Product configuration management is the capability of systematically organizing, tracking, and controlling the components of a product or multiple products, including hardware, software, documentation, and associated assets to enable quick and accurate configuration of end products, facilitate the reusability of parts and components across products and platforms and ensure consistency and maintainability of products and their components throughout all changes and lifecycles.
It sounds simple, but anyone who ever attempted to implement true product configuration management in their organization realized that it involves more than just buying a new software or installing new functionality for the PLM system that allows managing parts, BOMs and revisions.
The benefits of a well implemented product configuration management solution are huge though and include better BOM accuracy, faster product configuration, and lower product costs as a result of component reuse. In its server business, IBM for example was able to reduce part numbers by 70 – 80% through the use of common and preferred parts, eliminate $700 million from their cost structure and increase the number of new products by 270%.
So what does it take to implement a comprehensive product configuration management solution in a company that reaches across product lines and platforms?