Mid-sized business, whether independent companies or divisions of larger enterprises, face an ever increasing combination of challenges in today’s fiercely competitive markets. More demanding customers, new compliance requirements, and global outsourced manufacturing are creating significant complexity during product development. Mid-sized business executives realize that in order to survive they must automate the product development process to achieve:
• Greater new product innovation to fuel future revenue growth,
• Enhanced collaboration to shorten development cycles, and
• Better coordination at product launch to ensure quality and new product margins.
For these executives the need for a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution is clear, however, the critical considerations in deploying a PLM solution are often not obvious. While the need for PLM within mid-sized businesses has grown, conventional systems remain prohibitively expensive and require endless consulting to implement and maintain. Mid-sized business executives are increasingly looking for cost-effective alternatives and seeking guidance on PLM strategy.
There are five practical strategies to realize the benefits of PLM software.
1. Focus on the Business
– Achieving alignment with strategic business priorities is essential. It is important for a mid-sized company to concentrate on a critical business process that must be fixed or improved to compete effectively. PLM is a category of software that can support a variety of business initiatives, and mid-sized companies must align a PLM project with strategic business drivers to accomplish meaningful results.
2. “One Size” Does Not Fit All
– The ability to develop new products should be part of a company’s core competency and the process is integral to satisfying customers. Within mid-sized companies the range of different approaches to product development, and the level of process complexity, vary dramatically. The diverse nature of product development processes makes it impossible for a preconfigured system, or an unchangeable on-demand offering, to support most mid-sized companies without sacrificing their ability to compete.
3. Ensure Ability to Adapt
– Business conditions are increasingly dynamic and mid-sized companies are often faced with the need to adapt to survive. Challenging new customer requirements, unanticipated competition, additional compliance mandates, and global outsourcing needs all change constantly, and sometimes simultaneously. A mid-sized company’s PLM solution must be flexible in order to enable the business to adapt quickly to changes in the market, and to turn threatening circumstances into strategic opportunities.
4. Plan for the Future
– Mid-sized businesses should consider the strategic direction of the company and map out an incremental plan that will support the future. A project roadmap should identify manageable PLM project phases that will speed results and deliver benefits at each stage. By understanding and taking into account the future needs of the business, a PLM solution project will ensure proper alignment with key initiatives and goals.
5. Long Term Ownership Cost
– The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a PLM solution is an important consideration for any mid-sized company. The initial cost of licenses is only the first in a series of expenses that include deployment (including integrations and data migration), recurring fees (maintenance or subscription), personnel & infrastructure, and the often overlooked cost of solution scope. Mid-sized companies need to seriously consider the breadth of a solution’s functionality scope when calculating ownership cost. Limited business functionality in a PLM solution can translate into the need for additional application expenses and unanticipated systems integration fees.