How to Transition to a New Product Lifecycle Management System

A product lifecycle management system enhances communication and teamwork across manufacturing departments, stakeholders, and external partners. It promotes organization for materials like design drawings and manufacturing plans. The software also enables businesses to generate analytics and reports, supporting data-driven decision-making and consistent process improvement. Here are some ways to transition to a new product lifecycle management software:

Define Goals and Expectations

Before choosing a product lifecycle management software (PLM), clarify the business goals you intend to attain with the new system. Goals could include improving collaboration, reducing time-to-market, enhancing product quality, or optimizing resource utilization. You can also break down these goals into measurable objectives to help you determine if the software has a good return on investment.

Identify bottlenecks, redundancies, and areas where communication and collaboration need improvement. For manufacturing companies, this could include inefficiencies in locating past product designs and suppliers. When defining goals and expectations, involve end-users, design engineers, project managers, quality assurance teams, and IT personnel to gather various view points. During the initial stage, allocate sufficient budget for the implementation, including costs for software, training, hardware, and potential downtime.

Choose the Right Software

When selecting a PLM system, define the scalability requirements based on your organization’s growth projections. Check if the software can handle an increasing volume of data, technical drawings, and users as your business expands. You can also evaluate security requirements like data encryption and access controls.

Look for PLM software with specific functionalities, such as product data management, that enables the control of different versions of design documents. The system can have document management functionality for storing and managing design specifications, manuals, and compliance documents. It can also allow manufacturing companies to search past technical drawings for specific parts or keywords.

Integrate With Existing Systems

Identify the current resource planning system in place and determine the integration points for the PLM system. Include the integration of data related to materials, inventory, orders, and financials. You can also review computer-aided design (CAD) tools for product design and development. Make sure the integration promotes the smooth transfer of design data, drawings, and models between the CAD and PLM systems.

Train Team Members

When training team members, introduce basic PLM concepts, explaining the purpose, benefits, and the role it plays in the product development lifecycle. Teach the team about the PLM system’s user interface, navigation, and features. This allows them to access and retrieve information more easily. Train users on how to input, manage, and update product data, including creating and revising technical drawings and managing product documentation.

Update Your Product Lifecycle Management Software

Businesses can transition to a new PLM by defining goals, choosing the right software, integrating with current systems, and training teams. Trusted vendors can help organizations select a suitable PLM system with customized features to streamline manufacturing operations. Beneficial features to look for include scalability, version control, advanced search options, and technical drawing organization. Schedule a demo with your chosen software vendor to understand the software’s features and how they can enhance manufacturing processes.