PLM – Document Management on Steroids

PLM [Product Lifecycle Management] can be thought of as both (a) a repository for all information that affects a product, and (b) a communication process between product stakeholders: principally marketing, engineering, manufacturing and field service.

Most of us understand that a PLM solution is a repository for all information that affects a product, but not enough attention is paid to it being a communication process between product stakeholders.

A Communication Process

When an engineering change request is written, it is often approved by an engineering manager so the requestor Emails it.  Assuming that the engineering manager thinks this is a good idea, I expect that a manufacturing engineer would review it for manufacturability.  I would hope that marketing would approve it for marketability and to make sure the price makes it desirable to your customer base.  I would hope that someone in finance would look at all of the costs against the expected revenues to be sure that the change makes business sense.

When the changed product has been approved by all of these departments…

The product information must go to marketing so that they can create datasheets, demonstrations, add pages to the website, create promotion materials and so on.

The product information must go to finance so that they can order material or parts needed to manufacture product.

Sales will need product information to prepare to sell the new product.

How are these processes handled in your company today?

Imagine an automated Communication Process

What if you could implement a system where a change request is submitted and it is automatically passed to an engineering manager for approval.  If it is approved, it is automatically passed to a manufacturing engineer, marketing and finance – not in serial, but in parallel.  Rules can be put in place that requires all parties to approve the request.  Assuming that it has been approved, the needed information goes to engineering for incorporation;  it goes to marketing so they can begin their work; it goes to finance so they can begin their work; and it goes to sales so they can begin their work.  And so on…

Yes, PLM software manages documents.  However, it can be configured to make all of these communications happen as well…

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