The future of PLM: how analytics drives better business outcomes

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Wednesday 02 November 2022 15:18 GMT
Closeup side view of couple of mid 20's software developers resolving some issues with the code they're currently working on.
Closeup side view of couple of mid 20's software developers resolving some issues with the code they're currently working on. (Getty Images)

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Discover how you can gain greater insights into design, manufacturing, production and supply chain activities that impact new product development

Connectivity is reshaping the world of manufacturing. Thanks to technological advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and cloud computing—products, people and processes are closely intertwined, and data capture is at an all-time high. The convergence of these technologies is enabling companies to collect vast amounts of digital information related to product development processes and business performance. This comes at an opportune time when manufacturers are having to deal with heightened competition, greater product complexity and ever-changing customer expectations while navigating pandemics and other unforeseen disruptions.

Companies are realising that they must adopt data-driven strategies to keep a pulse on changing market conditions and succeed in today’s global economy. According to research from Forbes Insights and Cisco, more than half of executives across North America and Europe rely on analytics to improve the quality of their products or services.

So how do you turn complex data into actionable insights that drive better decisions and improved business outcomes?

It all starts with identifying key questions that need to be answered through your analysis. The questions should be in line with your current goals and objectives and address specific business needs. This will help you pinpoint the data that has the greatest impact. Identifying an analytics tool that is easy to deploy, user-friendly and scales with your business is also key to getting the entire organisation on board.

Business Trends Graphs and charts 3d image. Reference Earth Map taken from open source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?vev1id=11656
Business Trends Graphs and charts 3d image. Reference Earth Map taken from open source: http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?vev1id=11656 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Unlocking greater business insights through PLM analytics

In the past, data analytics was a time-consuming and costly process that required extensive IT resources and coding to produce meaningful information. The introduction of cloud computing in recent decades has transformed the field, enabling organisations to efficiently process large volumes of data without the burden of skilled IT experts, hardware, virtual private networks (VPNs) and other related infrastructure.

Today, many manufacturers are leveraging analytics through cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) to gain insights into design, manufacturing, production and supply chain activities that impact new product development and introduction (NPDI). PLM software can be a powerful business intelligence tool, as it encompasses not only the traditional product bill of materials (BOM), but also information around processes such as engineering changes, requirements management, corrective and preventive actions (CAPAs), employee training, environmental compliance and supply chain collaboration. This structured and expansive dataset gives visibility into a complete product record so organisations can see the big picture throughout the entire product lifecycle, better identify issues and drive continuous improvement.

Some of the areas commonly monitored and assessed through PLM include:

  • Product development processes (e.g. engineering change order cycle time)
  • Supply chain collaboration
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Customer service/complaint resolution
  • Training records compliance
  • Quality/CAPA resolution
  • Product/materials nonconformance
  • Product costing

Solutions like Arena PLM that aggregate product and quality information in a single source of truth, make it easy to extract and configure performance indicators. Intuitive dashboards and visual metrics enable cross-functional teams to readily identify areas for process improvement and assess risks so they can respond and get high-quality products to market faster.

As cloud PLM continues to evolve and integrate with other enterprise systems such as engineering design, manufacturing execution, enterprise resource management and customer relations—more untapped data will emerge. Organisations will gain a deeper understanding of how different design decisions affect cost, time to market, end-user behaviour and commercial success. These insights will inform development processes for future product lines and foster innovation.

To learn more about how PLM analytics helps improve products and drive better business outcomes, read this brief.

Originally published on Business Reporter

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