Innovation, Automation and Integration of Management Processes
The important product life cycle phases include:
- Market and requirements analysis
- Draft and design
- Development or construction
- Validation of quality and conformity to requirements (tests)
- Error correction and optimization
- Production (manufacturing)
- Marketing and use of the finished product
- Analysis of the customer experience (Customer Experience, CX)
- Expansion, improvement and further development
For all departments to work together efficiently, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) must be well organized and supported by modern methods, technologies and tools. For this purpose, PLM suppliers provide a complete management system based on PLM software. PLM organization and methods play a decisive role in the development, production and successful marketing of competitive, high-quality products. Advanced Product Lifecycle Management software makes it possible to implement these methods and integrate them into production and management processes. Software developed by a leading PLM provider knows the characteristics and specifics of the new product, its quality requirements, development phases and production technologies, links all PLM processes and phases in a result-oriented manner, consolidates information flows and is available to all employees and teams involved.
Decisions made in early design and development phases can be critical for the quality and market success of the future product. PLM providers take this into account in their software solutions. Practice shows that the best products and results can only be achieved if the teams do not work strictly according to the phase model, but rather in an initiative, agile and goal-oriented manner, in order to share their information, competencies, experience and know-how with other teams and to actively participate in other project phases. PLM vendors consider the best DevOps methods (Development & Operations) and support efficient agile collaboration with feature-rich collaboration tools.
Functions, tasks and areas of application
PLM providers ensure that the software functions are not only comprehensive and versatile but can also be individually configured and adapted to perform specific tasks. The software works intelligently and automates various tasks. Data is collected, consolidated, updated and stored in a central database by all teams in an automated mode. With the software, the PLM provider enables efficient control over PLM processes and helps specialists not only to perform their tasks better and faster, but also to increase productivity, improve collaboration, reduce costs and automate and optimize workflows.
PLM providers implement software solutions based on the best PLM and industry experience. The individual software components used in the product lifecycle cover various areas such as construction & design (CAD), modeling and engineering (digital prototyping, model-based systems engineering), production planning and control (PPC), technology development, sales planning, sales logistics, statistics and reporting, customer service and support, and even recycling and end-of-life management.
In order for Product Lifecycle Management to function consistently and successfully, it is important to integrate PLM software with other management systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and QM (Quality Management) within the framework of a company-wide document management system (DMS) and to provide employees and management with a uniform platform.
Laws, guidelines and standards
The PLM software itself is also a product that has its life cycle. To ensure that the investment in the software is worthwhile and that the software remains future-proof, integrable and expandable, it is important to bring both the software and the PLM methods used into line with recognized industrial standards.
The Product Lifecycle Management software should support the compliance with national and international laws and guidelines, for example with regard to used traceability and documentation of all technological steps, processes and changes. The manufacturer must fully document the entire process of manufacturing his products. The documentation of all work steps and results must be securely stored as part of the document management system. This applies both to the manufacturing phase and to the entire service life up to product decommissioning, consumption and recycling.
To protect consumers and users, the Product Liability Act obliges PLM providers and companies to observe and comply with the following legal requirements:
- The history of safety-relevant components must be fully documented and traceable.
- The documentation of product manufacturing must be kept for at least ten years.
- Commitment to at least ten years of product monitoring and recall in case of a defective product series.
Modifications to the product (changed design, technology, components, materials, etc.) must be included in the electronic files for the purpose of providing evidence. The requirements of the Product Liability Act cannot be met without PLM software. In the information database of the PLM system, the test and inspection records, documents of the suppliers, work and assembly steps as well as other documents including their history can be securely stored and managed.
The Product Lifecycle Management System can answer questions about specific product changes quickly and reliably. Due to the Product Liability Act, the software must be able to retrieve the product documents and certificates for delivery, production, quality assurance and service quickly and at any time within a certain period and delivery status. The software supports a complete process documentation and controls the release and change process.
Advantages of PLM software
Various PLM vendors bring their software to the market. The choice of software depends on the size of the company, the type of production (mechanical, electronic or software products) as well as the concept, strategy and availability of a company-wide IT infrastructure. PLM software solutions differ according to the range of functions and specialization for specific industries. A suitable and correctly implemented software can bring the company many advantages. The software reduces development and production costs, ensures product quality, optimizes operational procedures and information flows.
Modern PLM software is becoming increasingly important in global competition and is becoming the driving force behind innovation. It enables efficient and cost-effective management of information, information support of processes and automation of the workflow in all phases of the product life cycle - from idea generation to design, production and logistics to service, disposal and recycling. The PLM system provides a common basis for consolidating management processes in all areas of the company, but requires a new corporate strategy for comprehensive digitization and automation, and requires technological modernization and standardization.
The Product Lifecycle Management software makes a decisive contribution to the economic success and technological progress of the company. The value-added potential generated by the software can be used to bring new first-class products to market quickly and to drive the innovation process forward. With PLM software, optimal decisions can be made in every phase of the product lifecycle, collaboration can be organized efficiently, productivity and quality can be increased, and economic goals can be better achieved.