PLM Software vs ERP: What do Retailers Need to Consider?

  • By Mark Hudson

Global Market Computing

When you start a business, you will encounter ERP and PLM software vendors offering to sell their products. You may feel overwhelmed by all the features and technical terms thrown around, and be asking yourself, what are they, and how can they make things easier for me?

The first thing you should know is that both will help a great deal in making your business more productive and efficient. However, it’s important to remember that they do different things. Here’s a brief guide on them:

PLM

A product lifecycle management system (PLM) organizes your business’ information. It puts all your data, processes, plans, and resources in one accessible place. It’s typically used in the designing stage since it lets you see and manage these things to further your company’s interest. Here’s a more in-depth look at its features:

Manages Funds for Planning

PLM gives you a chance to save money, starting from the planning stages. The software provides a holistic picture of your business, your current investment, and how much materials and human resources you can afford, along with predicting your economic prospects. This makes it easier to plot out the different aspects of your manufacturing system.

Organizes Company Ideas

PLM puts all your company’s data on a centralized server. If you’re just getting started, this may not amount to much, but you’ll still need to keep it in one place. If you have your plans together, it’s much easier to go through them with your employees while brainstorming.

There’s also less room for human error. Your employees won’t have to spend time individually responding to emails, filling out spreadsheets, and updating files just to keep track of plans and ideas made during brainstorming sessions. The software will take care of everything and minimize misunderstandings between departments.

Centralizes Business Plans

This software is the master of centralization. All your data will be stored in a cloud that anyone can access. Some systems allow you to make restrictions as well to ensure that no classified information is leaked.

It lets you synchronize and communicate with different teams in your company without difficulty. This makes collaboration easier and allows employees to share their input on a project. And, since every step of the planning process is monitored, errors will be spotted before manufacturing starts.

ERP

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system helps companies manage their resources by integrating all the processes involved in running a business into one software. It’s often used in the manufacturing stage. Here are some of its features:

Manages Company Resources

An ERP provides you with real-time updates on your expenses and profits. This way, you can monitor your company’s growth as you’re manufacturing and selling items, and come up with solutions and better strategies midway through production when it’s necessary.

You’ll also have an easier time tracking your suppliers. You can find out if they’re meeting all your needs or if you should look for someone better and more efficient.

Organizes Manufacturing Processes

What ERP lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in detail. It can link information about the production, finance, distribution, and human resources together in one place. This helps you track how your company is operating under real-world circumstances and catch any problems before they get too big.

And, there are several functions available to include your detailed ledgers, stock control systems, order monitoring, and customer databases in its analysis. This makes it easier to keep track of how your business is actually doing. And, you’ll get the chance to plan for the future with the data it produces.

Centralizes Production Data

Like most digital systems, everything is centralized in a single cloud. But, instead of company data, ERP is more focused on your resources. Where are your materials? How many products can you currently make? How much can an employee create in one shift?

These are all crucial pieces of information once you start production. You need to know the details of your manufacturing floor and keep track of everything that’s going on.

Ultimately, ERP and PLM software serve different purposes. One is more suited to giving a detailed analysis of your production, while the other is more concerned with planning, designing, and brainstorming. As an entrepreneur, it’s your responsibility to figure out which aspect your company needs more assistance. Go to CBX Software to look through their catalog once you know the answer.

 

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