If product lifecycle management (PLM) is the central anatomy of the product development process, engineers are the beating heart. That is, PLM functions well as long as the engineering team functions well.
These skilled professionals hold the keys to the seamless orchestration of a complex dance between technology, processes, and people. Their mission? To guide new product ideas from inception to realization, ensuring they meet the highest standards of quality, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency.
To illustrate, let’s zoom in on the day in the life of PLM engineer Jules. Jules is equipped with years of experience, a bachelor's degree, and numerous certifications in the field. He and his team are the linchpin in the intricate web of PLM processes. His daily routine revolves around managing product data, facilitating collaborative workflows, and ensuring that products adhere to the rigorous standards of their fast-paced industry.
As we join Jules for his work day, notice the stark difference in how he accomplishes these tasks given the type of PLM system at his disposal.
7:00 AM - Reviewing In-App Notifications
Jules begins his day early, sipping a cup of coffee and checking his notifications within a modern cloud-based PLM system for updates from stakeholders and team members. With real-time notifications, the user-friendly PLM software keeps him informed about changes, issues, and approvals related to ongoing projects.
Compared to his previous job, where Jules had to grapple with legacy on-prem PLM providers, this instant communication is a game-changer and ensures he’s always up to date. Now he can skip right to his product design tasks, instead of chasing down endless email threads and searching archives for the data he needs.
8:00 AM - Collaborative Product Design
Jules starts his workday by collaborating with his fellow design engineers and mechanical engineers using computer-aided design (CAD) software. With the modern cloud-based PLM system, the team can seamlessly access design files, make revisions, and share their work in real time. This efficiency helps streamline the product development process, reducing time to market.
Meanwhile, Past Jules would still be combing through emails.
10:00 AM - Reviewing and Approving Change Orders
A critical task in Jules’ day is reviewing and approving engineering changes. Again, the cloud-based PLM solution excels in this arena, offering automated workflows that streamline the approval process and notify all relevant stakeholders from within the same platform.
In past industries Jules worked in, such as automotive and aerospace, the products had much longer lead times. So having to manually route documents and change orders wasn’t as big of a problem compared to the innovative consumer-driven industry he works in now.
12:00 PM - Lunch and Networking
During lunch, Jules catches up with his deskmate Gina in the breakroom. Gina is a newer employee whose previous job had disconnected systems for PLM, enterprise resource planning (ERP), product data management (PDM), and quality management (QMS), and the two discuss how much easier her current role is given the fully integrated and connected systems their company uses.
1:00 PM - Managing Bill of Materials (BOM)
Handling BOM is a crucial part of product engineering, and Jules dedicates a significant portion of his afternoon to this task. In the modern cloud-based PLM, updating BOMs is straightforward, with real-time visibility into component changes and costs.
On the other hand, a legacy on-prem PLM system might require manual data entry and frequent updates. At his previous job, this task would have taken Jules the rest of the day.
3:00 PM - Streamlining Business Processes
Jules focuses on streamlining business processes within the PLM system. With a modern cloud-based solution, he can automate tasks like procurement, supply chain management, and quality management, helping optimize product quality and reduce product costs. In contrast, the legacy on-prem PLM may involve more manual processes, resulting in slower and less efficient operations.
4:30 PM - Project Management and Stakeholder Updates
As the day nears its end, Jules and his team have a project management meeting to check on the progress of their various activities. Within the modern PLM software, the team can easily track project timelines, monitor progress, and update other stakeholders in real time. This level of transparency and automation ensures everyone is on the same page and helps meet customer needs and budgets effectively.
6:00 PM - Wrapping Up
Jules concludes his day, feeling accomplished and satisfied with the progress made. The automation, real-time collaboration, and streamlined workflows have significantly improved his productivity and the overall efficiency of the engineering team.
7:00 PM - Past Jules Burns the Midnight Oil
While present-day Jules heads home after checking off everything on his list, he remembers staying late in the evening at his previous role to fix a BOM that wasn’t updated correctly or chasing down approvals for a change order via email. Back then, after he finally signed off for the day, he always checked the listings for engineer jobs, knowing the current digital landscape promised a better way.
If you’re hoping to transform your workday to look more like Jules’, learn how Propel Software provides a single data thread and integrated processes across the company to ensure engineers can access the right data and the right people in real-time.