Charlie Candy, PLM lead EMEA at Autodesk, explores how PLM technology can help manufacturers reclaim their innovation cycles, bolstering their competitiveness in the UK and abroad.
While Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has been around for almost four decades, unlike software systems such as ERP, PLM is still not really perceived as a critical tool within the manufacturing industry.
Instead, many manufacturers are still using traditional manual processes to manage product lifecycles, getting lost in mountains of emails and spreadsheets. As a result, they’re struggling to make sense of the data and risk losing control of processes.
For example, one of the companies Autodesk works with had 27 versions of one product and manufactured it across the globe at different prices – they were effectively going back to the drawing board to design items that already existed, wasting time and money.
Manufacturers can’t afford to work in such a way anymore, not least because it’s not cost efficient, but also because it drains resources that could be focused on innovating the business.
In an age of disruption, innovation is key
Changes in the means of production, increased customer expectation, and the emergence of connected products have changed the game completely – and manufacturers need to keep up or risk losing out to mounting competition from around the world.
The overall benefit of PLM is that it connects people, processes and technology to provide deeper data analysis, enabling manufacturers to make better decisions, faster and utilise technology to remove waste in innovative ways.
Having 27 variants of the same component, for example, could have easily been avoided using PLM. The software can categorise designs by shape and context, creating a catalogue of products that eventually will begin to correlate with projects.
If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of PLM and how to implement it in your business, we’re hosting an introduction to PLM webinar with Autodesk on 9th June 2016 at 10am BST, which you can register for here.
Alternatively, Autodesk is hosting PLM roundtable on Thursday, 26th May 2016 at the Old Trafford Football Ground, which you can register for here.
Essentially, it makes it much easier to keep track of inventory and by knowing what they have and reducing wastage, manufacturers can focus on innovating instead.
While in the early decades PLM was an expensive tool, the barriers to entry have been dramatically lowered by cloud and the emergence of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), manufacturers of all sizes can harness the technology without having to worry about upfront infrastructure investment.
Those manufacturers not thinking about adopting PLM are really missing a trick. We’re at the cusp of a new era of making things and manufacturers need to take advantage of every tool available that can help them work smarter and claim back their innovation cycles, bolstering their competitiveness in the UK and abroad.