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What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?
PLM is a lengthy process that oversees the entire lifespan of a product from the very beginning stages, when it moves beyond brainstorming, to the very end, when it has to be gracefully retired. If you like your information presented linearly, it goes like this:
Conception → Planning → Design → Development → Manufacture → Launch → Marketing → Service delivery → Retire
Given its extensive nature, you can imagine the number of people and departments involved, which means that proper management can be a pain in the neck. Unless, of course, you have the educational background and PLM tools necessary to monitor and keep track of all the processes involved.
It’s incredibly difficult to keep track of everything that goes into product lifecycle management, which is why one of the most important tools is PLM software, such as that produced by SAP. SAP PLM software further streamlines the product development process by providing a central hub of information which allows for information sharing, real-time updates, and inter-department integration and monitoring, measurement and tracking applications.
The advantages of PLM software include: fewer errors, better insight, better reporting, improved communication, transparency, improved document management, improved data security, improved workflow, quicker product development – especially for new products – and better decision making based on comprehensive analytics.
- Product lifecycle management is designed to streamline the process from concept to retirement, seamlessly connecting all the steps to ensure that products get to customers as quickly as possible.
- As each department is effectively managed and the entire process is tracked, there is greater quality control, which results in a better product.
- Potential problems are identified quickly and steps can be taken to avoid unnecessary mistakes and errors of judgement.
- Information and feedback are easily accessible from a central information hub. This allows for open communication and greater transparency.
- High levels of collaboration allow projects to be completed quickly.
- Productivity increases and production costs decrease which results in greater profit margins.
If you like your information presented with actual figures, PLM Technology Guide comes to your rescue:
Properly implemented PLM systems result in a 30% reduction in time-to-market, a 20% reduction in cost of quality, a 24% reduction in product development costs, up to 20% reduction in product costs and up to 40% reduction in change management costs.
What’s more PLM Technology Guide reports a 90% saving in time spent looking for project information, 100% improvement in handling paper documents and 100% improvement in the recreation of lost data.
SAP PLM Courses
Because product lifecycle management is such a complicated process and because the software can be tricky to get your head around, it’s highly recommended that you bulk up your skills with SAP PLM courses.
There a plenty of training and education courses available. For example:
- SAP’s Training and Certification Shop provides a selection of product lifecycle management courses, including Data Management, Program and Portfolio Management, Quality Management, Enterprise Asset Management and PLM E-Academies.
- SAP Education Australia and New Zealand offers a variety of PLM courses, including Maintenance Processing for Operational Functions, Plant Maintenance Workshop, Project Management, and Analytics in Enterprise Asset Management.
- Sydney Institute of ERP offers short courses in PLM Plant Maintenance and Repair, PLM Project Management and PLM Quality Management.
If you’re highly organised, love the finicky details that accompany management and have a flair for navigating software, then you might want to consider a career in PLM. TafeCourses.com.au promotes SAP product lifecycle management courses, so you can wing your way through product conception, development and launch using innovative strategies and software solutions.