In a modern production system, the efficiency of each production segment is the key to success. Therefore, companies, whether small or multinational, are constantly striving to satisfy the market, primarily with the quality of their product, and then with a wide range of different products. The complexity of the whole system grows exponentially when the market is added, which expands and becomes more demanding. Therefore, the tasks of the company’s management are of great importance, in order to adequately respond to all requests.
In order to meet all requirements, employees in the company, whether they work in a development center, line maintenance, quality control, marketing, or logistics, need to have an adequate software tool, which monitors the complete product life cycle (PLM). When choosing such a tool, the decision of the company’s management is crucial for further business. Such software should enable companies to achieve:
- storage of all data related to the product in one place and enabled access to data from different locations,
- better insight into the business of the whole company that allows them to critically examine and properly direct their business,
- reducing the production cycle, ie increasing the speed of product placement on the market in accordance with customer requirements,
- reducing the costs of product development by introducing a methodology of rational implementation (Lean Methodology), as well as increasing revenue from new products,
- improving the quality of cooperation with partners, as well as with suppliers,
- full transparency along the entire supply chain, enabling them to meet all environmental, ethical, and sustainable regulations with certainty,
- improving product quality, and in line with commercial and economic requirements.
Introducing new software into a company is not an easy task, but if the management performs an analysis that results in a positive response to the introduction of software to monitor the entire product life cycle, it should certainly be accepted. PLM software lowers the possibility of creating an error in the complex process of creating, creating, and eventually placing a new product on the market. Without a good flow of information among employees on project implementation, the resulting product will not satisfy the end-user and the firm will lose credibility. If we take into account that employees from different fields (designers, engineers in charge of development, materials, production processes, human resources management rade) are working on the realization of the project, the possibilities for error, due to insufficient communication, increase further. Therefore, the introduction of PLM software becomes a need of the company.
The advantage that PLM software provides is easier tracking of the entire product life cycle. It reduces the need to write reports for employees who are responsible for different parts of the product because information about the project implementation process is stored in one place and can be tracked online. This provides sector managers with a long time and a greater focus on self-management and improving project implementation. The result is a higher quality product and more satisfied users. Online monitoring of project development also contributes to improving communication among employees on project implementation and reducing the possibility of errors in the process to a minimum. This type of information flow enhances their cooperation and reduces the time of all processes. By simply displaying the 3D model, regardless of the software in which the model was created, employees know at what stage of development their part of the product is. This accelerates the development of the new product and its further transmission to the next phases. Also, part of the logistics is being improved because the supplier has precisely defined what he needs to deliver so that cooperation and sharing of information are accelerated.
Before introducing new software, it is necessary to be based on the following:
- Analyze in detail the current state of the company and find segments in the process that should be reduced or eliminated. In addition, it is necessary to conduct case studies of all parts of logistics, development, and production to implement PLM software to be successful. You also need to define exactly what you want to get using the software.
- After the initial internal analysis, it is necessary to select the sectors in which to start the implementation of PLM software, so that you get the results, but also so that you can control the process if unforeseen situations occur, how not to jeopardize the business. It is necessary to do additional analysis of how the processes in the selected segments work before the software implementation, and how they should work after the implementation. Once you have everything ready, you can start creating a software implementation strategy with defined deadlines.
- After the analysis, it is necessary to choose a company that offers adequate PLM software for you. Partner selection is the most important part of the PLM software implementation process. The company you choose as a partner should have a long tradition in the development of PLM software, as well as offer such software that can meet the business needs of the company. Also, there must be training for employees for such software, to avoid downtime due to inadequately trained staff to use the software. When the company is selected, the software implementation phase in the factory business begins.
- Finally, it is necessary to analyze the gain and profitability of software implementation. After a certain period of time, depending on the size of the firm, progress in improving performance should be visible. They should be especially visible in terms of communication, standardization of processes, ability to meet deadlines, gaining customer trust, finding new ways to improve and increase production, without the need to hire new workers, and ultimately improve product quality.
Over a long period of time, PLM software properly planned and implemented can provide measurable results for the following basic goals:
- increased transparency of information within the entire company,
- precise and predictable costs in accordance with the limits of estimated costs,
- reducing the time of product placement on the market,
- raising product quality,
- reduction of time and costs for prototyping and better communication in the initial stages of development,
- unique storage of all product information, available to everyone,
- achieving significant savings by reusing data from previously manufactured products,
- improving the efficiency of many company processes,
- reduction of scrap as a result of reduced sampling and better reuse of data and materials,
- the ability to provide suppliers with access to a single source of product information, achieving reliable global collaboration.
Dassault Systemes has developed ENOVIA PLM software, which is easily customizable for all company sizes, from small to medium, all the way to multinational companies. Provides easy accessories to launch and track new projects. Access to data from multiple networked computers, where information is stored and updated in one place, provides a benefit for one company. A simple interface with easy-to-access 3D models allows everyone working on the project to be more efficient while working. Storage and reuse of components and parts are also available, while the possibility of an error during the development of a new product is almost impossible due to the standardization of parts within a large database. Work between different sectors is almost automated, and additional time is provided for product improvement.
Managers of all sectors have an immediate insight into the entire project and know precisely, without additional collection of reports and status, at what stage of development the project is and whether the deadlines are endangered so that they can react in time. Different types of spreadsheets show the status of a project in a simple way, which allows team members more time to work and less time to fill in reports. Also, by personalizing its interface in ENOVIA software, task tracking is simple and does not require additional complications. All these tools enable an increase in the speed of the product from idea to market while providing the company with a profit and the opportunity to raise its own capacity.