Your small to medium sized business has been working with a product lifecycle management (PLM) product for a while. But you are now wondering if this is the most affordable PLM solution.
Before jumping into a new PLM system, here are a few of the questions that you should stop and consider.
1) How much does your current PLM cost?
The first two questions you want to ask assess your current PLM situation. If your current PLM solution is effectively meeting your needs, there’s no need for a switch.
The most basic question to start with is how much you are spending. Many PLM products have added features and complexities that are simply unnecessary for small to medium sized businesses. But those features are still included in your monthly costs.
If you are spending more than $50 per user per month for your PLM software, you should strongly consider reevaluating your service since quality solutions exist at that price point.
2) Does your current PLM meet your needs?
Even the smallest businesses have some basic PLM needs. Take a few minutes to outline the essential features for your PLM. You may be surprised how simple your list is. That’s okay. The best PLM software will simplify rather than complicate. Here are a few additional suggestions for your list:
- Full Security Model
- Full Workflow Module
- Full Bill of Materials (BOM) Management
- Cloud Based PLM functionality
Now evaluate. Does your current PLM meet all of your needs? But here’s the other question you need to answer. Is your current PLM overstuffed with features that aren’t on your list?
If your current PLM either doesn’t meet your essential needs, or includes way more bloat than you need, it may be worth considering switching to a new PLM.
3) How much would implementing a new PLM cost?
These last two questions assume that you are in the market for a new PLM system. But just because you want a new solution, doesn’t mean any new solution will do.
Any new solution worth switching for will save you money. Here are a few cost considerations to think through when making your decision.
- Base Cost – What is the cost per user per month? A higher base cost does not mean a higher quality product especially for small and medium sized businesses. In many cases it simply means a product that isn’t built for your needs.
- Initial Training Costs – How much will it cost to train your staff in the new PLM? Training costs can be a major impediment to switching PLMs. Ideally a new PLM solution will be easy to set up, learn, and use.
- Long-Term Training Costs – Training is not a one time expense. Every time you want to grow your team, every time you experience turnover that training barrier will come back. Ease of use, then, should be a primary consideration in deciding to switch.
- IT Burden – Every time your employee is on the phone with an IT specialist trying to troubleshoot the latest problem with your PLM software, is time they aren’t working toward your company’s goals.
4) Which PLM will grow with my company?
When choosing a PLM as a small business it’s easy to look ahead to what solution you will need when you’re not quite such a small business. Unfortunately that mistake will cost you.
Ideally you want a PLM that will fit perfectly with your small or medium sized business and then grow with you.
First look for a PLM with a low monthly user fee so that adding additional employees will not be a major burden.
Also strongly consider finding a cloud PLM like 4G:PLM. This will allow your company to easily grow into new regions, or take advantage of increasingly prevalent telecommuting talent.