PLM Interest Group
For those at the early stages of discovering and adopting PLM, the whole subject can seem like a big empty space.
The good news is that PLM does in fact have a structure, and there is a correct and effective way to guide your company through the process of PLM adoption.
Size Does Not Matter
PLM as a subject is the same for every trading organisation, from the smallest to the most massive. If you are an SME, you live within the business ecosystem - if you are a multinational, you largely control it - but PLM is still all about managing products across their lifecycles in the most effective way.
Your Business Does Matter
The embodiment of PLM - what it looks like in any given product-related business - is unique to the business concerned. This is why it can be so difficult for new PLM adopters to discover what PLM shape or structure will work for them.
The challenge for any PLM Manager, in any size of company, is first to establish what should be done in PLM; and then to work out how to do it. This is never a linear process, and the details are different for every organisation, but the tools that you need are set out below.
Elements of PLM Adoption
If you are not a genuine Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise (of less than 500 employees) then skip this section and move on.
However, if you are an SME, you need to read the PLM Handbook for SMEs before going any further.
There is a widespread misconception that SMEs need some form of stripped-down version of general PLM, which might be referred to as "PLM Lite". This is not true. The business drivers and internal mechanisms of an SME are completely different to those of a larger business, and the SME must apply PLM in this context.
The Handbook enables an SME to understand itself before it attempts to understand PLM.
In the early days of adoption, the PLM Team must work to make colleagues aware of PLM, and to explain what activities and internal support will be needed to make it happen. This often meets with resistance, lack of understanding, and vague timescales that keep moving into the distance.
It is much more effective to be able to say, with confidence: "Even though we are just starting out with PLM, we will have a system in place in two years from today."
The Path to PLM makes this possible, by providing a template plan for the adoption process that can be adapted to create the real project plan.
One of the most daunting tasks for the PLM Manager is to hold meetings with non-PLM colleagues to discuss the need for PLM, and its potential benefits.
This can be particularly difficult during the adoption stage, as it means presenting ideas that may still be vague or partially formed. The feedback may lack structure, and conclusions may be difficult to reach.
The PLMIG PLM Self-Assessment Toolkit has been created specifically for this purpose. It guides the user through preparing the starting information, running and recording the interview programme, and holding the Discussion Meeting. The Word format can then be edited to capture and present the findings.
Other tools and reference documents include:-
One of the primary aims of PLM adoption is to have a new PLM project justified and approved. This used to be extremely difficult, because many of the effects of PLM were seen to be qualitative, but now the Project Justification toolset can be used to generate a set of real, quantified metrics.
At the start of the project, a clear statement of financial benefits makes it much easier for the Board to sign off the approval. When the project has been completed, the clear metrics give the PLM Team proof that the implementation is working.
The PLM Interest Group provides all of the elements listed above within an interactive structure of guidance and feedback.
Companies at the earlier stages of PLM adoption can use the PLMIG framework to move optimally along the PLM development path and to follow PLM Best Practice as they do so.
Find Out More
More information is available via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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