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What are the Risks of Poor Collaboration During The Product Lifecycle Management Process?

July 21, 2016
Posted by Jamie Lu


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is not a new concept. It has played a vital role for many years in managing the end-to-end lifecycle of a product from initial concept involving basic ideas and imagery, through engineering design with specifications and product sourcing, to sample management, order management and critical path tracking (WIP).  PLM solutions do not need to be sophisticated to be effective.  When implemented correctly, PLM will quickly become an enabler of business processes and seamlessly drive innovation as it captures swathes of information that are then shared with, and promotes conversation amongst, all parties involved.

In this article, we identify 3 main risks, along with their knock-on effects, as a result of the poor collaboration that can transpire from implementing an ineffective PLM solution.

  1. The Silo Mentality

If necessary tools and processes are not aligned to share information across the various parties involved in any workstream, then business units and departments may work with a silo mentality in which pertinent information fails to be shared. The silo mindset reduces efficiency in overall operations due to lack of cross functional communication which in turn may reduce morale from misunderstood expectation, resulting in a negative company culture and poor results.  A lack of collaboration will undoubtedly yield duplication of work and the re-invention of the wheel when it comes to planning new styles, ranges, product specifications, or vendor management. Instead, existing ideas or resources should be leveraged and lessons learned from past mistakes and experiences. The correct PLM solution should enable the quick and efficient transfer of information between departments and personnel in order to ensure that all product development stakeholders are kept up-to-date with the latest news relating product issues, statuses and advancements.

  1. Poor product quality and increasing reengineering costs

Proficient product lifecycle management relies on all parties having access to centralized, and accurate, product data and definitions to avoid confusion and blunders during the development, manufacture and delivery stages. If information is stored in more than one place, it is more likely inaccuracies will occur when product specifications are shared across teams which leads to soaring reengineering and production costs. By using a central PLM system, these risks can be eliminated. Not only can an effective solution reduce margin for error at conceptualization, but it can also help departments work collaboratively to monitor product quality, sizes and grading. Poor product quality not only drives customers away, but can lead to low ROIs and spiraling costs.

  1. Perilous products and a damaged reputation

Wrong product information can lead to delayed stock replenishment, ultimately resulting in lost sales, frustrated customers and even fines. However, the most concerning risks are those related to product safety and ethical compliance. For instance, unsafe working conditions, inaccurate product labeling, unsafe components, banned ingredients or inaccurate product declaration can lead to regulatory fines and product recalls or legal action by a customer or end consumer. Even if a product recall is actioned before any harm comes to an end customer, the negative press that ensues can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on business. By cross-functionally sharing information and increasing visibility into each stage of the product lifecycle, PLM tools ensure any such risks are mitigated by effectively checking that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.

Collaborative product development, manufacture and delivery is key across any industry sector. All stakeholders in a supply chain must have access to accurate and real-time information in order to react quickly to changes in the market. Today, the best PLM solutions are those which can capture and share data across the entire product lifecycle process and the supply chain community that supports it.


Ask yourself – can you be confident that your business has the right PLM systems in place to diminish the growing risks of poor collaboration?


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Jamie Lu – Senior Solutions Design Manager, Adjuno

With a background in financial and retail sectors, Jamie understands the importance of realizing a project’s value through its ROI. Focusing on both business and technology, Jamie utilizes his broad, yet focused, experience from Fortune 30 and Fortune 300 companies to drive business strategies through integrating technologies and business processes to yield technical solutions with numerous operating touch points. Formally leading Sourcing PLM Product and Mobile App design for Adjuno, Jamie now focuses on both PLM and Supply Chain solution designs for Adjuno’ s global client base.