- October 12, 2016
- Posted by: Tom Ryan
- Category: Vendor Profiles
Author: Gary L. Burns and Thomas K. Ryan, Principals, GLB Global
Abstract: We stated in our article the Solution Ecosystem for Food and Beverage Enterprises that for many F&B enterprises technology solutions are not all just about ERP (enterprise resource planning). In this article we are focusing on the Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) solutions and the vendors that are providing this capability for F&B enterprises.
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. The product life cycle is an important concept in marketing. It describes the stages a product goes through from when it was first thought of until it finally is removed from the market. Not all products reach this final stage. Some continue to grow and others rise and fall. PLM solutions allow the development of and experimentation with a product, its raw materials, and its bill of materials (BOM) or recipe without cluttering the ERP system with product and material definitions that will never make the transition to a saleable product.
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Ecosystem Vendors
The PLM Ecosystem for F&B looks like this.
Our principle reasons for including anyone vendor’s solution at this time is that they have developed functionality that addresses key food and beverage requirements and they have a demonstrated track record with F&B enterprises.
Infor PLM 10
Infor PLM 10 is a state of the art product lifecycle management solution utilized by many food, beverage and process companies. It is particularly dominant within larger companies.
The solution, as provided by Infor, is pre-integrated to SAP. More recently Infor has announced integration to many of its own ERP offerings utilizing ION, Infor’s universal integration tool. We recognize that this “SAP first integration” was a legacy of Optiva being an acquisition by Infor. Many of Optiva’s clients were SAP users.
Infor PLM is available on premise and as a cloud offering. This is especially beneficial for smaller food and beverage companies as the food safety modernization act has raised their awareness of the criticality of PLM solutions to maintaining compliance with the act.
Infor PLM Accelerate
Infor PLM accelerate is another PLM tool owned by Infor which is much more focused on the electronics and mechanical industries and less in food and beverage, however it is still a very viable PLM tool for certain process and chemical related applications.
Infor PLM Accelerate is delivered exclusively as a cloud solution. We have included it as it is also a platform that we expect Infor to take advantage of with their other PLM solutions, like PLM 10.
Selerant has developed another state of the art PLM tool, DevEX, which is utilized by a very impressive list of very large food and beverage companies as well as pharmaceutical, specialty chemicals, and paint & coatings companies.
Selerant has included within the DevEX-PLM system, and their other offerings, extensions beyond PLM into food safety functions. This may be a broader set of functionality than offered by some of their other competitors. PLM and the other related food safety and process manufacturing capabilities are Selerant’s only business. They have been in this industry focused on F&B and process industries since the late 90’s and are considered pioneers in this space.
Product vision is yet another very powerful, comprehensive PLM tool developed by ASD Technologies. Their solution also addresses several aspects of food safety. Product Vision also supports personal products and paint & coatings industries in addition to food and beverage. Like Selerant, they are industry pioneers and have been offering PLM solutions for over 25 years.
Product Vision, like some of the others, has expanded its platform to accommodate deeper functionality in the areas of GHS integration (global harmonization system) to help control and comply with the new SDS regulations (safety data sheets) for labeling and reporting.
ChemSoft, as its name implies, is much more heavily focused upon chemical companies and the SDS compliance and reporting requirements associated with hazardous materials. They do, however, operate in a fair amount of food/ingredient companies and have strong formulating capabilities.
Lascom Solutions has a full set of solutions focused on food and beverage to include formulation tool, quality and regulatory compliance, supplier collaboration, and promotion strategy. These tools are meant to address the specific concerns of F&B manufacturers in product management, new product development and time to market, formulation and cost management, food safety standard compliance, and product labelling. Lascom offers a global solution with users in 30 countries and have been providing PLM since 1989.
The Vendors Not in the Ecosystem
Several prominent enterprise solutions with PLM capabilities are not listed in our ecosystem for F&B. These vendors are not ones that are typical of the clients we work with. This is often a combination of functionality, focus upon discrete vs. process, implementation complexity, and/or cost.
PLM is one of those critical areas for companies involved in the food and beverage industry. The capabilities provided by these systems has been growing in importance as F&B manufacturers are wrestling with the details involved in compliance with new food safety regulations. Please see our article “Boom! – PLM Solutions Experiencing Explosive Growth” for more details about this.
These other articles published by GLB Global have content related to this topic. Please feel free to review them as well.