Why Your PLM System Isn’t Enough

I recently participated in a panel discussion at the PLM Roadmap in Gothenburg, Sweden, where there were interesting conversations on the changing role of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in manufacturing.

The questions posed generated thoughtful discussion, beginning with the very first question.

How Does Configit View PLM’s Place within an Expanding and Increasingly Complex Enterprise Application Architecture?

At Configit, we have a view of PLM that is rather different from others. PLM is certainly a key ingredient in the manufacturing process, but we see ourselves as operating beyond the engineering-focused scope of PLM systems. Focusing only on one part of the ‘product story’ creates a blind spot for manufacturers. Because the PLM view is engineering, this view omits critical aspects of the product story, such as selling, manufacturing and service of the product. The result is manufacturers have a very incomplete picture of their product offerings.

The companies we work with all have very complex product portfolios that can be configured to suit an individual customer’s needs. From wind turbines and elevators to buses and hearing aids, we consistently see the same types of challenges.

At the top of the list of challenges is siloed data. When companies have multiple representations of a product existing in different functions of a company, the overall manufacturing process is not aligned, creating delays, re-work and errors.

In short, we believe that PLM just isn’t enough to fully support the complete lifecycle.

The Challenge of Scaling Product Lifecycle Management

How does PLM fit into the broader Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) landscape?

So, How Do We Solve This?

We believe that aligning all product configuration data across functions to one single source of truth will achieve true operational excellence across the enterprise. Our Configuration Lifecycle Management platform extracts configuration data from each function, calculates all buildable, orderable and sellable combinations, and feeds this information back into each of the functions, in their own ‘language.’

Due to the multiple integrations available for the Configuration Lifecycle Management platform, each function continues to use their own tools, such as Windchill, Autodesk, SFDC, and more, allowing work to continue as normal with the least amount of disruption.

What Does a Successful Integration Look Like?

If you ensure value is created across the enterprise from the start, the rate of adoption accelerates. The more that other functions witness successful integrations, the higher the likelihood of cross-functional support.

It is important to remember that not everyone in your organization is an engineer. Breaking down silos requires creating a common language of talking about your products that includes both the customer’s needs and the technical aspects.

For example, one of our earliest customers, Vestas, began their Configuration Lifecycle Management journey with a narrow focus. Starting with a limited scope focused on configurable products and quotations, the project grew to include logistics, service and other functions as each saw the value created in the first phase of the project.

How to Leverage PLM to Master Product Complexity

Discover why integrating a PLM system with Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) provides the scale needed to meet the growing complexity of products.