Summary: A cloud based PLM is crucial for efficient product development. Without it, expect to get smoked by the competition.
PLM ain’t what it used to be.
Cloud based PLM has transformed the landscape in a big way. Rapid implementation and monthly user fees based on a SaaS pricing model have made it available to small and mid-sized businesses who have traditionally been excluded.
Today, we look at the reality of manufacturing without cloud PLM and highlight how a cloud based PLM solves many of the challenges facing teams today.
1. ECRs Run Amuck
Engineering change request (ECRs) are created when some aspect of a product needs to change, and even the simplest products have hundreds of them.
And don’t let the short acronym fool you, processing ECRs is a time-consuming and difficult process.
The time needed to get through ECRs is one thing, but it becomes an even bigger problem when we look at the quality of ECRs senior engineers have to sift through.
34% of ECRs are duplicates or referencing a problem that’s already been fixed. This negatively impacts productivity and slows down production cycles in a big way.
34% of ECRs are duplicates or referencing a problem that’s already been fixed.
But luckily, there’s an alternative for manufacturers to manage ECRs.
A better way
By making it easy for teams to access product data, cloud PLM increases ECR quality and reduces the number of ECRs that need to be reviewed for a product to get to market.
Cloud based PLM also streamlines the review process by automating the back and forth process with its automatic workflows.
With cloud PLM, ECR management becomes easier and faster for manufacturers.
2. File Confusion
With every product manufacturers produce comes a long paper trail of Excel spreadsheets, CAD files, BOMs, production timelines, and other related documents.
Despite the critical product data within these files, they are usually hard to find and benefit from.
Being stored anywhere from a thread of emails, to a shared drive, to a local desktop, accessing this information is a wild goose chase.
With data is all over the place, teams make mistakes and struggle to make sound decisions.
The challenge of data access facing manufacturers is not without its consequences, as the confusion that results from the lack of information cascades into things like product recalls and production errors.
A better way
Cloud based PLM stops file confusion and its consequences by acting as a central repository for product data.
By hosting data in the cloud, teams can easily access it wherever and whenever they need it.
3. Communication Mishaps
Communicating with teams around the globe is challenging at the best of times.
And if you’re only using email and VoIP, it’s really difficult to ensure global work groups understand each other.
A better way
Cloud PLM keeps everyone on the same page by creating a shared sense of truth in organizations.
Cloud based PLM simplifies communication by creating a shared repository for files, comments issues, and feedback, rather than spreading this information out across multiple channels.
Granular privacy controls allow team leaders to restrict or allow access as needed, and cloud based PLM’s workflows allow team members to know exactly what they’re working on at any given time.
Granular privacy controls allow team leaders to restrict or allow access at any time.
With cloud based PLM, communication is centralized so it’s easy to understand and reference back to.
4. People make mistakes
Human error is a tremendous cost to production and is a surefire way to prolong your time to market.
No matter how hard we try, someone will always forget to attach a document to an email, approve a design, or upload a file.
And the consequences to our mistakes are real.
Let’s take manually generated BOMs for example, where even a small typo can cause serious issues down the line and cost manufacturers thousands of dollars.
A manually-controlled BOM can cost thousands.
Which is where cloud based PLM comes in.
A better way
By automating processes prone to human error like communicating changes, updating information, and transferring data across applications, cloud based PLM reduces project risk and keeps things running smoothly.
5. Backlogged Approvals
Oversight and approvals are a major sticking point for product owners.
They’re definitely necessary for quality and safety, but the backlog often frustrates engineering and product teams.
The senior engineers in charge of approvals can’t keep up with demand and as a result, junior engineers and designers have to wait weeks to know if their work has been accepted.
With such long turn around times for approvals, engineers and designers struggle to complete the necessary changes their reviews demand, when weeks have gone by and their deadlines are now right around the corner.
A better way
By automating the review process, cloud based PLM takes the legwork out of the approval process for senior managers.
Instead of manually taking on the whole approval process, cloud PLM:
- Automates when the approval requests are sent
- Centralizes review related data so it can be easily accessed
- Allows managers to request changes and approve work directly from their email
With cloud based PLM, there’s less time spent waiting for feedback and the approval process is faster.
The end result – cloud PLM keeps teams happier, lets them get more done, and keeps everyone on schedule.
6. Little room for recovery
Even the best-laid plans are prone to error and mistake.
And in manufacturing, mistakes tend to be costly.
Let’s use the example of an ECR that goes wrong.
Let’s say an ECR is approved and implemented but is accidentally applied to the wrong aspect of production. The engineers involved need to:
- Redesign the part that the ECR was wrongly applied to
- Resubmit the original ECR for the part it was intended for
Each of which can take weeks. When production is looming, there’s often not enough time for manufacturers to resolve small mistakes like this. Which means production is delayed, and launches are missed.
A better way
One of the most important things cloud based PLM offers is rapid and easy error recovery.
Cloud PLM lets engineering and design teams easily look at what was changed, and restore a previous (functional) version, get the reversion approved, and get the restored specs to production in literally 10 minutes.
Saving the day, and stopping a preventing a useless production run.
7. Poor Version Control
The design process requires a lot of back and forth.
Designers often make multiple changes, just to revert back to the design they started with.
Strong version control is critical for manufacturers because when versions are disorganized, mistakes happen.
One that comes to mind is sending the wrong version to production – a costly and time-consuming error.
A better way
Cloud based PLM reduces risk by creating a shared record of all file versions so that the production-ready file is the only one that ever sees the production floor.
Cloud PLM has changed the PLM space.
It’s fast implementation and SaaS model pricing has made it within the reach of smaller organizations.
With functionality beyond traditional PLM, it incorporates the ease of use and accessibility of the cloud so that smaller manufacturers can reap the rewards the big boys have for years.
Image Credit: Miguel Á. Padriñán via Pexels
Seeing is believing, check out what cloud PLM can do for you.