Today’s retail market is in constant flux, and staying on top of current trends while continuing to meet customer expectations and demands can be difficult. With retail industries changing every day, companies must find the best solutions to stay organized and ahead of the competition. For many businesses, large and small, PML software is essential to everyday operations.
What is It PLM Software
Product lifecycle management (PLM) software is a streamlined, cohesive digital platform for managing every stage of a product’s life cycle. By compiling data, consolidating systems, and organizing workflows using one centralized tool, PLM software helps businesses lower costs, communicate between departments, and develop products faster.
How Does PLM Software Work?
Creating and releasing any new product requires multiple stages of development carried out by numerous departments within a company. PLM is a collaborative tool that allows any number of teams or individuals to work together to develop the same product. Within the lifecycle of a product, every stage of development can benefit from PLM software.
- Concept- In this phase, product developers conduct extensive market research. A PLM system can analyze data and offer insight on trends, and it can and track the evolution of the new product.
- Design- Once an idea is solidified, PML software can integrate and streamline the design process of mock-ups, prototypes, and testing. The system will make all the documents created and information gathered accessible to all team members. This ensures that every individual working on a project has the most up-to-date files.
- Production- Entering the manufacturing stage, production requires new sets of data such as sourcing, countries of origin, productivity costs, timelines, and more. A business’ PLM system keeps track of each variable during production, helping to eliminate unexpected costs, inaccurate forecasts, and delays.
- Distribution and Maintenance- This last phase in a product’s life cycle includes warehousing, distribution, and tracking overall sales and customer support data. PLM software will manage product information, allowing the business to oversee delivery and maintenance while gathering essential sales data.
Do All Businesses Need PLM Software?
If a business operates with a management system for developing new products, they run the risk of miscommunications and delays in production that ultimately cost time and money. A PLM system is a valuable tool for companies desiring:
- A solid foundation of processes to support rapid growth
- Transparent product development processes for improved efficiencies and reduced communication errors
- Objective assessment of project viability to identify poor project choices with less subjective input
- To meet or exceed compliance requirements with electronic traceability
What Problems Can PLM Software Solve?
PLM software manages all the data and critical processes involved in product development and retail. Investing in new PLM software can help address many common development and production issues:
1. Falling Behind Customer Trends
Product innovation is critical in today’s marketplace. Retailers strive to capitalize on trends and turn them into successful products. To beat out the competition, companies have to minimize the time between recognizing a trend, creating a product that responds to that trend, and releasing the product.
The ability of PLM software to track the evolution of a new product as well as integrate customer and sales data brings a new dimension to product development and retail management. A PLM system’s algorithm can gather data from websites and brick-and-mortar stores to predict the sorts of products customers will want to buy next.
With PLM software, designers can operate, share, and collaborate through digital platforms in real-time. New trends can be integrated and automatically updated to original designs even after it has already been sent to the development team.
2. Exceeding Budgets for Retail Costs
Multiple factors influence the retail cost of products. When the costs of production rise, you don’t want consumers to have to pay a large portion of that expense. Having a clear, holistic view of the product lifecycle can aid in boosting profit margins without shouldering high additional costs to consumers.
PLM software collects and correlates the costs of a product to improve or even cut out processes, eliminate redundancies, and recognize other cost-cutting measures. Valuable information in a centrally available system can cut expensive operations such as under or over purchasing, duplicate ordering, or missing out on bulk pricing.
3. Losing Track of Product Information
Human error is often a tremendous cost for retail companies. The complexities of businesses can generate hundreds of documents. Operating on multiple, disconnected platforms is an inconvenient process that hinders communication and breeds mistakes. Additionally, information that is difficult to access and retrieve is tedious and can lead to expensive outcomes.
PLM software tracks, organizes, safely stores, and shares these files in a central, digitized environment that is accessible from anywhere by any relevant team member.
Investing in Greater Efficiency
Using PLM software can help your business achieve both its short and long-term goals. The software optimizes innovation and delivery capabilities by eliminating the inefficiencies and redundancy found in stand-alone tools, lost data, and miscommunication. By investing in PLM software, you can streamline processes using a single platform, ultimately leading to lower costs and faster product development.