Customer experience – a crucial element of PLM evaluation

PLM is being increasingly heralded as the best way to organize a complex system of interconnected groups into a cohesive business machine for efficient and effective production. Although it all started in the aviation and automotive sectors, the best PLM software providers like Frontech Solutions EU are now assisting businesses in a much wider variety of industries. But there is one thing that often gets overlooked when we talk about PLM. Somehow, we seem to have forgotten about customer experience in all this. And that’s very strange because customer experience is a crucial element of PLM evaluation and selection. So today, that is what we will be focusing on.

Defining and understanding the terms: PLM, customer experience and user experience

It’s always good to start at the beginning. So before we explain how customer experience ties into PLM evaluation, let’s define what we mean by those terms. After all, we can’t launch into a spiel detailing PLM solutions for industrial manufacturing if you don’t know what PLM is because it won’t make any sense to you. Similarly, we can’t present customer experience as a crucial element of PLM evaluation without defining what it is first.

Light bulb in a thought bubble.
From concept to execution – PLM solutions are all about being in control throughout the process.

What do you need to know about PLM?

PLM is an acronym that stands for Product Lifecycle Management. The idea behind it is to have a process of managing every step in the creation and existence of a product, from its conception to its distribution. Inspiration for it came from American Motors Corporation (AMC). The company wanted a way to easily and effectively juggle all the manufacturers, suppliers and departments involved in the production of their vehicles. In an industry where every end product consists of thousands, even millions of different parts, it is clear why such a solution was necessary.

But today, most products including clothes and even computer programs are the result of a collaboration. Therefore, PLM solutions have expanded to other industries. They help reduce cost and waste, shorten the manufacturing process and improve quality by coordinate all the information, processes and people related to the product in question in all phases of its existence.

What is PLM evaluation?

PLM evaluation usually refers to the process in which a business examines a certain PLM software in order to decide if it’s right for them. If you are, for example, looking for PLM solutions for footwear and apparel, your company will have very different needs from a car manufacturer. So you can’t just take the first PLM system you come across. Instead, it’s important to find one that fits your company.

Less commonly, PLM evaluation can refer to a process in which a company examines the effectiveness of the PLM system already in use.

What do you need to know about customer experience and user experience?

If you are looking for PLM solutions for the service industry because you own a restaurant, a retail store or another business that heavily focuses on customer satisfaction, then you’re probably already familiar with these terms. The customer experience (commonly abbreviated to CX) boils down to how customers perceive their relationship with your company. User experience or UX, on the other hand, refers more specifically to your customer’s feelings on the product or service you provide. This may play a part in their overall CX. But a bad UX can be turned into a good CX with good customer service.

Smileys rating customer satisfaction on a chalkboard.
A good PLM solution leads to higher customer satisfaction.

Why is the customer experience a crucial element of PLM evaluation?

So how does it all tie together? Well, let’s look at some of the main goals of PLM implementation:

  • higher quality of product
  • fewer manufacturing errors
  • faster speed to market

A successful PLM system is, therefore, not just about making the production easier. It’s also about having the best possible product in the shortest possible time. Why? Because the success of your company depends on the success of the product or service it provides and its ability to compete with other, similar companies! And it’s your customers who consume the product. So their experience with it and with your company determines your success.

To summarize: you implement a PLM system to achieve better results faster and easier. This, in turn, leads to your customers being happy and staying loyal to your business. Customer satisfaction is, therefore, one of the main goals of PLM solutions. It stands to reason, then, that you need to take it into consideration when evaluating a potential PLM software.

The experience of your customers as an element of PLM evaluation

Let’s say you own a transportation company. You distribute goods all over the country using a number of trucks, vans, and warehouses. Your customers expect you to deliver goods in perfect condition and on time. In order to do so successfully, you need to be able to keep track of where all your products and vehicles are, how full your warehouses are, where you need to transport things, what you need to fix and so much more. So you’re in the market for PLM solutions for transportation and logistics. This will make collaboration between various departments easier. And the way to find a good PLM solution, in this case, is to ask yourself: will this particular PLM system help me make my customers happy? Because at the end of the day, that is how you keep a business running.

The experience of your business as an element of PLM evaluation

It’s important to remember, however, that your customers are not the only ones whose experience matters here. If you work in the energy sector, for example, it is highly unlikely you’re also a PLM expert and can come up with PLM solutions for energy service and supply by yourself. So you will need to employ Frontech Solutions EU to do that for you. But that makes you our customer. And your customer experience with us is just as important as the experience of your consumers with your company. So you also need to ask yourself: will my company be happy with this particular PLM solution? Because a PLM solution is only good if it is implemented properly and in the long run. And this will only happen if your experience with it is a good one.

A person pointing at a concept on a chalkboard.
Successful implementation of a PLM system also depends on your satisfaction with it.

Implementing customer experience as a crucial element of PLM evaluation

So now you know why customer experience is a crucial element of PLM evaluation. But how do you turn that knowledge into practice? It’s actually quite intuitive – just ask yourself how any PLM solution you are considering will affect your customers! Will it increase the speed to market and thus make your customers happy to have the product sooner? Will it decrease production errors and thus lead to fewer customers with bad user experience? Can it lead to better products and services and thus make your customers happier with your company? The point is to keep the effect your chosen PLM solution will have on your customers’ satisfaction in mind. That way, you will always find the best PLM system for your business! Contact us and we will gladly provide you with more information on the subject.

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