What is PLM?
As we’ve seen, the product lifecycle contains many elements; PLM is the system that manages them. Since the product lifecycle contains such a great number of interconnected processes, it is important to use a standardized system to coordinate the creation of each of a business's products. Simply put, PLM is this system. And, as it is so complex, PLM is almost exclusively used in the form of computer software that contains all of the features necessary to facilitate and even help automate the various tasks involved with the creation of a product.
PLM Software Benefits
One of the main things to consider when understanding the product lifecycle is that each phase of the process is iterative on the previous. Therefore, information visibility and sharing is extremely important. However, this is a task that is difficult to perform without the proper software to strictly manage, categorize and track the information and people involved in a project. Without it, information can get lost, become difficult to find or can be accidentally modified, leading to increased back and forth communication and, ultimately, loss of efficiency.
As data sharing is tantamount to the successful deployment of a new product, PLM software is often incorporated into mobile apps and even made to integrate with common design tools such as Adobe Illustrator. This ensures that the process of sharing data itself is simple and time efficient.
As such, the overall advantage of using a PLM software is the acceleration of the product lifecycle. PLM allows businesses to increase product output, quality and competitiveness. It allows companies to focus on data management and analysis instead of data entry.
During the design phase of the product lifecycle, many iterative designs are created and prototyped before the version that goes to market is finalized. Often, those who are designing the prototypes and those who are fabricating the prototypes belong to two different teams. A PLM system with built-in project management can facilitate the design process and reduce the amount of iterative designs because miscommunication is reduced and a structured place to store product information is offered.
This is but one instance where proper project management can increase the efficiency of a product’s lifecycle, but it can be used across all phases to further improve efficiencies. Importantly, the use of timelines for project managers and teams allow for smoother production as well as collaborative design and production phases.
Product Information Management
Since all the data associated with a given product is centralized through a PLM, some PLM software can even act as a Product Information Management system. This means that businesses can push product data to different distributors, brick & mortars or online stores, without having to email anyone or open a spreadsheet. This can drastically reduce the time it takes to get a product to market. With VisualPLM.net™ you can easily use all of your existing product data to push product listings to Shopify, Magento and even Amazon.
As a rule of thumb, a PLM strives to accelerate the product lifecycle by automating and managing the processes and people involved with the design, production and distribution of a new product. It achieves this largely by maximizing information visibility. PLM software is essential for remaining competitive and producing new articles on budget and on time.
The Future of PLM
Internet of Things changing the product lifecycle management
IOT is on everybody's mind and is changing the way we are interacting with apparel before, during and after the product lifecycle. Connected wearables are expected to close the loop of the product lifecycle management by empowering apparel companies with vital data on major processes.
Sensors will provide a direct access to real time data that connects and communicate with products during the production process. This foundation will optimize future service schedules and reduce maintenance costs. IOT will also provide an unparalleled opportunity for business to know how customers are using their products instantly allowing their team to improve the product management from design to commercialization
Product Lifecycle management everywhere, anytime.
For the better part of a decade smartphones have revolutionized the way we live and work. Product lifecycle management is expected to become increasingly user friendly, enabling professionals to manage the product virtually everywhere and anytime.
This combination of interconnected device, electronic and software pieces have certainly created technical challenges and are demanding deeper integration than ever into the product development process and overall lifecycle for software providers such as Visual 2000.
Lean manufacturing disruption
Moving forward total connectivity is going to become an integral part of manufacturing process and become more accessible for every size of business.It will disrupt the way we design, manifacture and market our products by reducing time to market cycles and enable a new dimension of personalisation for the custumers. We can also expect a growth of lean methodologies, currently employed by modern software developers in traditional industries such as the apparel or footwear market.