Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) significantly improves many key factors in a NPDI. These ROI benefits can be experienced across multiple departments and in every stage of the lifecycle. But before any results can be achieved, the IT department must have a configurable, scalable, and stable solution to integrate and support in their enterprise.
Gartner states, “Well-designed governance has two major components, the governance framework and the governance process. The governance framework is the target investment portfolio for IT based on the enterprise's strategy and approach to risk. A strong framework provides the key criteria by which all IT-related investment decisions are made. An effective governance process is designed to execute the framework. The clearer the governance framework, the less process the enterprise requires.”
4 Steps to Better IT Governance
1. Identify key initiatives and their owners.
Most companies begin their search for a new PLM solution when they realize they do not have the visibility and compatibility across their enterprise.
While this may sound simplistic and there are definitely other criteria; these two areas impact all other functionality requirements:
- Regulatory governance
- Specification management
- Project management
- Faster formulation
- Labeling management
- Quality assurance
- Document management
This topic was covered in greater depth in an earlier blog post, “5 Steps to Clearer PLM Vision.”
2. Identify architectural needs.
Once you have defined your PLM vision, you will need to create a roadmap on how to achieve this.
First, you will need to have a database that allows synchronization, such as Oracle or MS SQL.
The next critical aspect will be answering “How do I make these systems talk to each other?” Data can only be valuable when it can be shared and utilized. You must make sure your systems can push/pull data across your enterprise, without losing the essential details.
This can be accomplished through synchronous and asynchronous integration with ERP systems and an open connection with your legacy systems (ex: Supply Chain). Your data will need to coordinate between the Master Recipe in ERP, the Supply Chain data, and your PLM databases.
What will this look like?
3. Automate processes.
IT Departments must support multiple departments and divisions across all platforms. Improve efficiency by examining your ongoing activities at a quarterly level.
Identify repetitive activities to create new automated processes, including the following examples:
- Templates and Reports
o Defined product requests (brief), requirements, and specifications
o Defined project with specified phases and gates
o Activity/status reports
o Document generation and distribution (based on a defined time or completed event)
o Automatic archival
- Specification variance
- Change management alert and approval
- Formula validation notification
- New/changed specification approval escalation and tracking
4. Increase user configuration.
If a solution is not intuitive, user-friendly, or configurable, your IT department can become immediately swamped with a litany of minor requests. While each one may seem straight-forward and simple, the simple “drops” can quickly turn into a flood of demands.
This can be addressed in a few ways, but the most efficient tools will provide graphical configuration that requires little to no IT expertise.
Adaptable interfaces should allow users to easily (and if desired, frequently) change their own work online work environment, including:
- Initial start page (Home)
- Graphic dashboard