As part of my daily life, I’m monitoring PLM industry and technology. I found very interesting part of news – pitches from companies about Product Lifecycle Management achievements. After reading, at least 50 of such press-communications on monthly basis, I finally can conclude that “A Company is a leading provider of Product Lifecycle Management Technologies, enabling to support full lifecycle of products, to decrease time-to market, enable data-reuse and in the end allows to everybody in organization to see single version of truth about what is going on in organization” :). Of course, there are variations, industry influence, specific company terms and slogans, but in the end everything is pretty “buzzword-compliant” in my view.
So, I decided to take a bit closer insight on these buzzwords and discuss with you what it possible means. I’m going to provide you my version, how I understand and will be very interested in hear your version too. These are my 5 top buzzwords in Product Lifecycle Management.
#1: Single Version of Truth
Buzz: Of course, PLM is about the single version of truth. Before PLM all data about product in organization supposed to be located in different places. Started from mails about customer requirements, CAD models designer’s workstations, custom-made-databases with CAE results and ending in multiple CRM-ERP-MRP and other manufacturing systems. So, PLM will magically replace (or consolidate) all these systems and will manage all product-related data. So, when you finally get into your PLM dashboard/workbench/web-portal/desk… you will see what actually happens with your product and organization. Sounds like dream… yes?
Real life: I think successful PLM implementations succeeded to create central product data location and track significant portion of product data. This product data is mostly originated in design systems. For PLM based on ERP, there is change to have product data more connected to financial and manufacturing data since ERP systems provide single backbone for data management. For rest of PLM, integrations with ERP are mostly custom-made, tailored to specific organization and provide very limited scope of data integration. Application landscape in organization is counting dozens and sometimes hundreds different systems… BI and MDM are trying to provide notion of place where right information can be found.
#2: Full Product Lifecycle
Buzz: Since all product data is under control, we have control for how manage change of product information, and we can control it from early development concepts until final manufacturing and support stages.
Real life: I think, this buzz is mostly true on the level of product data managed by PLM systems. In most of the cases PLM successfully manages Product Models, Engineering Bills and Product Configurations and Portfolios. For this scope, PLM really can control lifecycle. I’m not sure mainstream PLM implementations successfully manage manufacturing, customer and support data and solutions for these problems are mostly custom-tailored.
#3: Data Re-use
Buzz: Enter data only one time. You can re-use design, bill of material, product specifications…. These are magic words. And yes, this is extremely important. Furthermore, very important to re-use existing projects, portfolios and orders.
Real life: What is the problem with data re-use in my view? If you know what do you want to re-use, PLM system can provide you this information, and you will be able to re-use it. The biggest problem is that you not always exactly know what do you want to re-use. In this case, modern systems still cannot help you. And answers are deep inside of organization and hardly can be discovered…
#4: Shorter Time to Market
Buzz: Since you have all (product data and all what you need) under control, you will be able to optimize time, effort, resources and in finally to deliver your products faster to customers/OEMs/suppliers etc. In our dynamic life, factor of time becomes very important…
Real life: I had chance to see very successful PLM implementations that significantly improved organizational processes and enabled performance nobody could achieve before. In my view, this is still not mainstream PLM and very depends on actual organization and their implementation.
#5: PLM Value
Buzz: I thought about this buzzword a lot. Everybody likes values. You want to sell them on every level. I like my PLM values too…
Real life: Some time ago, I had chance to write post about Relative vs. Absolute values of PLM. I think PLM over-selling absolute PLM values. There are companies and products that serve similar needs, but not associate themselves with PLM. I think we need to be more accurate in defintion of PLM relative values, and it will help us to make PLM more valuable for organizations.
I focused on these top five, in my view, buzzwords. But in fact I can bring much more buzzword compliant PLM ideas J. I’m looking forward to your comments and discussion. Bring more buzzwords, let me know what do you think…