6 Challenges of Managing Disconnected PLM Workflows

Lena Weglarz
|  Created: May 7, 2024  |  Updated: May 16, 2024
Challenges of Managing Disconnected PLM Workflows Cover

Are you familiar with these six challenges of managing disconnected PLM workflows within electronics product development? If they’re slowing down your operations, you’re not alone. Many experience issues when PLM systems aren’t synchronized with CAD tools, impacting project timelines, product quality, and collaboration across departments. Read on to identify your main challenge and find the solution. 

#1 Time-Consuming Manual Data Entry

A major inefficiency in electronics product development is the manual data entry required to bridge the data gap between ECAD software and PLM tools. Engineers often find themselves in a repetitive loop of manually inputting component data into both ECAD and PLM systems.

This reliance on manual processes consumes precious engineering time and introduces errors and inconsistencies that can delay entire projects. The necessity to manually download and upload design data, including bills of materials (BOMs) and release outputs, exacerbates the issue, creating opportunities for mistakes and leading to unstandardized workflows. 

Such manual bridging also forces engineers to move away from their familiar design tools into the unknown and more complex PLM software.

The result? 

  1. Reduced productivity as engineers divert their attention from critical tasks.
  2. Increased risk of costly mistakes that can push back project schedules.

#2 Inefficient Project Setup

Kicking off a new electronics project should spark enthusiasm. Yet, all too often, the reality is a cumbersome start filled with manual setups and complex part number creation. This initial phase, though critical, can become the source of project delays and inaccuracies, setting a shaky foundation right from the start.

For instance, when ECAD components haven’t yet been registered in the PLM system or when project numbers remain unallocated, it disrupts the hardware design teams and impacts everyone involved downstream in the product lifecycle.

The absence of standardized processes can delay product launches, leading to a clutter of documents and designs. Each claims to be the latest version, breeding confusion. This lack of visibility and traceability complicates monitoring the stages of the electronics product development, makes decision-making difficult, and increases the risk of errors that could derail the project altogether.  

With scattered and not centrally managed data, challenges multiply, obstructing a transparent overview of project status.

#3 Disjointed Part Management

Another significant bottleneck is the disjointed part management. 

The separation between CAD design tools and PLM solutions turns the simple task of managing parts into a maze of confusion and inefficiencies. Engineers are forced to search for components across disparate systems, wasting time that could be better spent on innovation and design refinement.

#4 Error-Prone Data Handover

There’s also the topic of preparing and transferring manufacturing data. If done manually, it can quickly become a source of errors and inconsistencies. This problematic handover can lead to incomplete or inaccurate data being passed along, significantly hampering downstream activities. Such issues can cause delays and necessitate rework, thereby disrupting the entire production schedule. 

#5 PLM Data Silos in Electronics

Data silos in PLM and electronics design tools severely disrupt communication and decision-making, blocking the critical flow of information needed for efficient product development. Teams working in isolation struggle to share information and feedback effectively, both internally and with external partners. This lack of a centralized, unified view of project data often leads to duplicated efforts and reliance on outdated information, further complicating the development process.

#6 Compliance and Quality Risks

Disconnected PLM processes can make it difficult to adhere to industry regulations and maintain quality standards. Scattered documentation and inconsistent product development processes heighten the risk of non-compliance and quality shortcomings. Such challenges threaten product integrity and can expose your company to potential fines and reputational damage.

Looking for Strategies to Connect PLM Processes?

Do these challenges sound familiar? If so, see how Altium 365 cloud PLM integrations can help you connect your project management systems with electronics design data. 

By overcoming data silos and weaving a digital thread throughout your project lifecycle, you can achieve real-time data visibility and traceability, enhance cross-department collaboration, spur innovation, and streamline your product development processes.

About Author

About Author

Lena Węglarz is a dynamic and engaging content creator and storyteller, known for her  commitment to clarity and the 'write-like-you-talk' rule. She joined Altium in 2023, and since then she’s been the driving force behind Altium 365 content, letting the community know where the  world designs electronics. Her work stands out for its ability to make complex technical concepts accessible and relatable. Collaborating closely with engineers, Lena integrates their insights and perspectives into the narratives, bridging the gap between engineers' technical expertise and  the broader community. She fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of the intricacies  of electronic design.

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