Engineering & Industrial Services

Product Lifecycle Management and the Supply Chain: Extending the Boundaries for Effective Product Realization

In this paper, we highlight the key challenges in managing a global supply chain and how PLM can provide a platform for supplier integration across the product lifecycle having a notable impact on businesses.

Global, multi-tiered supply chains are a complex web of relationships. As competition continue to rise, companies must address the challenges of product customization, market expansion and supply chain volatility to compete effectively.

Supplier Integration across the Product Lifecycle:
Given the increased product complexity and shorter product lifecycles, supplier integration is crucial to improving supply chain planning and agility. In the case of new product development, this integration can occur during any of the lifecycle phases – idea generation, product conceptualization, design and development, and prototype building and testing. Aligning suppliers makes it easier to monitor production in real time, such as tracking manufacturing specifications. To successfully bridge product development and supply chain functions, an IT solution is a must.

Stronger and Better Together : PLM & Supply Chain Management : Areas for SCM and PLM integration:

  • Supplier collaboration and requirements gathering
  • Materials sourcing
  • Compliance management
  • Product cost management
  • Quality control

The Expanding Role of PLM in Supply Chain Integration
It is evident that the supply chain and PLM are a natural fit, but there are still some gaps that need to be addressed to make the most of this integration. PLM systems can be more accessible and aligned to the needs of the supply chain with capabilities like :

  • Integration with supplier systems
  • Inclusion of analytics tools and social media features
  • Scalable Licensing models
  • Flexible interfaces
  • Digital simulation capabilities

By supporting supply chain processes, PLM systems can successfully move beyond their traditional role of providing product development support, and help establish a framework for enterprise-wide optimization of the entire product realization process. At the same time, the supply chain can strengthen its contribution across the product lifecycle by providing early visibility to supplier product data. For greater long term success, businesses must ensure that this integration goes beyond merely sharing of data. It should be based on the resolution of common business challenges and achievement of a shared vision –one that brings high quality products into the market quickly, and at reduced costs.

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