Does this sound familiar? You're deep into a new product development process and heads down working on executing the product plan. Suddenly, you realize discrepancies in the products and feature definitions, the timelines to launch them, and their configurations. A myriad of spreadsheets, text documents, and presentation files stored in different places make it confusing to navigate as you are not sure what the latest approved decisions and definitions are. This means that now is the time to stop what you're doing and jump into the 'data scramble' and send a deluge of emails to product planning and product management teams to get the answers you need with a definitive picture of the product line.
Designing a product line is a balancing act, and it can seem impossible to create the perfect product. Boundaries like the weight of a product, the availability of materials, and cost must be considered, and the complexity of all possible configurations must be closely managed. Simultaneously, answers to questions from the business about the possible solutions for products being considered for the market must be readily available at all times. But how can these tasks critical for success be accomplished when using product planning templates in excel?
In our recent webinar titled, "Supercharge Your PLM", we discuss these common challenges and pose the question, why isn't the product plan more integrated with PLM for faster sharing of critical information? With so many teams across your organization, planning, and working in their silos, it becomes challenging for the PLM to consume the data coming from these disparate sources. Your PLM needs a supercharge by integrating with a product planning software solution.
When product planning happens in excel templates outside of the PLM, it creates many challenges and obstacles. For example, key stakeholders lose easy visibility into planning data that is relevant to them. The PLM isn't equipped to report or analyze alternative product configurations to create the engineering aspect. Without a bi-directional flow of data between the PLM and your planning documents, the time it takes to adjust plans and change designs in the PLM can be overwhelming. All of this can lead to the dreaded missed launch date, which equates to lost revenue on the bottom line, and usually other repercussions.
Integrating Product Planning with the PLM
The complexities involved in planning products for discrete manufacturing require the transformation of old processes that use tools not built for the job. Agile product management tools need to be flexible and allow a fast response to changing priorities. Integrating a product planning software solution with your PLM platform can drive your organization to apply PLM-like rigor into product management systems and processes.
Part of the guidance product planning software provides is a consistent way of bringing disparate teams together and providing a standard output from their work. Having a streamlined end-to-end product development process allows organizations to gain an edge over the competition.
Product planning software supports product management functions by providing a sandbox for planning and scoring product features and configurations. You can include 'test' products to optimize outputs, iterate on designs, and run your Pugh and cost analysis models so that results can be considered before product configurations are encoded in the PLM. It can also help streamline communication with stakeholders and enable feedback to be inserted directly into the plan. Without proper product planning software, these processes are very complicated, time-consuming, and labor-intensive.
Another way product planning software increases efficiency is by aligning product structures between the plan and the PLM. When you create a product plan, you are building a product structure. Since product definition is done at a feature level, a layer above the BOM, this structure is almost always different from the PLM's product structure. Product planning software will translate the planning product structure to the PLM product structure, creating a common 'language' between product and engineering.
Enter Gocious for Faster Product Planning
What's needed is a faster way to get engineering and the rest of the business on the same page and keep them there. Product planning software, such as Gocious, is an innovative and agile solution to the common "data scramble" problem faced by product managers and allows organizations to get rid of product planning templates in excel and other tools that may cause discrepancies.
Gocious is a software product platform to be used by product planning teams, with a built-in connection to PLM. Put simply, it's a working environment for product planning and others who need to work with the product planning data.
Gocious can provide many of the things your PLM can't. It sets your product line direction and aligns your organization around it. Data is integrated into the PLM and flows back into Gocious. A good product planning software solution like Gocious isn't tethered to any specific PLM platform but rather an independent node with open architecture, allowing it to easily exchange its data with any PLM.
With a solution like Gocious, you can make configuration decisions on the product itself or on features. Reports can show at a high level the range of data for specific configurations. For example, you can see the range of a product's weight, cost, or any other specifications across all available options. And you can do it quickly and outside the constraints of spreadsheets.
Increase collaboration, planning accuracy, and avoid costly mistakes by connecting product planning to PLM with product planning software.
Try Gocious Product Planning Software free for 30 days here