Will PLM Handbook for SMEs solve customer problems?

I want to continue the topic I started in my previous posts – PLM for SME (Small to Medium Enterprise). SME are interesting companies. In my view, "previous life" at Dassault Systems, I had a chance to work with many small companies. My former colleague and blogging buddy Jos Voskuil is writing a lot about PLM for SME in his blog - Virtual Dutchman. About a year ago, Jos posted an interesting report / questionnaire about PLM for SME – PLM for the mid market: Your opinion as reported. According to Jos’ questionnaire, 72% of people are thinking PLM for mid-market needs to be provided by a special software providers.

The following article by CAD CAM News caught my attention few days ago. PLMIG announces a new *PLM* Handbook for SME. The article confirms that majority of manufacturing companies around the globe are actually small to medium enterprises.

Small to medium-sized businesses (also known as SMBs, SMEs, PMIs or PMEs) are a massive part of the world economy but a tiny part of the PLM marketplace. In the USA they contribute up to 30% of industrial output, while in countries such as Italy they form up to 95% of the industrial sector.

According to PLMIG publication, most of PLM companies are trying to solve problems of PLM implementation by providing a stripped version of their PLM products. I wasn’t able to put my hands on the PLMIG Handbook. However, the opinion about "stripped PLM Lite" version resonated. According to PLMIG, this approach is misguided:

The usual approach of the PLM industry to this sector is to try to sell "PLM Lite", in the belief that smaller companies simply need a stripped-down version of what works for large corporations.The recent PLM Standardisation Workshop in Milan showed that this approach is misguided. Many SMEs are striving to make the kind of improvements in performance and delivery that PLM could provide, and their problem is that a conventional PLM approach just does not match the world they inhabit.

What is my take? The conversation about PLM for SME isn’t new. I’ve seen many vendors that are looking how to crack how to solve product development challenges of small manufacturing companies. Personally, I hardly believe a "handbook" (or methodology) can solve a problem. Small companies are ‘flat by nature’ and driven by tools and not by methodologies. To get a job done – this is a main motto of small companies. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to Will PLM Handbook for SMEs solve customer problems?

  1. Jos Voskuil says:

    Oleg hi, as you mentioned we experienced many SME’s and I agree with your thoughts – they are looking for tools and not for handbooks to change (freeze) the company. SME are there because they are flexible and can react quickly on market changes. A classical PLM framework might limit their agility and despite potential benefits become a risk for the future

  2. Jos, thanks for your comment! Flexibility is the key- you are absolutely right! Rigid handbook can hardly solve the problem. That’s why I was concerned about PLM SME Handbook… Best, Oleg

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