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In terms of cost, usability, and workflow, choosing a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution for your manufacturing business is a big investment. It’s important to get a positive ROI with PLM software as quickly as possible.
Since manufacturing profits are greatly affected by even marginal performance increases, careful attention should be paid to every step of planning, selecting, implementing, and optimizing a new PLM software solution. Whether your business is currently using spreadsheets and email to manage projects or has an existing PLM solution that isn’t quite performing as hoped, this process can help you get a higher ROI with a new PLM software.
Here are some ways successful manufacturing businesses have deployed new PLM solutions.
PLM Advancements Make Positive ROIs Faster than Ever
PLM software can deliver many benefits for manufacturing companies of all sizes. Shorter time to market, decreased production costs, increased productivity, and improved product quality can all stem from the right PLM.
Actually delivering those benefits requires more than simply installing the PLM software. Fortunately, modern PLM solutions make this easier than ever before.
In the last decade, PLM software has become much more feasible to implement for all sizes of manufacturing businesses. Before, it took 18-24 months to get a positive ROI from investing in PLM software. Now, most companies can get that kind of return in just 6 months. Some companies – especially small to medium-sized manufacturers – can get an even faster ROI, depending on which affordable PLM solution they choose.
There are many changes to the PLM landscape that contribute to these positive improvements. By delivering rich features right out of the box, modern PLM solutions deliver positive returns more quickly than their previous generations.
Another change? PLM implementation is being pushed by business analysts instead of IT departments. For small or medium sized manufacturers, the teams may not be big enough to even have separate departments. But the distinction about why PLM software is implemented is an important one.
Finally, PLM solutions used to be fairly “vanilla,” requiring significant customization to meet the specific needs of an individual company. Now, because of the growth of PLM solutions, industry-tailored solutions are available right out o the box.
Steps to Get a Positive ROI
Here are some key steps your business can take to get a positive ROI faster when deploying a new PLM solution.
Start with a Plan
Rather than simply deciding a PLM sounds good, your company will get more value from its investment by carefully developing a plan beforehand. Without a strategy, it’ll be difficult to maximize ROIs. This means:
- Creating goals. Decide what specific, measurable goals your business wants to achieve with the new PLM solution. This may be staff productivity increases, reducing change process, saving development staff time, or cutting administrative tasks.
- Make it part of a business strategy instead of just an IT strategy.
- Follow the plan one step at a time. Businesses that implement PLM in multiple phases generally see higher levels of value in subsequent projects. This means they get positive ROI from the initial PLM implementation, but it also means projects in the future are better able to leverage the investment to product higher ROIs faster. Simply put, taking time to make sure the foundation is strong makes adding more features – and more value – additionally feasible.
Any time your business adds new software solutions is a perfect time to re-evaluate current workflows. Since the workflows will be inherently disrupted by the use of new software solutions, you might as well take full advantage of the opportunity to improve other workflows that need to be improved.
This could be reducing manual processes (such as filling out spreadsheets by hand) or streamlining authorization procedures through the PLM software.
Choose the Right Package
Find something industry specific that will work with your specific needs right out of the box. It may be tempting to buy “too much” PLM for your business’s current needs (especially if a sales rep is encouraging you to go bigger). However, many companies actually find getting PLM software that is meant for enterprise (when they are only small or medium) has the following problems:
- Features go unused (meaning the company is paying for features that aren’t being used)
- Options can intimidate (leading users to revert back to old solutions, such as spreadsheets and email)
By selecting the right PLM solution, these problems can be avoided, and value delivered by the new software can be maximized.
(By the way: don’t think that more expensive PLM software is always better. Our 4G:PLM solution is powerful for most manufacturing businesses, yet much more affordable than anything else on the market.)
Select Consultants Carefully
Find a team of consultants who have experience working in the industry. Ask them about how they can configure the PLM package solution to meet your business’s specific needs
For example, our SolidPartners team has been helping manufacturers implement software solutions for over 25 years. We’ve overseen and deployed software solutions, including PLM solutions, for a wide variety of manufacturing businesses.
Contact SolidPartners About Delivering a Positive ROI Quickly
Does your manufacturing business want improved productivity, better project management, and other benefits a solid PLM solution can deliver? If so, let’s chat. Our team of experts at SolidPartners has the experience and skill to deliver a successful PLM solution implementation for your manufacturing business, from initial planning to post-installation support.
Contact us today, and we’ll continue this discussion about how we can help your business grow.