Watching the endless news on the ‘credit crunch’ made me start to think of ways in which Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) can overcome some of the challenges our industry faces. With daily announcements of companies going to the wall and the increased costs associated with designing and delivering products to the ever-cautious consumer, one of the best ways of staying ahead of the game is to reduce operational costs and improve your business by streamlining processes with PLM.
It is important in times like these that you look carefully into ways in which you can reduce the overall work load and the tasks which don’t add value to your business. Consider ‘shared processes’ that require data from a variety of different sources across the extended supply chain. I visit many companies around the world, from those that have implemented basic PDM (Product Data Management) to the most sophisticated PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solution only to find that opportunities to collaborate are not being maximised. In the worst case, after all the investment of time and money into a PDM/PLM project, the only information that is shared between supply chain partners is a basic specification ‘Tech Pack’.
Typically, the biggest problem (and quickest to eliminate with a PLM solution) is that retailers, brands and manufacturers are all inputting, and dealing with, the same data (albeit different versions) several times over, which increases production times and can increase the risk of errors and inconsistencies in product quality, leading to more sample iterations, thus higher costs.
Input Once, Use Many!
There are many examples I can think of that will help you to reduce the overall development time, using this core PLM principle. At the heart of any PLM solution is the concept of collaboration: sharing information between supply chain partners to support product development. I suggest that you start to look at ways in which you can use PLM concepts to help you overcome some of the challenges that are heading your way due to the ‘credit crunch’.
No one knows how long this economic downturn is going to last and, while a lot of companies are wondering how they will survive, many (including our clients) are already working on streamlining processes and are making serious progress to improve supply chain efficiency.
Don’t wait to act!
Mark Harrop is a leading Apparel PLM expert with more than 34 years experience in the industry. Mark co-founded the Product Development Partnership Ltd, the team of experts behind WhichPLM.
Email Mark at: firstname.lastname@example.org