Is your company still handling product lifecycle management on paper? Paper processes can work well for very small companies, but they’re not ideal for larger ones. Product development can become slow and difficult to manage. Important papers can get lost. Employees in different departments have little visibility of what other departments are working on.
If your business has reached this point, you may be thinking about upgrading your product lifecycle management (PLM) technology. Using a cloud-based system can resolve a lot of your company’s current product management issues. With a bit of planning, upgrading your technology can go smoothly. Plan to avoid these seven mistakes during your upgrade.
1. Not Knowing What You Need
Before you start looking for PLM technology, determine exactly what your company needs. Make a list of the functions you need to manage with the technology. Determine which features are most important to you in your new technology.
Once you have a clear idea of the type of technology you need, you can move forward.
2. Not Doing Your Research
There are many vendors of PLM technology. Some business owners make the mistake of choosing the first vendors they find in an internet search. While the features list may look good at first, always remember to dig deeper.
Take advantage of the vendor’s free trial offer before you decide to commit. You can also ask the vendor for references and talk to a couple of other business owners who are already using the system.
3. Not Designating a Project Manager
Upgrading your PLM process can be a lot of work (though the effort is worth it). If you have a lot of paper-based processes, someone will need to gather all the paper and make sense of it.
They’ll need to enter the information in the new system. As a busy business owner, you probably don’t have time to handle this yourself. Designate one of your employees as the project manager for your PLM upgrade to ensure everything goes smoothly.
4. Not Getting Buy-In from Employees
Employee resistance to change can be an obstacle. After using paper-based methods for years, they may be resistant to doing things in a completely new way.
Before you move forward with the upgrade, talk to your employees about why you’re making the change. Explain how the new system will make them more organized and make their jobs easier. If your employees are excited to use the new system, your upgrade will be much less stressful for everyone involved.
5. Not Preparing Data for the New System
Paper-based systems are prone to errors. Outdated copies of documents could still be circulating. Employees may not know which copy of a document is the newest version. If all of your data is transferred from paper to the new system, errors could be introduced.
Before any data is transferred, have your project manager organize the documents and determine which are up to date and accurate.
6. Not Training Your Employees
No matter how userfriendly your new PLM system is, your employees will need to learn how to use it. While they can probably figure out how to use it on their own, that’s not efficient.
Learning through trial and error makes your employees less efficient. Instead, train employees how to use the new system. Use hands-on methods, and let everyone experiment with the new system for a week or so before you start using it for real.
7. Not Being Ready for Growth
Switching from a paper-based system to a cloud-based system is a big change. But it’s one of the key tips for growing your small business. Once you implement an efficient system, your employees will be able to get more work done. They’ll be able to help your company grow. You need to be ready for this growth. Ensure your processes will scale well so you’re not caught off guard by growth.