Consumers’ increasing affinity for the latest new product or service and created increased pressure on Discrete Manufacturers to meet or exceed the needs of their customers. This need to respond places increased pressure on systems to maintain and develop new products.
The Challenges to collaborative product development include a greatly compressed product development cycle — and shorter product lifecycle — that must be confronted by globally distributed engineering, marketing, and distribution teams. Poor program and project planning, a lack of collaboration and failure to capitalize on past advances all lead to lost sales opportunities, loss of market share, and decreased ROI.
Satisfying the demand of a fast-paced consumer cycle requires Discrete Manufacturing companies to move rapidly to stay ahead of competitors and consumer tastes. They must bring interesting and exciting new products to market in a timely fashion, whether they are first to market or responding to a competitor’s new product offerings.
To accomplish this feat, companies need Product Lifecycle and Management (PLM) software that maximizes the profit of its products, from initial concept to the end of their lives. PLM drives faster time-to-market, enhances collaboration for global engineering teams, reduces development costs, improves customer satisfaction, and increases the value of product portfolios.
Microsoft orients its technologies toward encouraging and enabling collaboration. After all, product design is a highly iterative process that requires collaboration among a number of people and departments involved in the process — e.g., manufacturing, purchasing, and legal departments — and the company’s global vendors and suppliers.
Microsoft along with its partners provides PLM solutions that provides internal and external stakeholders with real- time access to all product data, including the components design history, materials composition, design parameters, and manufacturing specs. Changes to existing products, or combinations for new products, are made easier when collaborative teams have such information at their fingertips to reduce errors during design work-ups. The real-time access to minute technical details can make or break the success of the complex, integrated technology products desired by consumers.
Similarly important, Microsoft PLM software helps track information gathered from customers, to extend the short life of products or to identify the next consumer preference, possibly even before typical consumer demand dictates. Microsoft PLM platforms empower greater operational efficiency, help team members make faster and more predictable decisions to resolve issues, and enable better record keeping for compliance — all while reducing costs.
Microsoft solutions provided several key benefits through improvement in Product Lifecycle Management:
- Enterprise-wide collaboration that enable finding, using, and sharing information
- Faster and more predictable decisions to resolve issues
- Real-time visibility and access to product information
- Reduced costs and increased efficiency
- Better record keeping and compliance
- Use of the most current technologies and materials
Key Microsoft technologies to support Product Lifecycle Management include:
Microsoft Office for Business Applications to help information workers access design information for documentation, maintenance, and repair.
Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management helps align people, investments and work with business priorities; automate project management processes; manage portfolios; and create effective communication and collaboration across the organization.
Microsoft SharePoint offers enterprise portal solutions that help in providing role-based access and real-time visibility to consolidated product and business information through dashboards.
Microsoft Office Project helps users gain visibility and insights into their investments, automate project management processes, create effective communication and collaboration across the organization, and manage work from individual projects to complex programs across the entire project lifecycle.
Microsoft SQL Server brings data together from virtually any source within an organization and enables online analytical processing (OLAP) so that decision makers can centrally define and manage organizational business logic. It also supports simple ad hoc analysis and sophisticated predictive analytics, and is used to publish highly formatted and interactive reports that make data easily accessible to a large number of people.