5 Questions to Determine If You Need Product Lifecycle Management

| Product Lifecycle Management
Posted By: Michelle Duerst

Product Lifecycle Management

1.  Are your processes becoming more complex? 

As businesses grow, so do the number and complexity of processes.   Not only do you need a better way of creating these processes, but approving, implementing, tracking, and reporting.  This question is not isolated to a single department, but needs to be answered by each department involved with a New Product Development and Introduction.


2.  How much of your revenue is projected for new products?

If you said 20% or higher, you should consider a solution that will do more than track your profits, but increase them.  Your software solution should be able to factor in the multiple components of a product’s overall profitability:

  • Controlling costs of ingredients, manufacturing, distribution, recalls
  • Leveraging current formulation knowledge to speed time-to-market and faster time to ROI
  • Eliminating human error for calculating labels, ingredient statements, regulatory documentation
  • Better allocating resources
  • Reducing compliance recalls and fees
  • Raising quality standards with defined processes, standardized units of measurement, and visibility to manufacturing equipment requirements


3.  How do you collaborate?

If you solely rely on email, you already know the frustrations of following long threads, searching for a missing file, or trying to understand accuracy and current status of project updates.  Standalone project management systems may provide a better collaboration environment, but they still do not solve the problem of visibility and integration. Your team members, data, and suppliers must all work together with a single version of the truth that is both accessible and accurate.


4.  What is your R&D productivity level?

Gartner estimates “improvements in R&D productivity, as high as 70% based on percentage of R&D projects launched over a year, that yield sellable products.”[1]

Why?  While spreadsheets and home-grown solutions can house data, they cannot leverage databases, optimize formulations, prototype new recipes or analyze for compliance issues.


5.  How do you manage global compliance?

Even if you have a fully-staffed regulatory department, there are questions and concerns to raise about how products comply with government regulations. 

  • Does your regulatory team have complete visibility to all of the ingredients and specific amounts for each variation of the manufactured product? 
  • Can you view the analysis while you are developing the product? 
  • Can you view the vendor specifications for supplier’s ingredients?  
  • Can you generate compliant labeling directly from the formulation database?

Gartner states, “Multiple product families supporting multiple sets of regulations increase the cost and complexity of product design, delivery and support. Therefore, the ability to navigate the labyrinth of regulations during the design of product families has become a top PLM priority that needs to support a knowledgebase (and associated rules) for these regulations, along with analytics and reporting tools to monitor designing that complies with the multitude of mandates.”[2]


Read More:


[1] Source: Gartner, “PLM Drivers and Software Needs in Formulated Packaged Goods Industries” by Marc Halpern, Janet Suleski, Michael Burkett, and Michael Shanker, December 2012


[2] Source: Gartner, “Business Drivers of Technology for Product Manufacturing Industries” by Marc Halpern, December 2012