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Building Your Business Case for a PLM System: 7 Key Benefits for a Complete ROI

Building Your Business Case for a PLM System: 7 Key Benefits for a Complete ROI


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Building Your Business Case for a PLM System: 7 Key Benefits for a Complete ROI

19 Jul 2022

John McCurdy
Business team members discuss their notes on tablets.

Working in the manufacturing industry, you know that every day brings with it new challenges. Supply chain disruptions to overcome, ambitious production plans to attain, customers to satisfy—and that’s just a sampling of what you might encounter in the course of a busy shift on the factory floor.

Another driver that keeps the pace of change high is shifting consumer preferences. We’re in unprecedented times when it comes to the expectations of shoppers. From sustainability and social responsibility to uncompromising quality and expedited order fulfillment, the demands your business faces are considerable.

That means you need to secure every competitive advantage available to you, including a dedicated product lifecycle management (PLM) system. As you may know, these solutions are designed to streamline the new product development process, which is a necessity given the imperative to keep up with emergent trends, profitability goals and tight timelines.

Of course, important initiatives need a strong rationale behind them, so you’ll need to build a good business case to clearly demonstrate the value if you want to deploy a PLM system for your organization. This list of seven key benefits that help you achieve a robust return on investment (ROI) should serve as a sound basis for that purpose and help justify the purchase and implementation.

1. A Single Source of Truth

All products have vital data associated with them, including specifications, materials, size, variety and more. During new product development, these parameters can change frequently as your research and marketing teams iterate on an idea to create the ideal end result, and you need a reliable, digital format to store, update and share that information.

A PLM system serves as that organization-wide database, giving all of your teams easy access to pertinent product information that can be trusted as up-to-date and accurate. That “single source of truth” provides you assurance against the risks posed by inaccurate figures, compliance violations and delays in execution, as well as a central repository of vital knowledge that facilitates better decision-making.

2. Faster Time to Market

Seizing upon emergent opportunities based on shifting consumer demands and popular trends is critical for maximizing your business’s earning potential. That means when a new product segment gets hot and demand surges, spending several months working on a new offering to launch in that space isn’t optimal—you need to execute with agility.

PLM solutions really shine in this regard, bringing all stakeholders together via the shared interface and facilitating clear and open communication. Certain critical steps of bringing a product to market can also be automated, including generating necessary documentation in multiple languages, helping to ensure that you capitalize before the proverbial window closes.

3. Profit Margin Analysis and Cost Control

While making high-quality goods that consumers will love is crucial for your company’s success, so is turning a profit and maintaining a healthy bottom line. As your dedicated professionals engage in new product development, they need to be apprised of the costs of the materials involved in their product designs and the resulting viability at market of the finished goods to make sure you're making the right moves monetarily.

With user-friendly dashboards and powerful financial analytics tools, a PLM system helps everyone involved stay in the know when it comes to how much you’ll pay for the materials called for and how that will affect your profit margins. They’ll also be able to more fully understand and account for the full product lifecycle, helping them plan for purchasing and take advantage of bulk discounts where possible.

4. Enhanced Collaboration and Innovation

Teamwork and creativity are essential for bringing a compelling product to market, so you need to do all that you can to foster an environment where your staff can work together, brainstorm and improve upon existing concepts. That can’t happen if your people work in “siloes,” operating in disparate systems that only serve their particular department.

By implementing a PLM platform, you can establish a technological foundation for that collaborative and innovative atmosphere. While the system keeps all of the relevant data organized and highly visible, your research, development and marketing teams will be empowered to explore their imaginations and share ideas quickly and clearly to create new items that will pique shoppers’ interest.

5. Increased Revenue

We noted above that achieving a solid ROI will no doubt be a goal of any PLM implementation you undertake, so you need to be able to demonstrate how the solution will boost monetary income for your organization. It’s expected that most change initiatives of this scope will pay off somehow, but how exactly does a PLM solution increase revenue?

The answer lies in how the system helps eliminate bottlenecks in the process of bringing a new offering to market, as well as the cost awareness and control advantages mentioned in a previous section. A PLM can also help make your company more customer-centric, as it will help you concentrate on the needs and desires of today’s shoppers and thus improve retention and brand loyalty—leading to consistent earnings.

6. Greater Efficiency and Productivity

Working with paper records or files saved to individual hard drives is no longer good enough in today’s manufacturing world. You need a fully digital platform to log your facts and figures and disseminate them across involved teams, especially when lots of departments are involved like they are in new product development.

A PLM system helps take care of the tedious task of organizing information and eliminates time-wasters like duplicate data entry and sharing physical documents for review. That lets your employees concentrate on more mission-critical responsibilities—including the development of the “next big thing” on the market—and streamlines your operations to a considerable extent.

7. Ensured Compliance

Regulations for consumer goods industries around the world are getting tougher as both public health and environmental stewardship continue to be subjects of concern. While the majority of the activity on this front is most applicable to companies operating in the food, beverage, cosmetics and personal care industries, the importance of strict adherence to standards in those markets can’t be understated.

That’s why the compliance features of a purpose-built PLM are such a huge benefit for businesses that are under increased scrutiny due to the nature of their goods. With the right system on your side, you can involve your regulations experts early on in the new product development process, head off potential issues before they become problems and make sure all of your paperwork is correctly filled and filed to demonstrate your diligence.

Finding the Right Product Lifecycle Management System for You

Now that you know all about the benefits of a PLM solution and how they can be used as part of your business case, you may want to think ahead to the next step in the process—researching what options are on the market and narrowing down your choice to the solution that will make an ideal fit for your business. It pays to do some prep work here before pitching to the higher-ups, as they’ll likely have questions about what’s available and what you think is best given your circumstances.

A simple online search will reveal that you have no shortage of alternatives from any number of software providers, and at first glance it may be difficult to differentiate between them. The key to look for is that any system you consider is tailored to your vertical—that increases the chances that it will have all of the functionalities you need, as well as tools that help you tackle the unique challenges of your highly specialized development and manufacturing processes.

Here at Aptean, we know just how important the practice of product lifecycle management is, and we’ve built platforms based on decades of collective experience and an in-depth understanding of the industries we serve. Whether you need a PLM for food and beverage, personal care and cosmetics or apparel, we should be at the top of your list of potential providers.

That’s because we offer more than just software—we’re proud to be partners to our clients, helping to guide the deployment of your new platform and providing advice on best practices along the way. We also have a full suite of additional business solutions, including cutting-edge offerings dedicated to enterprise resource planning (ERP), overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and enterprise asset management (EAM).

So, when you’re ready, reach out to us to learn more about our industry-specific PLM systems. You can also request a personalized demo to see the system of your choice in action facing your industry challenges.

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