Summary: SaaS cloud PLM solutions are designed to be deployed out of the box. Organizations can start to see benefits almost in real time. Benefits like more efficient processes, more efficient use of staff’s time, and fewer mistakes.
Traditional Product Lifecycle Management software (PLM)s take years to deploy, not to mention a 3:1 ratio for the cost of implementation vs the cost of the actual software.
But not cloud.
Cloud PLM with a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider is designed to work right out of the box, which means organizations will start to see the benefits incredibly quickly.
Here are 3 cloud PLM benefits you can expect in just 3 weeks once you start using a SaaS cloud PLM.
1. Product designers will be a whole lot happier
Product designers are highly trained professionals with years of experience. They can bend sheet metal to their will in 3D, map it to 2D, and stay within strict manufacturing specifications in their sleep.
They’re good at their jobs.
But because traditional PLM is such a nightmare of a program, it’s usually filled a… less flashy role: data entry, translation, and manipulation.
Here’s the problem:
CAD software has specific file formats that are impossible to open in other programs. There are a handful of plugins and extensions the let users preview files, but by and large, you need to have a license to use that data.
Sales, marketing, procurement, plant managers, floor managers, and more all benefit from seeing designs at an early stage. But at $1,500 bucks a pop, there’s no way to give everyone CAD access.
Which means that product designers end up spending a big chunk of their day opening CAD files and converting them into more accessible formats.
Not exactly a great distribution of resources.
One cloud PLM benefit is that they often come with CAD preview windows that let everyone access CAD files in 3D, review the associated Bill of Materials (BOM) and comment or provide feedback accordingly:
- Product designers are a lot happier because they’re not doing grunt work
- There are fewer process bottlenecks
- Product designers have more time to spend on high value-add tasks, like troubleshooting design problems or developing new products.
2. Managers will spend a lot less time answering emails
Managers live in their email.
It’s the first thing they check when they get up and the last thing they do before they go to sleep. But this ad-hoc workflow eats into organizational profits in a big way and fails to achieve the enterprise governance that compliance and audit teams demand.
Every time a manager has to respond to an email to confirm, review, or approve some work, they have to:
- Leave their email
- Enter whatever program they need to review the change in
- Find the change
- Review it
- Exit the application
- Re-enter their email
- Send a confirmation/approval to the sender.
This isn’t just clunky – it’s super time-consuming. That time could be much better spent on things like:
- Strategic direction and leadership
- Team optimization
- Process optimization
Cloud PLM benefits users with a few key features designed to make this process easier, like automated workflows and email integration.
Automated workflows & dashboards
Traditional PLMs require workflows to be hardcoded, whereas SaaS cloud PLM benefits users by giving them the ability to build and implement workflows their own. These workflows automatically move projects along, saving managers the effort of chasing daily/weekly updates.
Likewise, customizable dashboards give oversight about where a project is at, making it easy to ensure things are happening when they’re supposed to.
One of the biggest timesinks when it comes to managing projects is approvers moving in and out of email programs and production programs to do small tasks.
For instance, imagine you’re a product designer, and you’ve put a change through. You submit the change, and the project manager needs to approve it.
But the project manager is off-site, solving some other problem, and they’re not close to a laptop to review/approve.
The process grinds to a halt.
Integration into business applications like email is just one of the cloud PLM benefits that users can expect as standard.
Now, the PM gets an email, they open their PLM email plugin on their phone, and reviews and approves the change in seconds.
And with automated workflows, the project zooms to the next stage.
3. Design and production mistakes will drop
SaaS Cloud PLM benefits producers by effectively design out errors and mistakes. They do this in two key ways.
First, humans are lazy. We’re always going to take the shortest or easiest path. When processes become clunky, people won’t complain, they’ll just find workarounds.
So, if a product designer is supposed to get approvals from a manager but that manager is always slow, they’re probably going to stop getting approvals. This usually won’t cause a problem, but every now and again, those more experienced eyes will catch something the designer misses. When you remove that safety net, you invite mistakes into final products.
SaaS cloud PLMs, due to robust integrations and flexible (and changeable) workflows mean that processes are a lot less onerous, which makes them a lot more likely to be followed.
Second, cloud PLM benefits production by automating boring repetitive tasks.
And people are terrible at doing boring, repetitive tasks.
We forget steps. We get distracted. We misremember doing something. Sometimes, we’re busy doing other stuff. We’re just not physically there.
Automated processes never forget, need a break, or misremember completing a task.
The result is that over an entire product development lifecycle, you might design out hundreds of micro-risks. Each one is small, but overall, the fewer micro-risks you have, the fewer bigger mistakes you’ll make.
Conclusion: Cloud PLM benefits the entire value chain
PLM project timelines are historically measured not in weeks, but years. The benefits take months to arrive and, as processes change, can quickly erode. The customization and hard-coded solutions make updates tricky, time-consuming, and risky.
SaaS cloud PLM, on the other hand, is designed to be up and running fast.
It offers integrations, automation, workflows, and oversight dashboards on the day it deploys, which means that organizations can realize those benefits almost in real-time.
Product designers and managers’ time is used more effectively, processes and followed and happen faster, and the number of mistakes and errors are reduced.
Overall, projects get delivered with less work, less fuss, and to a higher quality.
Yeah, SaaS cloud PLM is pretty cool.
Image credit: Hello I’m Nik via Upslash