PLM and Mobility
PLM is a set of processes and supporting technologies that enables the definition and management of a product from its inception until it is retired within an organization. The broadest definition of PLM includes activities that encompass conceiving, designing, developing, sourcing or making, and delivering the product. Narrower definitions of PLM include only a subset of these activities. However, the general consensus is that PLM refers to the upfront processes of conceiving, designing, and developing product.
Implementing a technology solution that supports end-to-end business processes, such as PLM, allows an organization to have a data repository that holds a “single version of the truth” as opposed to having information spread across multiple spreadsheets and individual computers. This allows for much greater collaboration and consistency between teams and external partners across the globe: the most up-to-date version is always accessible.
In the fast-moving world of product development, mobile technology is becoming extremely important. PLM activities require retailers to develop, track, and manage branded or exclusive products from product conception through order fulfillment. Over the past few years, many advances and improvements have been made to PLM applications to make the product development process faster and more efficient. However, while PLM is the “single version of the truth,” information gaps remain between the product designers, factory and consumers. Many decisions and processes still happen outside the PLM system, and that information can be lost, delayed, inaccurate, or simply not entered into the PLM system at all.
Enabling PLM processes with mobility can vastly improve communication, efficiency, and data accuracy – in the end leading to better decision-making. Mobile applications give employees more flexibility in accessing corporate data and applications when traveling or working remotely. Mobility also increases productivity because employees can communicate with their colleagues more frequently and can quickly respond to issues that arise real time.
An organization must have in place the right processes, policies, and procedures to support a mobile PLM work force. In the past, it was uncommon for the IT organization to allow “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) programs, which allow employees to use their personal mobile devices for work. Today BYOD is an acceptable and scalable solution approach for mobile deployment. While there are enterprise security and personal privacy issues that must be managed, as well as the need to maintain application consistency across a myriad of devices and operating systems, employing BYOD practices helps reduce enterprise technology procurement and maintenance costs, while providing the opportunity to vastly improve productivity, efficiency, and data integrity.