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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software has become an essential tool for businesses across various industries. Everyone is seeking ways to streamline their product development processes to stay ahead in the contemporary business world. PLM software is a proven game-changer, enabling companies to accelerate time to market, enhance communication, collaboration and visibility, and ultimately drive innovation.

In this blog post I will be outlining few key points that I learned during the panel discussion video segment – “PLM Uncovered”. Where we had the following experts from SAP Partner organizations joining in:

You can watch the full video segment linked at the end of the blog.

PLM software accelerating time-to-market for both discrete and process industries.

Time-to-market is a critical factor that can make or break a company's success. The ability to bring products and services to market quickly and efficiently can provide a significant competitive advantage. By providing a single source of truth, PLM software ensures that all stakeholders have access to accurate and up-to-date information, fostering collaboration and reducing errors.

PLM software provides enhanced communication, collaboration, and visibility into the product creation and change process, resulting in a drastic reduction in time to market. Historically, organizations had silos of information and serial process flows, where data was passed from one function to another. However, PLM acts as an integration layer that connects all functional areas, allowing for parallel processing and real-time visibility across the entire supply chain. This optimization is beneficial for both discrete and process industries, although there are some differences in how PLM is implemented in each sector.

While the benefits of PLM software are applicable across industries, there are specific intricacies when it comes to the discrete and process industries.

Discrete Industries: In discrete industries, such as automotive, aerospace, and consumer electronics, PLM software plays a crucial role in managing complex product configurations and variant management. With features like product configurators, bill of materials (BOM) management, and change management, PLM software enables organizations to handle the intricacies of configuring and managing multiple product variations efficiently. This capability is essential for meeting customer demands, reducing time spent on customization, and accelerating time to market.

Process Industries: In process industries, such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage, PLM software focuses on managing recipes, formulations, and compliance requirements. By providing tools for recipe management, formula optimization, and regulatory compliance, PLM software helps organizations streamline their product development processes. This streamlining ensures adherence to safety and quality standards, reduces the risk of non-compliance, and expedites the time it takes to bring new products to market.

Discrete manufacturing involves managing complex multi-level Bill of Materials (BOMs) with intricate structures. Variant configuration is often used for similar products with minor differences. CAD integration is crucial in this sector to manage product models and integrate information with downstream processes. On the other hand, process industries focus on formulation and recipes, with strict regulatory requirements. Manufacturing plant variables and coordination with operations based on defined thresholds are essential. Despite these differences, both industries benefit from improved communication and efficiency enabled by PLM software.

PLM software bringing value to customers.

  • Streamlined Collaboration: PLM software facilitates seamless collaboration among cross-functional teams, including design, engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain. By breaking down silos and enabling real-time communication, PLM software ensures that all stakeholders are aligned and working towards a common goal. This collaborative environment significantly reduces time-consuming bottlenecks and accelerates decision-making processes.

  • Efficient Design and Development: PLM software offers robust design and development capabilities, allowing organizations to create, simulate, and validate product designs quickly and accurately. With integrated tools for computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE), designers and engineers can iterate on designs rapidly, identify and rectify issues early in the development stage, and optimize product performance. This efficiency in design and development translates into reduced time spent on rework and faster time to market.

  • Enhanced Supply Chain Management: PLM software integrates with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, enabling seamless coordination between product development and supply chain operations. By providing visibility into inventory levels, demand forecasts, and supplier performance, PLM software helps organizations optimize their supply chain processes. This optimization minimizes delays caused by material shortages, improves production planning, and ensures timely delivery of products to market.

PLM software plays a crucial role in customer success by providing a trusted database, ensuring consistent and reliable data throughout the product lifecycle. It enables the sharing and reuse of data, facilitating collaboration with external business partners, suppliers, and internal stakeholders. The transparency and workflow capabilities offered by PLM software allow for effective collaboration, leading to faster and more efficient processes. Success stories shared by the panelists highlight how PLM software has brought value to customers by streamlining processes, improving transparency, and enabling concurrent engineering.

The world of PLM is constantly evolving to meet changing business needs and regulatory requirements. There is a growing emphasis on sustainability and the adoption of digital supply chains. PLM systems are moving towards cloud-based offerings, enabling remote work and collaboration. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to play a significant role in PLM, although specific use cases are still developing. The panelists emphasize the importance of executive support, people, and process change in successful PLM implementations.

Listening to the valuable insights from the experts, it was clear that embracing PLM software is no longer an option but a necessity for organizations striving to thrive in product development space. PLM software has emerged as a transformative technology that empowers organizations to optimize their product development processes. By accelerating time to market, improving communication and collaboration, and enhancing visibility, PLM software enables companies to stay ahead in today's competitive market. Whether in discrete or process industries, the benefits of PLM software are undeniable. Embracing this technology can unlock new opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, ultimately driving business success.

PLM software is a critical tool for accelerating time to market, improving communication, and driving customer success in both discrete and process industries. It enables organizations to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and ensure data integrity throughout the product lifecycle. As the PLM landscape evolves, organizations need to embrace change, leverage emerging technologies, and focus on sustainability to stay competitive in the market. PLM is not just a technology but also a mindset that can transform businesses and drive innovation.

If you want to build a risk resilient and sustainable supply chain that provides actionable information, supports product innovation and empowers people, check out SAP PLM software. Take your design processes to a new level and connect extended enterprise to contextualize decisions and collaborate easier with the suppliers. Learn how close feedback loop can accelerate innovation and explore the key role of product design in sustainability.

Learn about solutions from SAP’s PLM Portfolio:

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