The goal of PLM is to improve efficiency and ultimately improve profits. PLM software provides control and visibility.
Some examples of Control – No more missing files [the software won’t let you delete files]; released documents are actually approved by the right people; released files are available for read only or check out with the proper access; etc.
Some examples of Visibility – Since documents and bills of materials are managed by a process, all of that data is recorded. With the click of a mouse you can see who worked on what documents and how they got to their current release level. Audit times are reduced to a couple of hours.
PLM provides some of its biggest savings by managing the engineering change process. It makes sure that the right information gets to the right person at the right time. And, you can easily check on the status of a change request and see whose desk it is on. Roadblocks are immediately apparent.
Before choosing a software vendor, here are some steps that will help you to create a solid requirements document.
Acknowledge your vision for a solution – If you could have the perfect solution, what would it look like. Start there and only make compromises if you need to.
Gather a team of stakeholders – Get people involved that will be using this solution or be affected by it. Get their input.
The user interface is what the software looks like – What do your users need to see in a user interface? What information do they need? What input do you need them to provide. It helps to dummy up a user interface so that you can see it, attempt to use it and modify it. It will definitely show you what you are missing.
Your requirements should reflect your vision for a solution as modified by your team of stakeholders. Your solution vision is an expression of your expectations. Use your requirements document to set expectations with potential PLM vendors and good luck.
What would you add to this?