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Stepping Beyond Software: The Modern Approach to Finding Your PLM Partner

by Lily White
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User-centered product lifecycle management solutions will shape your business tomorrow. Starting from its beginning, the market of PLM software displays continuous growth and is projected to reach 22,566 million US dollars by 2025. That means you’ll be offered many PLM products à la carte.

Which will be best for your business?

In this article, we’ll navigate you through the area of product lifecycle management solutions.

You’ll learn:

– What is product lifecycle management (PLM)?

– What benefits to expect from PLM software?

– How to integrate PLM software successfully?

– How to choose your ultimate PLM software partner?

Interested? Let’s get started.

What Is Product Lifecycle Management?

Product lifecycle management, abbreviated as PLM, is a process where the company manages the product’s lifecycle from developing the product idea through design and production to sales and product retirement.

PLM cycle looks like this:

Product Management Cycle

PLM software helps businesses automate this process.

How does it work?

By implementing PLM software, a company gets real-time access to the whole product value chain, enabling early detection of flaws, fast improvements, exact predictions, and many more. Naturally, this translates into a quicker time-to-market and lower production costs.

Historically, the PLM software was considered a value itself, as it eased the way we did business. Therefore, the first PLM products were built in a software-first approach – meaning the preference of functionality over the research of customer needs.

Yet, this approach proved ineffective over time. It resulted in redundant functionality, low personalization possibilities, and, finally, dropping in the pace of PLM adoption.

Here’s how it looked in practice:

–          You paid for features you never used.

–          Some essential business-specific functionality was missing.

–          The software didn’t integrate organically into your business which led to an interruption in the production chain, loss of visibility into business processes, etc.

–          That all translated into misunderstandings between the software makers and adopters.

In response to these challenges, PLM improved, switching to a customer-centered approach.

Deba Sahoo, a technology council from Forbes says: “You should listen to the voice of the users, buyers, and the market.” That means not only the needs of software buyers (such as enterprise owners) are taken into account, but also the interest of end-users (team members using software) is paid much attention too.

Here’s how it looks now:

–          Software development companies focus on solutions for specific business niches, so the whole IT teams understand industry specificities.

–          They increased the integrability of their products, meaning that modern PLM software will flow organically into any business ecosystem.

–          User needs dictate any functionality developments.

As a result, you get a whole new way to treat your needs and fulfill your requests. For example, MLSDev – software development company specializing in custom software development,  has established a work procedure in which the discovery stage – learning customer needs and taking shots with different solutions, occupies a third of the whole production process in terms of time.

5 Ways to Benefit from PLM Software Implementation

Implementing high-quality PLM software helps you in numerous ways: from an ability to generate prompt requests for quotes from suppliers to better management of seasonal fluctuations.

Here are a couple more ways to benefit from PLM:

Quality – with better insight into production chains, you can effectively remove any faulty elements in the conveyor belt. Also, direct access to customer feedback allows for real-time alerts regarding desired improvements.

Sales – you get a faster identification of sales opportunities to make use of.

Cost – PLM allows for lower prototyping costs and enables savings by reusing original data.

Forecasting – better visibility in the supply and production chains allows forecasting and reducing material loss.

Collaboration – PLM enables the bi-directional flow of data in real-time. That means better knowledge sharing and collaboration.

How to integrate PLM software successfully?

When integrating PLM, you get a chance to select features specific to your business niche. Yet, the possibilities to merge with your business ecosystem vary. Nevertheless, there are several important considerations to integrating PLM software successfully:

  1. If you use a content management system (CMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or a payment system, a part of your product lifecycle management, like sales, is already managed. Shortlist your features and use them to better understand how your PLM software can contribute.
  2. Make a list of integrations you might need (like Shopify, Microsoft Office plug-ins, etc.) and check whether a PLM system you select already supports it.
  3. A PLM integration usually brings together all companies involved in product creation. Therefore, discussing your PLM choice with your partner to consider their needs is necessary.

Once you shortlist your business needs, preferred features, and partner preferences, you can select a PLM vendor.

Note: If you need help in researching a software vendor, check this link for advice:

How to choose your ultimate PLM software partner?

The current market has tons of ready-made solutions and many offers for custom options. To select the right partner for collaboration for any of the two variants, follow these steps:

–          Check if your potential vendor works in your business niche and whether they can show any solutions that can be adapted to your needs.

–          Verify if a vendor has professional representatives available in your time zone.

–          Examine their customer history, and pay special attention to implementation times and costs.

–          Pay attention to independent verification, such as open reviews or certifications. Highly professional vendors usually seek an objective assessment.

This approach will work when you use a ready-made solution or decide to build software for your business specifically.

Final words

To select and implement PLM software successfully, you have to declare your business needs first and be ready to invest time into reviewing options. Sometimes, the first solution may be the best, yet you’ll often have to be cautious with analyzing all factors and making your final choice.


By Anastasiia Lastovetska

Bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.


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