Product lifecycle management is a systematic way of approaching product development functions and transforming the organization through agile and adaptive methodologies. In a world encapsulated by complex business practices and intricate product development functions, PLM provides an end-to-end product value chain. The different facts of PLM solutions cover the product’s full spectrum and its associated development tasks. It manages the processes across departments and teams within an organization to produce a dynamic and robust product.
PLM also plays an integral role in integrating development functions across the product value chain to make it efficient, agile, responsive, and fast. The future of PLM is bright and will help companies keep pace with changing market dynamics. It deals efficiently with product development and commercialization aspects. PLM trends in the coming years will aim at addressing change orchestrations, commercialization, piloting, testing, and after-sales services. This article studies the top PLM trends of 2023, which will define the future of product lifecycle management.
In simple terms, a blockchain is a single database or immutable ledger of information that allows multiple users to access the truth and study pieces of data. Pieces of data are also called blocks. It comprises a growing list of records. Blockchain is a noteworthy trend that is similar to a real-time digital filing cabinet. The technology ensures the accuracy, precision, and security of data even after it leaves the system. According to a report by Statista, the Blockchain market will be worth around $17.9 billion by 2024. But how do blockchain and product lifecycle management frameworks correlate?
PLM software deals in product data and information management and handling. The framework requires the management of information in the supply chain for easy logistics and commercialization processes. It addresses the service sector concerns. Blockchain technology, when applied to the product data, keeps it secure and accurate when the data leaves the PLM solution. Sometimes data shifts from one solution to another for various reasons. Blockchain application will provide the necessary support to the PLM data and will keep it intact. The future sees an integral role of blockchain technology in strengthening product lifecycle management practices by providing a safety net to the product data. Blockchain will also simplify complex PLM practices in the future.
2. Digital Twin and Thread
Digital Twins is a fascinating new concept and trend of PLM, which refers to developing a model of a physical product in an online or virtual space. A digital thread is different from a digital twin. It refers to the management of product data from start to end. Both concepts are, however, closely related to PLM infrastructure. Data scientists and PLM engineers associate digital threads with a communication framework that starts from the conception of a product and lasts till the product’s expiration. A digital thread is very crucial to PLM because it explains the connection of product data and the changes that it goes through during a product’s life cycle at various stages. These changes and product information showcase the real product at any given point in time. When these changes reflect in virtual space, it becomes a digital twin.
While a digital twin is a virtual depiction of a physical product, it means that the actual product or the physical twin also exists in real life. The real-life physical product is represented through PLM. Both objects are associated or attached to one another. The Healthcare sector is a popular example of an industry implementing the concept of digital twins. This trend will continue to grow because it helps medical practitioners and doctors analyze tailored data from the digital twins of a physical product. It will also study how patients, doctors, and machines work around different situations. The digital twin technology in PLM could revolutionize forecasting methods. It will identify patterns and compare the databases and study those patterns and trends.
Any changes made to the physical product align with the digital twin and vice versa. Compliance studies the effects of a product in a controlled environment, which will lay the foundation for real-world products. The digital twin must undergo the same changes and modifications as the physical item to study its coherence.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality in PLM
Product life cycle management could make use of augmented and virtual reality VR technology to study the performance of a product in the market, review the changes, modify parts of it, simulate environments, and test it under what-if situations. PLM could benefit greatly from this trend as it will test the product’s durability and developmental performance. The manufacturing industry is experiencing a widespread application of AR and VR to leverage benefits for the product market.
In addition to video games and entertainment, these technologies help identify problem areas in a product. They evaluate the performance and product formation and development. It could also help eliminate imperfections and weaknesses in a product and bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. Augmented reality uses virtual technology to visualize blueprints and physical products. It eliminates the need for creating product prototypes for testing in the market. Instead, one can test the products in a simulated environment.
Whereas in virtual reality, a computer-generated model interacts with 3D objects in a 3D space via goggles. Many fashion and apparel brands use VR for customers to try out new trends, clothes, and shoes through visualizations. A similar situation will work for PLM and manufacturing industries.
4. Cloud Deployment or Cloud PLM
Cloud computing is increasingly becoming a part of every application, technology, and framework. No technology or application is ever complete without cloud deployment. The same is the case with PLM software. Cloud PLM is a new concept that discusses the involvement and deployment of cloud computing to PLM practices and processes.
We are all familiar with working in a cloud environment. Cloud provides a third-party server that stores company, customer, product, and market information. It relieves the troubles of hosting and storing information on a computer hard drive. It is a virtual server that stores all the information which is accessible from anywhere at any given time and from any device. All you require is a robust and stable internet connection to access the information. Companies and product lifecycle management infrastructures prefer cloud solutions because of their security services and tactics, which keep the information secure. These security tactics are two-step authentication, encryption, etc.
5. Two-Step Authentication
Since PLM is all about product data handling, it could benefit greatly from cloud deployment. Product information is crucial and sensitive. If leaked, it could create havoc, and your competitors may get hold of your sensitive information. Cloud security offers two-step and multi-factor authentication solutions. Whenever you log into your cloud to access product information, you will be required to:
- Answer security questions
- Go through facial recognition
- Confirm codes
- Scan fingerprints
PLM software could use this authentication method to add an extra layer of security and blanket sensitive product information.
Data encryption is a promising advantage of cloud PLM. When your company, product, and manufacturing databases are at stake, you take every measure to secure them. Data encryption provides the much-needed security shield to your data by encrypting your files with unreadable text. Any messages or files in your product lifecycle management software will undergo encryption. They will become readable and decipherable only when you decode them. These encryption techniques will save your data from hacking, phishing, and fraudulent attempts. These unique codes are very hard to decode, especially when you do not have an encryption key. So, your product information will be safe with a data encryption mechanism.
Another reliable way of protecting PLM data through cloud technology is enabling access control. The access control feature restricts people from accessing the cloud solution, which carries all the sensitive company information. The reliable access control module will only permit a certain number of employees to access information. It is at the manager’s discretion whom they choose to reveal information. Employees can send access requests to view the information. The access control feature has user permission and other restrictions to limit the number of views and how much content they can view.
The above-mentioned product lifecycle management trends will be revolutionary for the manufacturing industries and software companies. These trends and practices could help your business grow exponentially and accentuate its assets. It is mandatory for companies to keep up with the changing trends and practices of the world to stay relevant. Each of these trends has its own advantages and disadvantages. The essence lies in how one chooses to adopt the trend in their favor. Moreover, these technologies could erode organizational silos by bridging the communication gap between teams and departments.
These practices will ensure collaboration between product engineers, data scientists, manufacturers, and stakeholders. It is also advisable to measure the performance of these practices to monitor the performance KPIs. This will give you an idea of how these trends are working out in your favor. Make amends to your product life cycle and management practices with these fool-proof practices and trends. The Product lifecycle management trends guarantee you success and will skyrocket your revenues. Contact us at [email protected] for free PLM consultation.