A company’s success is first and foremost determined by the earning power of its projects and processes. It has to be able to coordinate the way it plans, manages, and controls its documents in a single system, as this will maximize the efficiency of its projects and processes.

This principle is at the core of PRO.FILE’s product lifecycle management (PLM) approach. Product lifecycle management (PLM) as the next step beyond PDM encompasses process control for product data and information flows, making it a strategic instrument of the manufacturing sector. PLM software is tightly integrated with a company’s business processes and plays an essential role in product development and innovation. Manufacturing companies that leverage PLM solutions achieve a faster time to market for their products and reduce costs by creating innovation processes that are transparent and consistent across the enterprise.  A PLM solution creates a seamless experience, giving everyone along the process chain – whether its incoming orders, design, production, or sales – controlled access to a consistent and unified Product Data Backbone.

6.1 Change Order Management

Process control means tying a company’s task management to its product data to enable users to retrieve all data and documents that are relevant to a process or project from a single source. This improves the coordination of ongoing product lifecycle processes or projects, which in turn reduces processing times and avoids errors that occur when processes intertwine.

Product data or document management systems (PDM/PLM system with DMStec) enable companies to control their documents based on their status, for example “Document in process” or “Document released”. With product lifecycle management (PLM solution), they move on to controlling their tasks. Product lifecycle processes based on task files are ideally suited for all areas where manufacturing companies aim to control and automate recurring processes or processes with multiple stakeholders that cut across the company. In the task file, the task at hand is linked to its related documents and those that need to be processed. The task, in turn, belongs to processes or projects whose chronological order is controlled. With this type of advanced flow logic in place, even subtasks can be automated.

Development projects frequently require the implementation of short-notice changes, which can confound even the most careful calculations and schedules. Attempts to manually coordinate the change order process usually take up too much time. Task files present a solution to this problem by automating the product lifecycle management processes involved (PLM system). The system notifies users of any deviations and provides instant visibility into the current change status. Users can choose to automate parts of the change process such as the sending out of documentation or creation of an impact matrix to determine the impact of the change, making it easy to determine the actual cost of a change order.

PRO.CEED Änderungsmanagement Cockpit

The change order process in the PLM systems integrates product data, documents, and task management. The PLM system serves as a single point of control for managing all product data, documents, and process control information. It comes with a built-in escalation model to respond to schedule deviations and a dashboard that allows users to stay on top of the change status at all times.

6.2 Risk Management

Each project, order or contract presents a certain amount of risk for every company. Many risks are interrelated or affect other objects such as contracts, accompanying documents, general terms and conditions, correspondence or collateral agreements. The purpose of risk management is to initiate the appropriate measures to minimize risk and to proactively mitigate future risks.

Over the past years, there has been a sharp increase in regulations that companies need to comply with. A multitude of national laws, international guidelines, and self-regulations require companies to meet strict documentation obligations. Product lifecycle management systems (PDM/PLM systems) can make this a lot easier. Designed as a DMStec system, PRO.FILE is ideally suited for this by providing a Product Data Backbone that brings together all data and documents and not just those generated by the design department. PRO.FILE enables companies to set up a compliant risk management process as it allows for the integration of corporate risk management with the PLM process.

The first step is to create a risk file that serves as a central repository for all risk-related documents in the PDM/PLM system. Using these documents as a starting point, it becomes possible to identify, assess, and prioritize any resulting risks. They are grouped into risk classes and addressed by planning initial risk mitigation measures. An early warning system provides updates on the progress of these measures and notifies users in the event of escalations. Risks can be identified early on and the company can continuously counteract them.

Risikomanagement PDM/PLM

PRO.FILE (PDM/PLM system) comes with a risk cockpit that enables users to group projects and contracts into risk classes using a traffic light system and to assess the effects of countermeasures. By establishing processes controls that provide complete audit trails and having a consistent methodology for the assessment of risks, companies can ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations  What’s more, companies can draw from the experience gathered to develop new risk mitigation strategies.

They can, for example, leverage the PDM/PLM software to model complex approval workflows to comply with the authorization procedures of relevant authorities. Companies in the aerospace industry, for example, are required to seek approval from the relevant aviation authority and sometimes other institutions for every modification to a part. They need to document these modifications within the context of their change order management in test plans, maintenance manuals, flight manuals and other document types. And more often than not, each document involves multiple approval processes that need to be completed. PRO.FILE (PDM/PLM system) delivers visibility into the logic behind these processes and put them into a risk management context, providing the company with detailed audit trails of who created and approved a document under review and when.

6.3 Contract Management

A contract establishes the basic principles of a company’s business relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, and other third-parties. Making this information available to the right person at the right time and place should be part of the product lifecycle management process. Having centralized contract management in place is the only way to ensure that deadlines and contractual obligations are met. A lack of visibility can often lead to these simply being forgotten once the contract is closed. With its DMStec capabilities, PRO.FILE (PDM/PLM system) is able to hold contract documents of any type.

Contracts are often negotiated and closed individually by the different departments within a company. The consequence is that the management of these contract documents is distributed across the various business units. This practice of distributed paper filing, however, results in these documents being hard to trace once they are needed. And there is uncertainty as to whether or not different departments may have entered into identical contractual agreements with one and the same vendor. It would be desirable, for example, to provide the purchasing department with an easy means to find out how many contracts exactly were closed with which companies, to compare the conditions of these contracts, and to assess where there may be opportunities to consolidate and harmonize contractual relationships to get better conditions.

After all, it is rather common that a contract is not terminated in time because the relevant documents were nowhere to be found to check the deadline. Many companies end up spending too much money on contracts that were inadvertently renewed due to poor deadline management.

PRO.FILE (PDM/PLM system) gives companies a central repository to digitally manage all of its contract files that relate to a specific order, project, or product along with any accompanying documents. It delivers a feature-rich contract management system that provides users with complete visibility into the contents of their company’s contracts. PRO.FILE has a built-in escalation management process that automatically sends out timely contract reminders before deadlines expire, preventing users from missing cancellation deadlines ever again. This eliminates the need to maintain this information in paper form or in Excel spreadsheets as the processes for enterprise-wide contract management are automated.

The product lifecycle management system (PLM system) also provides users with text modules and templates that allow them to draft contracts faster. The contract management in PRO.FILE guides them through the entire process – from contract preparation through closing. This reduces processing times and allows everyone to get instant overviews of a contract’s current location and status. Granular permissions ensure that contract documents can be accessed by authorized users only.