Managing Product Lifecycles with PLM Software

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All products go through various lifecycle stages. Products start with an idea or concept, transition into the design or prototype stage, and then go through several adjustments before an official launch. Testing also usually happens before offerings go to market. Once consumers have access to products, they go through additional stages, such as adoption and decline. 

Because the product lifecycle management process can be complex, business leaders find software applications helpful. These tools can keep team members and product launches on target. Plus, product lifecycle management, or PLM, the software comes with features that track and help adjust offerings after they hit the market. Below discover information on what PLM software is and how it assists product teams. 

What is PLM Software?

PLM software supports the product lifecycle management process. For most companies, managing product lifecycles means looking at an offering from a holistic perspective. Typically, the idea for a product comes from a market need or gap. Sometimes design ideas focus on improving an existing solution that may serve a core need but not as well as it could. Apple’s iPod and iTunes music solutions are examples of this. 

Before the iPod and iTunes were introduced, consumers listened to music through portable CD and cassette players. However, people also had to carry music stored on physical media, such as a CD. As more households adopted internet service, downloading digital forms of music online became a more convenient way to listen to and access songs. The iPod and iTunes capitalized on this emerging trend and market gap by finding ways to make the practice legal. 

However, Apple had to come up with the concept, design the solution, and test it before launch. PLM software helps product managers and teams work through these stages and all the tasks that fit under each of them. These stages include ideation, planning and design, manufacturing or development, testing and quality assurance, and maintenance. 

Main Benefits of PLM Software

One of the main benefits of PLM software is that it reduces or eliminates data silos. For teams to be successful, each contributor must be on the same page. When critical information and details become disorganized, communication and collaboration can suffer. This puts the product’s development, launch, or maintenance at risk. 

PLM software brings all the important information together, so there aren’t as many issues with communication or collaboration. Each person can see the product’s requirements, what stage tasks are in, and what needs to happen next.

Another benefit is streamlined processes. Team members who know the expectations and how to hand off assignments don’t waste time. Products move through development stages more efficiently, and businesses can meet crucial goals, such as being first to market.

PLM Software Supports Innovation

Since PLM software takes care of the small and repetitive details, product teams can direct more energy toward innovation and brainstorming. Using PLM apps may also help companies attract and retain talent because technology makes it easier for people to excel at and gain meaning from their jobs. As a result, product designs increase in quality, and finished offerings can achieve more market success.

While the lifecycle stages are predictable, how products will move through them aren’t. PLM software is a valuable tool that helps businesses meet product and revenue goals while supporting and enhancing essential processes and skills.

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