Lifestyle Products Company Finds Success with PLM

Why is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) essential for optimizing product development and business growth? This is the question Dave Winter, Vice President of Research and Development at Lifetime Products Inc. discussed with representatives from over 130 companies during a recent visit to PTC.

8 Ways Lifetime Benefits from PLM

  1. Easier to manage projects and categories for scalability
  2. Robust standardized change management system
  3. Mechanism for growth
  4. Visual, better executed new product realization process
  5. Less design rework
  6. Increased focus on process due to central tool and automation capabilities
  7. Enterprise wide integration – from legal, sales & marketing to planning and management
  8. Single source data-enterprise wide

Lifetime “started basically in a garage,” Winter says. But despite this humble beginning, the company has grown into the world’s leading manufacturer of residential basketball hoops and folding tables and chairs. It also specializes in lawn and garden products, kayaks, and tent trailers.

Lifetime has grown from 15 employees in the 1970s to over 1500 internationally today, and has numerous innovations and patents within its product areas. Needless to say, this is a company that has experienced significant change, growth, and success within the past 25-plus years.

For this fast-growing company, there’s been significant opportunity to learn what works in product development and business growth. In the beginning, Winter explains, Lifetime’s sales, marketing, and research and development teams were extremely disconnected, with no project cohesion. “We were experiencing a lot of growing pains with the volume of data we were creating,” he says.

CAD data was managed in silos and there was little control over processes. There were setbacks with incorrect iterations, and a lack of formal project management resulted in missed important steps, liability issues, and lateness in shipping.

Lifetime “needed a standard system and process, and a consistent execution,” Winter says. “Because the process wasn’t standardized, we really struggled with consistency. There was a lot of pain associated with not having a standardized process, which really held back our ability to be scalable.”

Implementing a PLM solution was essential for Lifetime to ensure successful product development and business growth. “PLM was the big key [in starting to] execute projects and processes for product development more consistently,” Winter says.

Simple capabilities within the PLM solution, like enterprise-wide notifications, which enable different areas of the company to contribute to projects at the appropriate time, have proved highly successful for Lifetime.

PLM has aided Lifetime in creating structure for its product development, putting teams in sync and standardizing product development processes. What business advantages have you derived from PLM?

Listen to the full presentation from Dave Winter, and to learn more about how to optimize product development and business with PLM.

Photo courtesy of Lifetime Products

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