Globalization in a PLM World

by: Rob Kennedy, President

Managing and controlling the entire Product Development Process (PDP), or the process that takes a product from concept to market, can be quite a task. There are a few questions we ask during an assessment before tackling this process.

  1. How and where are your products designed and manufactured?
  2. How is your collaboration between engineering and manufacturing?

In order to discuss globalization we must first talk about collaboration.

collaboration globalization

Without collaboration, “global” product development cannot occur. We need to establish an integrated process that provides direct communication between engineering and every department that participates in the product development process. To do this we design a flexible PDP workflow that encapsulates each step in the process and any dependencies based on product design; where it is manufactured and possible what market that product will be sold. The process should be built in a way that allows for adjustments if a product is built for multiple markets or regions throughout the globe.

Another step to globalize the PDP is to make sure the PLM system is central to the teams designing, testing and building the products. Centralizing on one PLM and one ERP, as well as integrating between these two systems, is sensible and helps reduce duplication in work cycles. Using one system is ideal for globalization, however if there is the need for multiple PLMs and/or ERP systems, globalization can occur if the PDP process is defined to capture the differences in each system. We also recommend some automation or application integration to keep the disparate applications working together.

Now let’s discuss Change Management.

Change Management is the process of conveying the need for a change to a product or product line. This process works best when it is implemented throughout the enterprise as the approver or reviewer of each task will be informed of the idea, the need and the implementation of a change. A change that crosses product lines should be able to be seen throughout a global product development and manufacturing team(s).

In addition to Change Management, a global PLM should also include a component to run Project Management functions as they pertain to Product Development. By running the PDP process via the Project Management functions in PLM, companies will be able to define reports or a dashboard to show the progression of each development team and allow comprehensive status reports. In other words, you will know when your products will be shipped to your customers or distributors—in real-time.

Finding efficiencies.

Once the Global PLM system is properly implemented, finding efficiencies and making adjustments will need to be continuously maintained. The implementation is only the first step. Especially if you want to continue to increase your productivity, and/or move into IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). (See our IoT services here) With IoT, the goal is to increase the automation level at domestic and commercial levels. In the Industrial Internet of Things, data is crucial as well and this causes a change in the human tasks in an Industry 4.0 context whereby automation leads to a decrease of specific types of work but at the same time requires new skillsets. IIoT does not aim to fully replace human work. Its goal is to enhance and optimize it by, for example, creating new revenue streams and business models with a big role for data (analysis).

As your PDP becomes more efficient and you are tracking more data about how your products actually work in the field. You will be able to use the data you receive via IIoT. Not only can you provide better service to your customers, you may be able to use that data to create other product lines or services.

Eccellent Solutions works with companies large and small to help them assess and implement their Globalization initiatives using PLM. We take a holistic approach to each and every PLM implementation. If you would like to discuss your initiatives, reach out below.

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