I recently had the opportunity to review the Product Lifecycle Management functionality of Plex Systems’ ERP software. I was curious how a browser based, Software as a Service ERP Suite would support our client’s set of requirements and was pleasantly surprised at what a saw during the demonstration. Plex offers a fully functional PLM and Product Data Management suite that can be quickly adopted within a large range of industries.
The Product Data Management module provides a folder structure within which you can create your own document organization. Documents are added into the folder via several options including upload, link, web link, link to existing and others. Form templates can be developed to capture and store ad-hoc information within the folder structure. This can include checklists, process compliance, design assumptions and much more. Documents can be scanned directly into Plex Product Data Management from a desktop scanner. Once added, PDM documents can be quickly located via masked and Google like searches.
Plex provides a strong security structure to ensure document control. Plex user rights and roles dictate available capabilities within the PLM. Individual document rights can be set with access and change control rights are embedded within the document. Documents can also be assigned to groups, have retention periods and review frequency established, and change approval policies defined.
Users with appropriate rights can check out a document. While the document is checked out, changes are prevented to ensure the integrity of the document. Upon check in, an approval task can be generated via Plex’s integrated workflow. Revision history is retained with the ability to fall back to prior versions. Distribution groups for documents can be created and all distributions are logged. Document reviewers are provided an inbox of documents pending review. At any given time it is possible to see all documents currently pending approval or in check out mode. Plex PDM is integrated into the full PLEX ERP via a universal document attachment icon located liberally throughout the master data records and order records.
Plex’s Document Management System provides universal access via their software as a service model, unlimited storage, unlimited file types that include documents, links, videos, etc, workflow enabled collaboration, and full audit control of document history.
Plex’s workflow is one of the most intuitive and broad capabilities that I’ve seen. The workflow enables automation of processes and then provides the insights necessary to document process compliance and to measure process performance.
Every workflow definition includes an action or trigger information, while down stream assignments can include a group, actions and results, notification emails, process standards like time to complete, as well as quality and compliance checklists.
Plex’s process monitoring capabilities then enables monitoring of workflows pending, average time to complete workflows, number of exceptions, etc. With this documentation in hand, companies can demonstrate process compliance to regulators as well as focus continuous improvement efforts on process bottlenecks.
Plex rounds out its Product Lifecycle Management suite by joining its product data management and workflow capabilities with the product master in Plex. Every product has an integrated revision management system to enable stage gating and design integrity. Product design status can be monitored. The product status dictates where a part is at in the design process and actions are enabled or disabled based on the status. Plex’s “Effects” capabilities enable users to determine the impact scope on the population of products and inventory due to a proposed design change. A change history is maintained for every product.
Plex has successfully married a software as a service architecture with document management, workflow, and product design control to deliver a potent Product Lifecycle Management system.