three-dimensional graphics that represent what the product will look like. This software offers a low-cost way to get an understanding of the product before spending the time to make a physical model.
- Tools for Collaboration
When choosing PLM software, it must be easy for employees to work together on the projects. Finding a PLM software that makes it effortless for employees within various divisions of the company to work together will really help keep your work streamlined. Finding software that updates in realtime can help ensure that no one ever misses an edit to the product development. By keeping everyone up-to-date, the PLM software can help to keep everyone from the suppliers to vendors on the same page, while drastically reducing errors, saving valuable company funds.
- Security, Performance, Reliability
The information you’ll be entering into your PLM software is invaluable. You want to make sure it is as protected as possible. This means safe from getting into the wrong hands and backed up reliably. You want to be sure the information you enter won’t be lost. Ensure that the software you choose has the right performance, reliability, and security features before deciding to use their service.
- Systems Configuration and Integration
You also want to be sure you will be able to use your PLM software with the other systems your business is using. By making sure this feature is available, you will be able to upload product data across every platform. By having the ability to configure your PLM with these other systems, like xCAD or ERP, you will maximise your company’s efficiency. This leaves more time to work on new products.
- Content Authoring
When developing your product, your business will create both external and internal documentation for your product. From technical publications assembly instructions, user guides, service manuals, and internal notes about the product development phases. Your PLM software should have tools available that help with content authoring. By having each document on file and able to be found quickly will significantly improve productivity, knowing that none of the files are likely to be misplaced.
Keeping Track of Your Projects
If you look for these five tools when selecting the right PLM software for your business, you’ll be sure to find one that suits your needs and increases your productivity. With a new PLM system in place, you’ll be able to keep track of all your projects easily. Streamlining your business’ internal processes will give you the freedom you need to keep growing your business.