Who needs PLM? And will it help my business?

by: Rob Kennedy, President

A simple question with a simple answer. If your company designs and manufactures a product, then yes you absolutely need a PLM. I am sure I am going to get bashed for that answer, but honestly if you look PLM’s value strictly from a process efficiency standpoint, implementing a system that completely automates and streamlines your entire product development process (PDP) and manages the Product Lifecycle, project management, quality control and BOM control and Management, then there is no single application or process that will add more efficiencies and save you money over time.

But there are some key problems with implementing PLM systems that really hold companies back from implementing.

The first issue being cost. PLM has not only a very high price tag for the software, but the cost of implementing PLM will make even large companies balk and elect to go other routes that usually include incorporating the PLM functions into their ERP systems combined with a bunch of smaller systems or manual paper processes.

The second issue with implementing PLM is that most current implementations of PLM are incomplete. Due to the costs of implementing a fully functioning PLM, most companies have elected to only implement PLM to manage their CAD data which may include basic revision control. This is comparable to driving a Ferrari at rush hour – plenty of horsepower – but you are still going nowhere fast.

The third issue with PLM is that currently there exists legacy PLM applications which require a lot of IT resources in order to run. These systems can grow so big that they require a full team to manage. Legacy PLM systems are expensive to upgrade due the time and complexity of upgrading systems that have been customized which requires a lot of testing and code updating to complete successfully.

However, there are newer PLM systems which exist only in the ‘Cloud’. ‘Cloud’ PLM systems are fast and are hosted so that they do not require direct support from your IT support team. The have a low overhead and functionally they work very well except when it comes to managing CAD data. These new Cloud PLM systems lack some of the robustness that makes a fully configured PLM so powerful.

So, what is our choice?

Companies are moving their PLM systems into, what is called, Hybrid Cloud, which basically means that the main server(s) will run in a managed datacenter via a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and all remote services will be configured in AWS/Azure. This type of setup is being used not only for PLM but for many enterprise level type applications.

Utilizing an MSP to manage your legacy PLM system makes sense especially if you want to reduce your total overhead costs. There is no IT requirement and PLM system updates and upgrades are typically included in your service plan.

Most large PLM software companies are indeed providing hosted solutions for their applications. However, it seems that there is still a lack of adoption from the user base basically because it appears that most PLM software companies are good at developing software, but struggle to host the application they design – basically because they lack the experience of running their own applications. So, performance will vary.

THIS is where we come in

Eccellent Solutions works with discreet manufacturing companies to bring their engineering and manufacturing processes into the Digital age of the 21st century.  Moving your PLM to the Cloud would reduce the amount of time and effort your IT department spends on issues with running PLM.

We provide:

On average, our customers save 30% over what they would pay for traditional PLM Implementation, because the implementation cost is embedded into our Services contract – think of this as “PLM as a Service”.

If you would like to learn more about what Eccellent Solutions can do to help your company get your PLM system managing your Product development processes, we’d love to speak with you.

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