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Product Lifecycle Management Software: Tools for Every Professional on Your Team


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Product Lifecycle Management Software: Tools for Every Professional on Your Team

Jan 12, 2023

John McCurdy
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One of the most challenging aspects of new product development (NPD) is the fact that so many of your employees across multiple departments must be on board and empowered with the right tools to make their contributions to the project. Succeeding on this front requires keeping everyone engaged, informed and equipped so that they can move in lock-step toward an optimized end result.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one single solution that offered features for each of the various professionals involved in the NPD process? It’s not too good to be true—advanced product lifecycle management (PLM) systems really can cover your bases and provide tailored functionality for your team members according to their specific responsibilities.

And that’s not all that PLM platforms offer. By acting as a “single source of truth” for across your business, they have the potential to accelerate time to market for new offerings by as much as 75% while also improving your ability to deliver innovative finished goods that adhere to your original product brief. That, in turn, can lead to a better brand reputation, delighted customers and increased profitability.

To clearly demonstrate how PLM software can enhance the NPD efforts of your staff and thereby deliver these benefits, let’s break down the features of these solutions by the roles that need them and explain how each can improve your outcomes. We’ll also share how Aptean’s industry-specific PLM solutions are designed to help companies in those markets tackle the unique challenges of their vertical.

PLM Software Features for Product Designers and Developers

When you think about the people in your organization who play the most central roles in NPD, product designers and developers likely are among the first that come to mind. After all, they are the architects that carefully construct the plans for the creation of new items—from the fundamental elements that define its nature to the details that make it stand out from your competitors’ comparable offerings.

With the right PLM solution on their side, they’ll have features to manage the product creation process down to the component level from initial planning to launch, as well as the ability to iterate on previous versions via a product repository. Our own software for process manufacturers in the food, beverage, cosmetics and personal care markets—Aptean PLM Lascom Edition—also offers advanced formulation tools that help designers dial in on recipes while keeping in line with predetermined specifications.

Meanwhile, an advanced search tool makes indexing and filtering component data easy, with the additional capability to compare multiple criteria at once. And for designers in the apparel and fashion industries, Aptean PLM Exenta Edition facilitates tech pack development with functionalities for management of multiple bills of materials (BOMs) and measurement pages as well as grading views and an Adobe Illustrator plug-in.

PLM Software Features for Project Managers

Considering the many moving pieces and potential complexities of the NPD process, your project managers are arguably just as important in achieving success as designers and developers. Expanding on the building metaphor, they’re your site overseers—the individuals who manage both the people and progress of your product’s creation while seeing it through from start to finish and steering it in the right direction.

They’ll be ready to fulfill these vital responsibilities with a PLM system in place as they’ll be able to launch new projects, create observable milestones, monitor team workloads and manage workflows with easy-to-read Gantt charts. Aptean's PLM systems provide the tools PMs need:

  • Aptean PLM Lascom Edition offers features to track the evolution of products and related documents through changes, plus built-in electronic document management (EDM) functionality to store all data in a digital format.

  • Aptean PLM Exenta Edition also shines in this area with communication functions to deploy notifications to individual users or entire teams, system-wide commenting, client-based labeling and features for assigning tasks and handoffs in the NPD journey. Project managers will also appreciate the system’s tools for implementing high-level plans for individual lines or seasonal portfolios as well as the ability to utilize calendar and design color views.


faster time to market for new products with a PLM solution

PLM Software Features for the Procurement Department

To create new products, you’ll need to buy the supplies required to make them, but that’s not so simple as the average consumer’s shopping trip in large manufacturing settings like that of your company. That’s why you trust the dedicated professionals in your procurement department to source and purchase the ingredients or discrete components that will comprise your finished items.

PLM solutions with a dedicated supplier portal can help immensely in their efforts—allowing for the tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure goals are met and enhanced collaboration via a shared repository. Costing is another aspect of procurement that requires careful scrutiny and analysis, so the cost sheet and configurable quote fields that facilitate comparisons with your BOMs will certainly come in handy for your team members engaged in this part of the NPD process. Aptean's PLM systems provide specific features for the procurement team, such as:

  • Aptean PLM Lascom Edition for food, beverage, cosmetics and personal care markets has material management features that help procurement specialists quickly identify the type and amount of ingredients called for in a formula to inform their purchasing decisions.

  • Aptean PLM Exenta Edition for apparel and fashion industries comes with built-in capabilities to digitally record material sample evaluations, issue design material approvals and send personalized emails to vendors providing your supplies.

PLM Software Features for Compliance Experts

Regulatory compliance is a crucial consideration regardless of the industry in which your company operates, and that’s in no small part due to the costs of noncompliance—which could include fines, mandatory recalls, reputation loss or even business closure. That makes involving your compliance professionals early and often in the NPD process and developing all new products to be compliant by design essential.

It’s also a good idea to provide those employees with the compliance features of PLM software, including component management functions that allow for the recording of quality events that affect your materials. With Aptean PLM, compliance experts in process manufacturing settings for food, beverage, cosmetics and personal care markets will also appreciate the ability to check adherence based on criteria from established regulatory libraries, as well as automatic updates to allergen lists and alerts when recipes change.

PLM Software Features for Packaging and Labeling Professionals

While it takes considerable effort from multiple parties to perfect a product and fine-tune its specifications to maximize the chance of profitability at retail, that’s just part of navigating NPD. In addition to the design and development, project management, procurement and compliance considerations we’ve covered, there’s also the matters of the packaging and labeling of your goods that must be crafted and optimized.

Your team members working on this portion of the process will find their jobs easier with a PLM system that provides an integrated labeling tool and, in the case of global organizations, support for multiple languages and formats. The food, beverage and cosmetics industries have very specific requirements in this area, so we developed Aptean PLM Lascom Edition with built-in USDA National Nutrient, CIQUAL and INCI databases, as well as automatic generation of nutritional facts panels and component lists.

What Makes Aptean the Name to Trust for Business Solutions

As we’ve discussed in detail here, NPD is a complex process that involves having all hands on deck and outfitted with the technology they need to get their tasks done. While it should be clear now how PLM software can be the all-in-one platform your organization needs to enhance and upgrade your results, we recognize that it might seem daunting to evaluate all of the many options and find the best fit.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, though—your search can end right here. That’s because Aptean is a leading and trusted provider of PLM systems, including our tailored offerings for the food, beverage, cosmetics and personal care market (Aptean PLM Lascom Edition) and fashion and apparel industry (Aptean PLM Exenta Edition).

Both were developed to help manufacturers specializing in those product categories with the real-world challenges that they face day in and day out. Our team members leveraged their decades of collective expertise and deep understanding of best practices in NPD to create features that would not only suit their purpose but also be straightforward and intuitive to use.

What’s more, we offer other solutions that can further digitally transform your company, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems for manufacturers of all kinds. When you choose us, you’re working with not just a vendor, but a partner, and implementing a cohesive tech stack with a unified support team.

So, ready to learn more about our industry-specific PLM software and how it can help all of your team members involved in NPD succeed? Contact us today or request a personalized demo.

Ensuring Product Compliance in a Global Environment

Follow best practices from experts on how to ensure product compliance through its entire lifecycle when commercializing cosmetic products to North America and in the EU.

Five tubes of lipstick