In my experience, I can separate all manufacturing into two large categories with regards to what they want to do with PLM: those who don’t want to do anything with PLM and those who desperately want to implement that, but don’t know where to start. The border between them is blurred. Sometimes you can see two different groups of people in a company taking opposite opinions about how to deal (or not) with PLM.
I’ve been thinking about how company can build a right attitude to take on PLM projects. You can find many blog posts and analyst materials explaining how to implement PLM and not fail. I decided to try an opposite approach. Regardless on where any specific engineering or manufacturing company falls in the spectrum of their intent towards PLM project, I can identify several attitudes that can literally kill you PLM projects. Here are my selection of 5 attitudes:
#1 We don’t need PLM. We can do it differently.
The size of a company doesn’t matter. I’ve seen it in large and small companies. Usually, it happens with companies having established processes and/or systems. They are confident that they can manage everything they need using existing systems (CAD, Excel, ERP, CRM, etc.) and PLM as a concept is something artificial. My recipe to such type of company is to look for inefficiency of their processes and learn more about PLM. With some learning they can find a match between their problems and potential PLM systems can bring.
#2- This is only for big companies
A typical mindset of SME (small to medium) companies that afraid to see how many problems can be solved by organizing data about product and product development processes in a better way. Most of PLM companies are not spending enough educating small customers about how flexible and diversified approach in PLM can improve what they do.
#3- We want OOTB (Out-of-the-box)
This is a situation when customer wants vendor or service partner to solve their internal problems by bringing ready-to-be-used PLM systems. However, without learning about your own company, any PLM implementation will be a suicide. You can use OOTB as a starting point, but in no way to deploy system and change your company to operate accordingly. Such attitude usually ends up by abandoning of OOTB implementation and switching back to old processes.
4- We can do it as a side project
Another dangerous situation. Some people in a company can consider that PLM is an isolated project, which can be disconnected from rest of the company. As a result you can get PLM software installed and used for a specific group of people. It is obviously kills PLM value.s
5- It is for engineers only
A subset of previous attitude, which assumes PLM is only important for engineers. This approach usually downgrade PLM to basic set of CAD data management functions. Domains like BOM management, Change management, Quality, Manufacturing planning are going out PLM radar and it takes down overall PLM value for a company.
What is my conclusion? Think about PLM as a strategic approach to change the way you run product development. It helps to identify biggest pain points and find how to plan PLM implementation in a holistic way, but prioritizing on specific problems. It helps to build an overall plan, to discuss with people in all department, but build a gradual implementation. Just my thoughts…