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Digital Product Life Cycle Management

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Digital Product Life Cycle Management: Is It Right for Your Company?

With the continual rise of innovation in digital technology, there are plenty of factors surrounding product innovation which businesses are desperately trying to adopt and implement. They are constantly looking for better and more effective ways to launch products.

According to a detailed and insightful McKinsey article, plenty of research and development teams that manufacture industrial goods and products become adversely affected by fixed or traditional factors of their approach.

These factors may include things like inflexible processes, rigid divisions of activities or responsibilities when it comes to marketing and engineering, and a negligible or lackluster approach to internal innovation.

However, thanks to consistent technological progress and innovation, companies can implement and integrate newer augmentations to their product R&D to effectively launch their products.  These include VRPs (virtual reality prototypes), crowdsourcing in addition to others.  On the flip side, there is also a slightly newer strategy to make internal changes such as digitizing product lifecycle management.

This covers digitizing every aspect of a product’s development stages, incorporating predictive models which are capable of identifying the most ideal chances of that product’s success. Say hello to digital PLM (product lifecycle management)!

Digital Product Lifecycle Management – A Concise Elaboration

As per Hitachi Vantara CTO, Bill Schmarzo, digitally enhancing your product lifecycle management will mean:

  • Transforming product planning trials, compliance, regulatory factors, packaging, specifications, formulas and trials on a digital landscape
  • Being able to finish a big chunk of your product lifecycle stages quickly. For instance, planning the product, doing the research, the development phase, risk analysis, production, etc.
  • With cutting-edge data analysis applications, being able to effectively evaluate and analyze different product lines, create portfolios, etc.
  • Harnessing the power of real-time data and access to data from a multitude of interconnected, smart devices, secure external data systems, sensors, open portals, etc., and leveraging it for customer feedback and input
  • Digitizing your PLM will also help make research and trial testing phases far quicker and more reliable

As per Sunil Thomas, COO of Selerant, many PLM systems that we have today are designed to manage different product properties. However, the problem is that many of these PLM systems do not have the capability to enable users to test real-time data and product experiments and design simulations.

Should You Go Digital?

Sure, adopting a digital landscape for managing your product’s lifecycle is going to be time consuming, initially at least. But it will offer you strategic advantages in the long run. However, first you have to understand whether or not making the transition is the right choice for your business right now. Here are some important factors to consider:

Do you work with a myriad of suppliers? If so, integrating a digital stratosphere to managing your PLM will help give you the advantage of collecting critical supplier data. Moreover, you will be able to input a digital specification of every supplier and the products that you buy from them.

Is regulatory compliance a crucial prerequisite to your product? Well, it will be if you are manufacturing consumer-based products. If this is the case, using digital data and applying precise formulas, using different specifications, and labeling templates that have fields for product information and data harnessed through research, sensors and other data sources will help you speed up the process.

Do you work with a dynamic and skilled team of developers? If so, using a digital product lifecycle management software will help you effectively notify various product reviewers, developers, and approvers. This means you will be able to speed up the collaboration process and enhance your information access throughout your product lifecycle stages and departments.

Do you have a precise plan as to why you wish to go digital? According to Oleg Shilovitsky, co-founder of Openbom, if you are not quite sure or if you realize that your current goals and objective are not in tandem with a common solution, then the best course of action is to first draw a complete framework of why and how digitization would help you. When it comes to product development and lifecycle management, it is better not to try out a new thing just for the sake of it. You should have a clear picture of why you need to implement a new strategy.

Tech management and support. Digital transformations are powerful, but at the same time, they need to be adequately supervised and managed. It takes skilled executive support to champion the transformation. If you don’t have any, then it is a good idea to opt out for now.

The Bottom Line

When looking at this from a broader perspective, it always boils down to how digital PLM can add benefits to your operation and when or how you are going to make the switch. While digitizing your product lifecycle management will help keep control costs and enhance your product market launch times, you have to be absolutely certain of whether the timing of it all suits your company or not.

Fatima Mansoor is a writer at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Managed, and Implementation Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. She specializes in business & entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and health & fitness. Her focus is on creating compelling web content for small and medium businesses form diverse industries. She mostly writes for entrepreneurs and marketing agencies across the US, Australia and UK.

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