Product lifecycle management (PLM) software is well known as 3D CAD management, but UK PLM distributers, Design Rule is looking to break these stereotypes. It turns out, PLM is a powerful tool which many different capabilities. According to Geoff Turner, PLM consultant at Design Rule, there are five innovative uses of PLM, from virtual showrooms to helping a business to become more ‘green’.
Business to business fast tracking
PLM allows companies to build up a catalogue of products which can then be used as a virtual showroom. Using life-like 3D assets, future products can be shown to prospective buyers ahead of production, accelerating business-to-business interactions and retail feedback. Buyers can select their items, colours and sizes earlier than ever with this feature. Analytical information can also be retrieved showing which products are selling and where, allowing businesses to use this data to inform future development decisions.
The engineering, manufacturing and construction industries can be highly fragmented, with different teams working in different locations. It is critical that project teams are able to collaborate effectively throughout the entire project, from design to manufacturing. Using the PLM platform, everyone involved in a project can share ideas, which can be discussed, honed and evolve into further products or enhancements. This is a high-tech alternative to a round table, increasing visibility of workers and helping everyone to stay on time. Stakeholders can also get in on the action, contributing their thoughts or concerns on this platform.
Globalisation – design anywhere
You can manage worldwide deliverables all in one management tool. Many different parts, made all over the world, need to be made to certain specifications in-line with the legislations in the country where it will be produced. Equally, as more companies are expanding their global footprint, selling internationally can get complicated without the right software. PLM can manage country specific variants and the documentation to go with it including the customer literature and inserts.
Simple document management
The document management aspect of PLM allows customer specific product information to be instantly accessible, which streamlines the sales and support processes. Companies have found they can save lots of money from making this customer data highly accessible, as they don’t need to search for information and call customers repeatedly about small details.
To stay competitive in today’s market, environmental compliance and product sustainability are key elements for success. PLM can help phase-out non-sustainable components and materials, and bring in ‘green’ materials that are more sustainable. PLM can also help to manage waste disposal processes throughout the entire manufacturing process so that companies can choose to recycle where possible.