Focused on reducing complexity with the intentions of better cost and asset investment management, Platform Life Cycle Management (PLCM) is a management concept that emerged a hundred years ago, but is becoming increasingly applied to supply chains today.
Essentially, PLCM involves platform simplification and the standardization of the resulting simplified platform. Standardization cuts down on the resources and time required to carry out operations, driving savings and revenue by improving capacity for scale and speed.
A major key to the successful implementation of PLCM is adopting a culture that embraces it. This culture can be broken down into three different parts: leadership buy-in; a sharing of knowledge both inside and outside the company; and empowering supply chain decision making so as to add value to operations.
Buy-in from the top down
As with most effective business endeavors, company leadership must buy into the idea of PLCM implementation for it to take hold.
Management teams looking to apply PLCM to the supply chain should have cross-functional representation, and leadership must permit various functional groups to steer decision making in areas that are within their grasp. It is essential to specify a leadership group for each crucial decision.
Leadership must also consider performance measurement systems in order to convey the achievements and shortfalls of PLCM implementation efforts. To begin with, leadership needs to lay out a definite, urgent need for change. Since PLCM calls for multifunctional focus and effort, the entire organization must plainly see the importance of the program and the potential return on investment. Measurement systems must include a strong and ongoing means for reviewing outcomes and action plans and for producing appropriate changes to address shortfalls.
Sharing supply chain knowledge
PLCM’s focus on design allows for the sharing of information, both across the entire organization and with major supply chain stakeholders. Without this type of system, it is challenging to recognize various possibilities for improvement and manage any innovations.
Therefore, an investment in software tools to assist in collaboration is an essential step. These systems can be used to make sure new-product designs include parts and/or assets that are already in use. Some mobile applications offer real-time data to allow for highly efficient sourcing.
Empowering decision making
Creating frameworks that coach, empower and reward personnel for promoting the standardization of supply chain is a critical element in the execution of PLCM. Keeping that in mind, the business must apply standards with well-written definitions; empower decision makers to control standards; and create a reward system that facilitates a standardization culture both inside and outside the company.
Finally, a company must adopt frameworks for cultivating internal and external collaboration in a way that facilitates decision-making processes.
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