The 4 Value Drivers of a Cloud-Native PLM

Kellan O’Connor

Co-founder & COO, Duro.

April 12, 2022


Here, I address the four key value drivers of cloud-native PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) that create financial predictability and savings for hardware companies.

  1. Increase the efficiency of engineering teams. Cut down on administrative tasks so engineers can focus on their core jobs.
  2. Access updated and accurate BOMs. Reduces costly mistakes and improves the handoff of products along the internal production line.
  3. Reduce administrative overhead costs. Eliminate duplicate data entry, sign-offs on changes, and double-check BOMs against the CAD program.
  4. Reduce time to market to meet customer needs. Get installed and configured in days, not months, with upgrades happening automatically.

Hardware manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to decrease the costs of rapid product development cycles and increase the predictability of hardware production. Many companies adopt cloud-based design solutions (like Onshape) to achieve these goals.

The next natural progression is to include cloud-native Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

Cloud-native PLM provides more efficient product development for hardware companies in the following ways:

  • Increases the efficiency of engineering teams
  • Allows purchasing departments to have better access to updated and accurate BOMs
  • Reduces administrative overhead of double-entry for parts in spreadsheets and ERP systems
  • Meets customer needs with faster time to market for increased revenues

Cost efficiencies are critical for hardware companies, which is why many companies are switching to agile-like product development methodologies and tools. By using data management platforms that integrate with CAD systems, such as Onshape, companies can reduce the implementation times and costs of digital transformation while reaping the benefits of efficient product development thanks to these types of cloud platforms.

Learn how to stay ahead of the competition by implementing a product lifecycle management platform that reduces friction and breaks down silos within the organization, which helps reduce costs and speed up time to market.

Let’s look at the four key value drivers of cloud-native PLMs and how they improve internal efficiencies and enhance your hardware company’s ability to manage and control costs.

1 – Increasing efficient product development for engineering teams

High-performing hardware engineers and designers are expensive. Unfortunately, according to industry studies, nearly half of an engineer’s day is spent on administrative tasks.

Not only do administrative tasks frustrate engineers, but the time spent on them means that the company is losing its most valuable resource to redundant actions that could easily be automated. Imagine finding a way to double the productivity of the hardware team!

Integrating a cloud-native CAD system (like Onshape) with a cloud-native PLM recaptures costs associated with misspent time. One of the most significant key value drivers of cloud-native PLM is that it eliminates administrative tasks such as:

  • Searching for components in catalogs and websites
  • Manually entering component metadata
  • Using spreadsheets and email for BOM management
  • Updating multiple company systems with the same component changes


Cloud-native PLM means the engineering team can focus on their core job: designing the company’s products. In the end, improved efficient product development allows hardware companies to do more productive work with the same staff and budget.

2 – Maintaining updated and accurate BOMs

CAD systems like Onshape provide some automation in terms of access to commonly used mechanical parts, but they don’t offer access to the entire set of electrical, consumable, documentation, and software elements that make up a complete and accurate BOM for a modern electromechanical product.

The Bill of Materials (BOM) is the key document for the operations, procurement, and manufacturing teams to manage the ordering, distribution, warehousing, and assembly of parts for every product produced by a hardware company. Using spreadsheets wastes a tremendous amount of time and creates confusion around where to find the most accurate and updated BOM at any given moment.

Automated PLM tools for hardware maintain BOMs for every assembly and product and keep track of changes over time. Having an accurate BOM reduces costly mistakes and improves the handoff of product data along the many processes that occur between initial design and mass production. It also provides helpful documentation for shipping and customs.

3 – Reducing administrative overhead costs

Legacy systems can lack the features needed to support true agile hardware product development, requiring manual entry of parts and metadata across multiple systems. Duro’s cloud-native PLM and Onshape increase interdepartmental communication and reduce manual data entry, leading to more efficient product development.

One of the key value drivers of using a cloud-native PLM is that it automates tasks such as:

  • Part number assignment
  • Syncing BOM and part metadata between the CAD tool and the PLM
  • Management of part and assembly dependencies
  • Management of supply chain data

The primary internal customers of the PLM system tend to be on the manufacturing and operations side of the business. Modern PLM software automates many of the functions that legacy ERP systems have become too burdensome to handle, and in doing so, better connects the manufacturing and operations side of the business with the engineering and design teams.

The operations and production teams need to order parts, manage inventory, and build and test products. At the same time, the engineering team needs to maintain control over the designs they are developing within the 3D CAD software. In many companies, engineers don’t have a complete system to communicate appropriately with the operations and production teams.

Using cloud-native PLM with cloud-based 3D CAD eliminates communication bottlenecks between departments, saving time and reducing wasted parts, which is essential for efficient product development.

Streamlining communication reduces costs in the following ways:

  • By reducing instances of ordering the wrong parts
  • Increasing time for comparative pricing with a high level of confidence that the parts will be available
  • Improving the production line’s ability to prepare for products coming into production
  • Integrating warehousing and purchasing to allow engineers to plan for parts already in stock or those that are easier to acquire

Reducing overhead reduces administration costs and allows staff to perform high-level tasks instead of getting stuck in rote paperwork or interrupting the important workflows of any individual’s core tasks. Furthermore, integrated cloud-native PLM eliminates the time spent on duplicate data entry, sign-offs on changes, and double-checking BOMs against the CAD program.

Case Study: Momentus Leverages Duro’s Interoperability to Implement PLM Quickly

The purchasing department in a manufacturing company wanted to identify common parts from a number of products and order them in bulk when possible. Furthermore, many of the assemblies included parts that took longer to receive, so they needed to put in advance orders.

Using spreadsheets was a messy process. Engineers needed to indicate which components were already finalized as part of the product and which ones were still being tested to be potentially switched out in the final design. Engineers didn’t want to release the designs, and the purchasing department didn’t want to risk ordering expensive parts that might end up useless because of design changes.

Moving to Duro PLM allowed the engineers full control over the information they released. It also gave the purchasing and assembly departments real-time information regarding the parts they needed for new products coming down the line.

4 – Reducing time to market to meet customer needs

Consumers have become accustomed to fast-paced changes and upgrades, which means that slow production times can cause companies to miss opportunities or release outdated products. That said, speed is turning into the biggest competitive advantage for hardware product companies.

Rapid response to market changes improves the company’s bottom line in the following ways:

  • Meeting market demands to increase sales
  • Reducing product returns and discounts due to releasing products that the market no longer wants
  • Reduced warehouse and inventory costs with just-in-time production and delivery

Cloud-native PLM is crucial in compressing product development and launch timelines. In fact, without PLM, 55 percent of companies reported missing their launch dates.

Just as important as the software itself is the time it takes to install the product. Some of the Cloud-Native PLM products on the market take months to install and configure. Duro provides cloud-Native PLM installation and configuration within days, with only a few hours of training. As with other cloud-native PLM products, software upgrades happen automatically, eliminating any need for company staff to maintain the system.

Cost Reduction with Product Lifecycle Management: Agile Hardware Development

Agile development and compressed lead times are no longer just the purview of software companies. Cloud-Native PLM systems today allow hardware companies to reduce waste, increase efficiencies, and speed up time to market.

Digital transformation can be easy with Cloud-Native PLM as a natural extension of Cloud-Native CAD systems. Find out how your company can reduce waste and control costs with cloud-native PLM. Schedule a demo with Duro today.

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