Multiple teams within an organization are involved in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and require a centralized hub to operate from and keep track of their products as they move through the stages of Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline.
In challenging circumstances, where most companies face a cash crunch amongst other issues, it has become increasingly important to adapt to a future where work-from-home is the norm. The same goes for PLM.
Here are 6 essential factors that organizations must consider to succeed at PLM in a work-from-home future.
How to build an efficient PLM system for a WFH future
#1. It’s all in the cloud
The PLM software you choose must be cloud-based, dynamic, and easy to adopt.
PropelPLM, a leading PLM and e-commerce software provider, explains that an “evolving workforce and increase in remote employees require more robust and collaborative software systems with a better user experience.”
It must be scalable and have enough functionality so your organization and external contributors can use it for crucial processes such as change management, project management, data-sharing, and collaborations.
Integrations are another key aspect. Your PLM software should ideally integrate a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) system, along with enterprise resource planning (ERP).
These features help teams quickly adapt to changing circumstances and requirements during a product’s life cycle.
When all relevant information about the product’s lifecycle is in front of you, planning and implementing improvements becomes more manageable, especially for remote teams.
Price also plays a big part in choosing the PLM software since some companies cannot afford to loosen their purse strings in the current scenario. Without any IT knowledge, you should look for one of the best IT outsourcing companies to assist you.
#2. Invest in DCIM
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software allows you to manage your physical and virtual company processes effectively.
In simple terms, companies can use DCIM software to manage actual physical data center aspects and, more importantly, manage any company assets, such as product information, from anywhere.
DCIM software allows employees and external workers to access and manage relevant product assets remotely and receive real-time updates about any changes.
Managers can automate work processes for more efficient PLM and gain access to detailed dashboards and reporting tools.
Efficient DCIM also ensures that all your material, be it information about project deliverables, client information, or internalized communications, is in one centralized hub.
#3. Arm your team with the right tools
Companies cannot maintain and streamline their current PLM processes if their employees are struggling to handle workloads or waste time scouring for product information.
Since most work processes have been adapted for remote working, organizations must pick the right tools to streamline design, manufacturing, production, distribution, and service.
While a dedicated PLM tool can help with overall management, different teams have different needs.
Companies must ensure that all their core teams, be it marketing or sales or design, are equipped with the tools to excel at their job.
Let’s take the sales team, for example. Traditional sales outreach methods, like travel, meetings, client visits, and workshops, are either too burdensome or just not suitable for remote working environments.
To combat this, companies can use online sales tools to quickly find the right leads and capitalize on them via automated outreach processes spread out over messages, calls, and emails.
Another idea to help your sales team work with the right leads is to capture them using different techniques. For example, this capsule fillers company is offering a free ebook to anyone interested in their products. They are asking what describes your business best which helps improve the sales process by directly knowing who you will be talking to when reaching out to them.
Meanwhile, production teams would benefit from a bill of materials software. This tool helps forecast how much you can assemble with current components and parts available, without having to pause or delay production.
#4. Outsource to resellers
With most companies now focused on digital marketing, it’s hard to make an impact in a crowded and constantly-evolving market.
One method to boost an organization and its clients’ presence online is to outsource to resellers. Some platforms even have dedicated reseller programs to help companies out.
In a reseller program, there is a company with expertise in a particular area. Your organization then buys services from this company and then sells them to your clients. This way, you gain the advantage of having experts work on your products without breaking the bank.
Reseller programs are a relatively affordable method for companies to fill in the gaps in areas they’re lacking.
Let’s say your company wants to boost its online presence and take on more clients, but there are limitations on the expertise, workload, and resources you have.
In a scenario like this, an SEO reseller program can help you hire the right experts so your company can boost its presence online while handling multiple projects efficiently. More visibility means more leads and, consequently, more potential clients.
#5. Cater to the new customer experience
McKinsey’s report in November 2020 revealed that 3 out of 4 American consumers had tried a new shopping behavior. Most of them intend to continue the new shopping behavior even after COVID-19 subsides.
Since changes in consumer behavior affect all the PLM stages, teams need to be adept at understanding their target audience and catering to them.
EarlyBird, a platform for parents and relatives to invest in their child’s financial future, is still in the Growth stage of the product’s lifecycle, but the UI, low prices, and the ease-of-use has helped them make quite the splash online.
They’ve honed in on their target audience’s needs and are keen to lend a helping hand and guide them. With this in mind, the platform hosts a dynamic blog to help parents understand the importance of early investments over gift cards and cash.
All of these factors combined help them deliver a memorable customer experience, even in trying times.
In remote times, your website plays a crucial role in PLM. Customers want to feel valued, and
you can cater to this by providing them with valuable information and insights rather than endless ads and sales copy.
Here’s an example of a good landing page from eachnight, a blog dedicated to helping you sleep better:
#6. Employee development
Help your employees grow so they can help the company grow. Investing in employee development and helping them learn new skills is beneficial for the organization and the individual.
It makes the individual feel valued and more motivated to meet project/company goals.
Additional skills can also further develop projects and products.
Let’s say there’s a company with Product A in the maturity stage. In this scenario, investing in language tutoring platforms for their sales reps in Texas can help them speak Spanish and better assist with the expansion.
There are plenty of learning platforms that are entirely online these days. This is perfect for work-from-home environments and helps companies navigate PLM better in the future.
When properly planned and implemented consistently, PLM can help companies increase revenue, save costs, improve product quality, introduce products to the market quicker, maximize value, and drive innovation.
Adapting PLM to a work-from-home environment is a complex process but efficiently handling key elements like software and data centers makes the process easier.