Here we address the five key ways cloud-native PLMs improve the product development process.
- Built in automation frees up more time for engineering. Cloud-native PLM automates administrative tasks.
- It allows for seamless integration and endless collaboration. Cloud-native PLM maintains proper collaboration between departments and gives engineers the control to decide what elements of their designs to release and when.
- It maintains real-time control of designs. Cloud-native PLM prevents the problem of other departments making business decisions based on older versions of a design.
- It saves time and money by streamlining operations. The moment the engineer upgrades any detail of the 3D CAD system and publishes the data, it is propagated automatically and instantly across the entire PLM system
- It gets you to market faster. Online PLM software like Duro’s can be up and running across the organization in a matter of days, and training can be completed in just a few hours.
Agile product development, which originated to serve software, is now transforming hardware. Today, an increasing number of hardware manufacturers are working with shorter lead times between development and delivery of products. Cloud-native Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a key part of this transformation.
Online PLM software benefits hardware businesses who need to:
- Free up engineers from non-productive administrative tasks
- Eliminate multiple data silos and create a single source of truth
- Remove bottlenecks between engineering, procurement and manufacturing
- Shorten time to market
- Improve quality by minimizing mistakes throughout the lifecycle
As the hardware industry becomes increasingly agile, it’s necessary for companies to look at better data management systems to both stay competitive and get their products to market faster than their competitors.
Learn how to stay ahead of the competition by implementing a product data management platform that empowers your engineers to work the way they want, when they want, and without imposing rigid workflows, forms and templates.
To survive and scale in uncertain times, hardware manufacturers are pivoting to agile methodologies that are employed to increase productivity, decrease inefficiencies, and increase a company’s competitive edge. But how does a cloud-native PLM enable this?
Let’s look at the five key ways cloud-native PLMs improve the collaborative product development process.
- Built in automation frees up more time for engineering
Hardware engineers need freedom to be innovative, to make changes rapidly, and to not have to keep track of things a system should do on its own. But without appropriate automation, a tremendous amount of their time is spent on non-engineering functions. Studies show that about half an engineer’s day is spent on unproductive administrative tasks such as:
- Searching/sourcing for components in catalogs and websites
- Manually entering component metadata
- BOM version management of spreadsheets
- Understanding the impact of a change (e.g. choosing a different component)
Cloud-native PLM provides a way to recoup that lost time by automating a number of these administrative tasks. Manual data entry, component sourcing and BOM version management, can all be orchestrated or supported by software. Through this automation, engineers not only save time, but they also reduce the risk that’s inherent in completing these types of tasks manually without the support of software.
- It allows for seamless integration and endless collaboration
It’s not uncommon for engineering teams, at the onset of a new collaborative product development project, to exclusively use 3D CAD software to conduct and track the design process. Design iterations and product decisions are then communicated via spreadsheet and email.
At this early stage, without proper PLM processes in place, the engineering team is constantly facing tension between attempts to speed up manufacturing by disseminating information amongst product stakeholders, and the risk of making downstream decisions based on models that are temporary, incomplete, or unfinished.
This tension can be alleviated by connecting the engineering stakeholders with the manufacturing stakeholders through an integrated toolset composed of 3D CAD and cloud-native PLM. Online PLM software like Duro’s maintains proper collaboration between departments and gives engineers the control to decide what elements of their designs to release, when to share information, and what departments have access to review and approve changes.
- It maintains real-time control of designs
Generally, engineers understand the importance of cloud solutions to ensure that there is always one master design for every product design. It prevents the problem of other departments making business decisions based on older versions of a design, which is particularly critical in today’s multi-national and distributed organizations.
Solving this problem was a top-of-mind priority for one of Duro’s aerospace and defense customers. With manufacturing in Asia and the engineering team spread across Australia and North America, collaboration posed unique challenges.
While the global design team shared designs of different modules with one another, the manufacturing team simultaneously needed to know what components were needed far in advance to meet their own deadlines. With designs in flux, how could the manufacturing stakeholders be confident they were making the right business decisions? One small error could result in lost time and money for their business.
To address these challenges, the company made the move to Duro. Coupled with their existing 3D CAD tool (Onshape), Duro enabled the team to remove the need for a cumbersome PDM and increase communication between engineering and manufacturing. The combination of these cloud solutions allowed the engineering team to specify, as they were in the design phase, exactly which components were already finalized and which were still under consideration. This enabled the purchasing department to start the requisition process for many of the parts even before the entire BOM was finalized—but without taking any of the risk they were exposed to before the Duro and Onshape integration.
- It saves time and money by streamlining operations
Even though today’s CAD systems, like Onshape, have some overlap with PLM functions, dedicated PLM systems are focused on specific lifecycle tasks. These tasks include:
- Managing the BOM
- Streamlining part number assignment
- Organizing supply chain data
While the engineers will be relieved of the need to send and manage exported designs and spreadsheets, the main users of the PLM system will be on the operations side. After all, heavy ERP systems can create a major drag on the organization.
One new Duro customer reflected on an experience with a previous ERP system that led to a three-day slowdown as a result of merely fixing a typo and propagating it to the many places it was stored in the system. A repeated inefficiency like that one would cost any company both time and money.
Duro’s cloud-native PLM provides an experience most modern users expect. The moment the engineer upgrades any detail of the 3D CAD system and publishes the data, it is propagated automatically and instantly across the entire PLM system and the different departments using the data. Using the PLM to manage this process instead of CAD allows for holistic control of a product as opposed to limiting it to the CAD application’s visibility.
- It gets you to market faster
When it comes to hardware, 18 or 24-month lead times were the industry norm. Both business customers and consumers were used to how long it took to actually build physical products. Today, however, a six-month lead time can even be too slow to meet the market’s changing needs.
PLM is a crucial element in shortening lead time. In fact, without PLM, 55 percent of companies reported missing their launch dates.
More importantly, the PLM itself needs to fit with this rapidly changing timeline. Some of the PLM systems on the market can take three to six months just to implement, but manufacturers can’t afford to wait that long.
Duro’s online PLM software can be up and running across the organization in a matter of days, and training can be completed in just a few hours. Employers don’t need to hire a separate manager to maintain the PLM, and staff don’t need to remember complicated tasks—everything is simple and intuitive. Upgrades and improvements happen automatically in the cloud, meaning to a certain extent, Duro runs itself.
Hardware is the New Software: Power the Next Generation of Makers with Duro
As hardware manufacturers move to more agile development cycles, cloud-native PLM is a cornerstone of their organization. Choosing the right system can smooth the transition for engineers, and dramatically streamline processes while increasing revenue for the organization.
You cannot create the future when your engineering team is stuck in yesterday’s way of developing hardware; schedule a demo with Duro to learn how you can pave the future of collaborative product development at your organization.