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Key Features of an Industry-Specific PLM for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

Key Features of an Industry-Specific PLM for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

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Key Features of an Industry-Specific PLM for Food and Beverage Manufacturers

May 10, 2022

John McCurdy
A research and development professional at work.

What could be more important to a food and beverage manufacturing business than its products? Between perfecting those already in your lineup to developing exciting new offerings according to consumer trends, there’s no shortage of work to be done on this front for companies like yours.

This simple truth is one of the primary reasons that product lifecycle management (PLM) software came to be. Interestingly, though, these solutions were first utilized by discrete manufacturers—namely those operating in the aeronautics, defense and automotive industries—before they were adopted by those specializing in process manufacturing.

Of course, one can’t expect that a system created to serve organizations producing aircraft, military equipment and cars would fit naturally with the processes and major concerns of those that make snacks or frozen meals. If you’re in the market for a PLM platform, you must verify that all those you consider were purpose-built for your sector and have the unique functionalities you need.

Here, we’re going to cover the universal benefits of PLM software, as well as the distinct tools that industry-specific solutions offer to manufacturers operating in the food and beverage marketplace.

Key Features Shared by All PLM Systems

One of the first benefits mentioned whenever PLM is discussed is the need for a “single source of truth.” Over time, manufacturers across all industries have realized that operating in siloes and not sharing information between departments in a transparent fashion is a recipe for disaster during product development.

PLM platforms provide the centralized and highly accessible database necessary for clear, cross-functional communication and a cohesive approach across the operational areas involved in your formulation, testing and product launch processes. With the right solution in place, key documents and details are only a few clicks away for all stakeholders on your staff.

Each of the following additional features is considered to be a “given” with any PLM, but they are nonetheless indispensable for manufacturers of all kinds:

  • Robust product portfolio management functions to manage your complete lineup and access essential data easily

  • A workflow/process engine that facilitates sharing data between teams and collaboration

  • Change management tools to help decision-makers understand the implications of product and formula alterations

  • A supplier management portal or module that lets you master the material and ingredient purchasing process by finding the best providers

  • Reporting tools to analyze large amounts of information and synthesize actionable insights based on your results

These, combined with the unified product development knowledge repository that a PLM system provides, can help manufacturers lower costs, improve quality, reduce time to market and become more efficient across multiple areas of operations.

PLM Functions Necessary for Process Manufacturers

Not every company’s needs are the same, and that’s abundantly clear in the manufacturing space. The highly specialized and dynamic food and beverage industry comes with key considerations that discrete manufacturers wouldn’t consider particularly relevant, but they are absolutely crucial for dependable results and customer satisfaction in the markets where they matter.

Traceability is one such concern. Government and consumer expectations on this front have grown more stringent of late, especially with public health a topic of continuing discourse, and regulations are being ramped up around the world. If your business produces goods in the aforementioned categories, you need complete bi-directional visibility backward and forward along the supply chain—it’s vital for product safety and accountability in case of a contamination.

Luckily, a PLM system tailored to the food and beverage industry can provide the features necessary for that level of transparency while also tracking modifications and administering approval processes. When all it takes is logging into the platform and navigating to the proper dashboard to understand the complete journey of your materials, you can feel much more assured that key information will be there when you need it.

Compliance is a related factor that PLM solutions help to manage. By automating documentation and establishing a paper trail from the beginning of the development cycle to the end, you’ll be able to confidently head into audits and inspections fully prepared and ready to prove that you’ve done everything within your power to protect end consumers.

The Differentiating Factors of Aptean PLM Lascom Edition

Our PLM solution for companies in the food and beverage industry is Aptean PLM Lascom Edition. We’ve packed it with the features that help you streamline your projects, manage quality and compliance effectively, empower your research and development department, and foster a collaborative approach to product innovation.

We know that time-to-market in process manufacturing is much shorter compared to the timelines in discrete fields, so we’ve made our system as flexible as possible by allowing you to go ahead with production even if final approvals are still pending. We’re also aware that many different departments are involved in the launch of new offerings, so Aptean PLM has functions dedicated to marketing, design and more.

Better still, we offer cloud implementations based on the software as a service (SaaS) model that keep your organization lightweight and agile, not bogged down by expensive and cumbersome physical systems. Such setups also afford the additional benefit of facilitating remote access, so your employees log on anywhere they have access to a browser and WiFi signal, letting them make informed decisions on the fly.

Now, if you’re ready to hear more about Aptean and what our PLM solutions can do for your business, contact us today. We’re also happy to schedule a personalized demo so you can see our offering in action.

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