The business world is constantly changing. Whether it’s due to the unstable economy – or technological shifts and advances – continual shifts can make for an unpredictable climate in which to run a company.
Introducing product lifecycle management (PLM) into the mix can help to improve the efficiency of your manufactured products and eliminate waste. There are also important steps in the process which can strengthen your operations and allow for innovative growth.
What is Product Lifecycle Management?
PLM can help improve the way you manage the cycle of your productions and integrate the systems, procedures and processes. It uses a strategic approach which focuses on development, management, maintenance, distribution and product application – resulting in better time management and lower production costs.
While product management looks at an overview of the entire product lifecycle, product lifecycle management enables a company to enhance its engineering methods, in order to keep up with the latest changes in their industry. With a more comprehensive plan in place, business owners are able to deliver current information to their management teams and improve customer relationships.
The Lifecycle Process
There will be a strong focus on specific areas of your business as you proceed through the lifecycle process. The following are several important stages:
Development - In order for a product to start the lifecycle process, it needs the right development. Research is the key to understand a product’s function and why it works. In order for it to be a success, a company will also have to devote the right time and money into its production.
Finances - Once you have an idea for the type of product that you’re going to launch, you will need the necessary funds to sustain its life. This includes the initial development phase, getting the notoriety for the item, as well as later stages that support the product’s maturity and growth. While the profits from the product’s sales will help later on, your business needs to stay on top of the costs and financing as the manufacturing process changes with the current market. This will also affect your ability to maximize the product’s profit over the years.
Marketing - The marketing process of a product will go through a series of changes over the years. While initially you’ll want to introduce the product to your customers and achieve brand identity, you also need to adapt your advertising to the changes to be made. Your customers’ preferences will change over the years, so be prepared to launch new products along the way (or to make changes which will assure the items are more useful in the future marketplace).
Manufacturing - Related costs of manufacturing are bound to change over as material and labor expenses rise, especially if you add new products or innovation. PLM will allow you to assess these costs, whether your production declines or skyrockets. When you need to increase efficiency, or fine tune the manufacturing process, a PLM can give you a much more realistic view of the outlook.
Data - In order to make a product viable, data must be gathered and analyzed. This is necessary to be able to determine how effective your marketing campaigns are, and whether your company is growing as it should. PLM can monitor that data and deliver it to the necessary departments, so decisions can be made which produce the best results.
One of the most important benefits of PLM is the improved communications and organization between various departments of a business. Product lifecycle management also affords you the opportunity to manage and take control over your inventory of products. Not only can you market products faster and easier, you will also be able to provide superior customer support and find cost-efficient ways to develop, manufacture and deliver your items. This type of visibility allows greater vigilance of a product’s performance throughout an entire lifecycle, ensuring smart long-term decisions for future success.
Laura O’Donnell writes smart content on behalf of the product developers at Pivot International. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills for engaging others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling, and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn.