And when you know that each of these parts must be tested for compliancy against a consistently updated set of regulations – regulations that vary according to country and region – you realise that the complexity of that task multiplies exponentially.
But there’s even more to take into account when you don’t produce each of these components in-house, or even order them from the same supplier. There’s likely to be an entire network of relationships to manage which are inextricably tied to each individually complex facet of the process.
So, how do you maintain the whole without losing sight of the detail?
How do you maintain efficiency, keep on top of the issues, and stay ahead of the competition?
To achieve that you need an impeccable PLM provider.
One that understands your precise requirements and knows how to handle complexity. One that appreciates your need for seamless collaboration. One that can tailor their system to your needs.
That makes choosing the right PLM provider of paramount importance.
Here are 5 questions to ask prospective vendors, helping you cut through the noise and figure out if they’re up to the task.
1. Is Your PLM Secure and Reliable?
It’s essential that you have rock-solid security to keep your invaluable data safe. At the same time, your team needs to be able to get to that data when they need it, from wherever they are based.
Your PLM vendor should be using best-in-class technologies to guarantee IP protection, shield you against hacks and ensure compliance – at the same time as ensuring continuous operation, availability and system optimization.
2. Is This An End-to-End Solution?
To stay productive and effective, you need to be able to manage all stages of your product lifecycle from one location.
That means using a PLM that comes as a complete solution, with single-sign-on access to all the CAD, CAM and CAE tools you need along the way.
3. How Fast Can You Implement It?
For every day that you don’t have a PLM system rolled out, you are less competitive than you could be. Less productive than you could be. Less profitable.
Your vendor should make swift implementation of their topmost priority. Consider carefully, too, whether you need an on-premise PLM or whether you could work with a Cloud version. If your vendor offers the latter, this will be much faster to get up and running. As a result, you can start being productive instantly, and can scale up on demand without delay.
4. How Flexible is this PLM?
Your business is unique and so are your PLM requirements. Make sure that your vendor can demonstrate the flexibility in their software that you require.
You also need a system that will adapt and scale with your business. Again, Cloud implementations make this easier and cheaper – they’re more flexible and don’t require enormous individual servers or maintenance costs.
5. Do You Provide Integration and Configuration Tools?
To effectively manage all the moving parts (literally and figuratively) of your project, you’ll no doubt need to integrate your PLM with other organization-wide systems such as your ERP or CRM.
This can be a very tricky task and decent PLM providers understand that you’ll need extra support to get it right. Make sure that they provide tools that make integration easier, with simple-to-navigate configuration options.
Great PLM is there to make product design, development and manufacturing easier. It should streamline your processes and ease complexities, not add to them.
Whichever vendor you choose, make sure that they not only provide an excellent system that can evolve and grow along with your business, but are fully committed to making the transition and implementation as smooth as possible.