Time to market and innovation issues are only two examples from the long list of the most common challenges even the top manufacturers face. In an effort to solve their problems and optimize their business processes, most manufacturers turn to tailored PLM solutions nowadays.

Challenges of PLM Integration
Challenges of PLM Integration

Article from | Frontech Solutions Inc.

It doesn't matter whether your industrial manufacturing includes textiles, whole foods, chemicals, or some other type of raw product - almost all industrial manufacturers face the same range of challenges, goals, and objectives. Time to market and innovation issues are only two examples from the long list of the most common challenges even the top manufacturers face. In an effort to solve their problems and optimize their business processes, most manufacturers turn to tailored PLM solutions nowadays.

These days, it seems like there isn't a thing that can't be improved by technology. From accelerating your workflow to creating stronger relations between customers and manufacturers, the age of technology can bring a plethora of positive features into business proceedings of every industrial manufacturer. But with it also come the challenges of PLM integration.

PLM is one of the most significant breakthroughs in manufacturing history. As such, it can help you plan smarter, organize better, and improve your communication with external parties. By integrating all data, processes, and systems, it will point you in the right direction when it comes to decision-making. But the process of getting a PLM solution and integrating it in your business endeavors is a long and challenging one. It goes without saying that manufacturers should choose quality PLM software - but that's just the tip of the iceberg. They also need to put in 100% effort into the process of integration and the challenges that accompany it.

 

Technical integration

One of the fundamental challenges that every manufacturer faces is the isolation of important information. With countless of teams involved in the production process comes a need for a solution that will make the information available to every individual involved in the process. Otherwise, the inability to migrate information quickly could result in the premature launch of some product tasks, leading to a loss of resources.

Right off the bat, a PLM solution should be enough to solve the problem of siloed information. And it is enough when integrated correctly. But in order for that to happen, you have to ensure that your PLM software is integrated with other key systems involved in the manufacturing process. Otherwise, you are just fighting a losing battle.

Other key systems, such as ERP, should send out information to the PLM software. And, in essence, PLM should act as a repository for everything that is related to product development processes, and it needs to receive information from other systems in order to achieve success. Once you have what is referred to as 'one source of truth' when it comes to data, there won't be an aspect of your business that won't witness the benefits. From fewer delays to increased productivity, the power of achieving data centralization should not be underestimated. Especially not in the advancing and quickly-changing world of manufacturing where changes happen on the spot and need to travel quickly to reach all the involved teams.

 

Employee support

Talking about the challenges of PLM integration in the technical sense is easy. After all, that's the part that can be solved with a detailed analysis and a careful approach. But the human aspect sometimes turns out to be an even bigger challenge - one that's not so easy to solve. The truth is that the success of this implementation lies directly with the team of people that will be operating it.

Any change is bound to provoke a psychological reaction in the minds of your employees. They are already familiar with the current system, they think it works, and they don't see the point in changing it. Unless they overcome the aversion directed towards PLM, they won't be able to use it in a way that will maximize its full potential. And that will quickly turn it into a failed investment.

Once your team accepts the change and you put the new PLM system in place, some training needs to be conducted. Getting familiar with the new system is one of the biggest challenges of PLM integration for the entire team. So selecting a team of experts who know the software and have experience managing it can significantly help with the team morale and the easier adjustment to the changes.

 

PLM vendors

If we are talking about the truth and nothing but the truth, one can easily notice the huge number of PLM vendors on the market. With the concept of automation becoming as widespread as it is these days, those involved in the manufacturing world have realized the potential PLM solutions can bring. From traditional on-premise PLM, the world wasn't lazy in developing a new form of Product Lifecycle Management. Cloud PLM enables much of the benefits of traditional PLM, minus a few drawbacks. 

But which PLM solution will be the right one for you is based on your individual needs. And this is where a plethora of challenges start appearing. Business owners aren't always sure what their needs and abilities are, so they end up choosing a completely wrong approach. Let's make one thing clear - this is absolutely not something you want to be wrong about. That's why it is advisable to hire an outside consultant who will realistically assess your needs and suggest a reliable PLM vendor. Because you can rest assured that a reliable PLM vendor will play a huge part in the success of your PLM solution. 

 

Surpassing the challenges of PLM integration

To put it simply, you can't expect the process of PLM integration to go through with zero problems. You will have to go through a lengthy adjustment period that will make you rethink everything. But bear in mind that PLM usually shows its positive sides in the long-run. So working on surpassing the challenges of PLM integration today will give results some months down the line. The moment you have increased business workflow and shorter time to market, you can rest assured that you will be thanking yourself for making the wise decision that integrating PLM in your business model really is.

 

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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