by Avichay Nissenbaum executive VP, Corporate Marketing
The current economic volatility is impacting every company around the world. Indeed, organizations face difficult decisions in making it through these troubled times, with many firms scaling back operations, trimming staff, and tightening budgets.
One of the many areas undoubtedly undergoing intense scrutiny is product lifecycle management (PLM). Looking for quick ways to cut costs, some companies are wondering if the decision to invest in such systems shouldn't be delayed until conditions improve. We just can't afford it right now, the reasoning goes.
In contrast, forward thinking managers realize that they can't afford to wait in investing in PLM. These leaders recognize the strategic value of PLM in shaping their company's future direction, and know that they need such solutions now more than ever. They have the fortitude to make such investments when others are running for cover.
You see, the true value of PLM and related collaborative technologies lies not in the point solutions for squeezing out minor time and cost savings in isolated tasks but rather in the fact that they are process solutions that impact the entire enterprise and how it operates: facilitating communication throughout the supply chain, streamlining engineering change, optimizing workflow, improving organizational efficiency, leveraging information across the enterprise, and enabling collaborative product commerce, and providing for sharing of data among dispersed groups.
In this way, PLM goes beyond the engineering department into the other areas of the enterprise such as manufacturing and procurement. Utilization of the solutions expand from the design stage of product development into the entire product lifecycle. And the scope of the technology broadens from controlling documents to managing the complete range of product definition information.
Bottom-line benefits for process improvements facilitated by such far-reaching collaborative PLM solutions can be determined through straightforward return-on-investment (ROI) computations comparing overall costs of a solution versus immediate as well as long-term savings. Such computations can readily demonstrate how quickly systems pay for themselves, especially rapidly implementable solutions such as SMARTEAM that enable companies to start off with a few seats and then expand the number of units incrementally across the enterprise. At each step of the way, new users become productive in a short time so that the company is spared the trauma and expense usually associated with trying to institute enterprise-wide systems all at once, dragging out implementations for months or years before seeing any benefits.
Throughout such an ROI assessment, smart managers realize that the greatest benefit of collaborative PLM is that it provides a technology platform for reaching broad business objectives that might include penetrating new markets, globalizing company operations, or establishing new supply-chain partnerships, for example. Managers who can keep their eye on these business benefits know that the capabilities provided by collaborative PLM solutions can be their greatest market advantage in quickly overtaking short-sighted competitors when the economy kicks back in again.
Avichay Nissenbaum is executive vice-president and co-founder of SmarTeam Corp., a Dassault Systèmes company developing collaborative PLM solutions for improved efficiency, quality and responsiveness. The company was founded in 1995 and is one of the fastest-growing companies in the PLM market, with more than 2,500 customers. Contact the company at email@example.com or visit the website www.smarteam.com.