In recent years PLM software has evolved, with manufacturers attempting to improve the user experience (UX) of the software itself, such that even the technologically illiterate could freely enjoy its functionality.
Why Does Usability Matter?
There may be thousands of users on any given PLM system and, although the systems are data and process driven, the system must cater to all types of user.
Ease of accessibility is a trend that is becoming law in UX. Unsightly, complex algorithms are hidden behind the scenes rather than presented to the users.
Your PLM system needs to have a no-nonsense interface. There’s no point in having a system that only the IT department understands, as teams around the company will be put off and it will become difficult to make any progress.
Similarly, steer well clear of jargon. All language on your system should be easy to understand. This will prevent mistakes being made through people misunderstanding what is being communicated.
Follow standard web practices
There’s no point having an icon in a PLM system that means something totally different elsewhere. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are examples of companies that are setting the standard for this and PLM systems will, doubtless, follow suit.
Remember, a positive experience can make all the difference. It can make new users embrace the introduction of the software rather than resist it, and often leads to endorsement later down the line.
Pros of Functionality
Functionality is the key consideration for businesses choosing a PLM system. After all, your PLM has to do the job it’s been brought on board to do.
A solid PLM system will offer continuous collaboration that allows users from all corners of the globe to access the platform, regardless of time zone. A lack of effective communication between locations can be a needless, major setback for any project.
On top of this, it allows an open dialogue with your team, encourages time efficiency and provides a central hub of information.
Context collaboration is also important. The beauty of this feature is that it ties conversations to the relevant concern as opposed to mails which are just unstructured data.
Assign Resources Effectively
PLM software offers Project Managers the perfect platform to efficiently assign tasks. They can play to their team member’s strengths, making sure that the division of workload is realistic and fair.
This functionality also gives the added value of improving morale within the team as people will feel like their workloads are being considered.
Strong Data Management
There are a whole host of critical issues that can arise during a project, so a PLM system with centralised control over data can have a fantastic effect on speed to market. Streamlining data management means storing, tracking and managing all data attached to product development processes is automatically carried out. It has the added benefit of flagging up any data changes when they arise.
As with any system, the fundament will always be the most critical contribution to overall performance. But if the foundational levels are inaccessible to those that require its utility, then they fail by default. Fortunately, companies really can have it all with current PLM systems.
Our only advice is to make sure that you’re getting valuable consultation and training on the most suitable solutions for your company.