Monday, March 11, 2013

Is PLM a Dirty Word?

The other day I met a lady who is in charge of a new PLM selection activity at her company. She told me they are not calling it PLM this time; they are calling it Product Innovation Initiative, or something like that. She said they had tried PLM at least 4 times before and it never worked. Now, if they use the name PLM no one will take it seriously; PLM is a dirty word.

Is PLM a dirty word in your company? Have you tried to implement some kind of PLM technology, only to fail time after time? With a sound approach to PLM you can avoid the problems that prevent your company from realizing the many benefits of PLM. The following ideas will assure PLM success:

PLM education for everyone 

Start with the executives. Educate them so they know the basic premise of PLM, and the value. Then, get the rest of the people on the bus with education that helps them understand how PLM will help them with their jobs. No one can ever do too much education!

Do a cost benefits analysis

This allows you to understand where your business is today so that you can compare the results after PLM. This also provides an excellent tool to convince management to invest in PLM. Without these numbers, no one will have any ideas of what benefits can be expected from PLM, and how they compare to your initial status. This will also result in metrics that can be used to measure future PLM activities.

Use a proven, repeatable methodology for PLM selection

When it comes to a PLM selection methodology, most people just wing-it; or they use a methodology provided by their favorite vendor; or, they use a methodology from a VAR with a bunch of people looking for implementation work. None of these is the optimal way to evaluate PLM. You need a methodology from a trusted neutral partner that can help you through all the challenges of PLM selection. If you cannot find such a partner, take a look here!

Adequate implementation planning 

Often, once the PLM solution is seceted, the roll-out happens with little planning. Many aspects of PLM are affected by the implementation steps. The best solution selection activity can be derailed by a poorly planned implementation. Without proper planning you might forget some important items: data migration, user acceptance testing, pilot testing, timely education, cultural change management and other items. These items can cause PLM to fail, and give users a negative perception of PLM.

By following these steps you will have a greater chance of success with PLM. Don't just take my word for it. There are many examples of companies today that are enjoying the benefits of a successful PLM implementation; why not join that club.

How has PLM been accepted in your company? Let me know, and perhaps share your success!


- Jim


  1. Jim, you are always say about total PLM educating within implementation. How do you think - will be PLM taught in universities? I mean, will be new generation of employees, that already educated PLM - they'll be able to help their co-workers, for example.

  2. Dimitry,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, we are seeing more and more universities teach PLM, but often they are teaching how to use one particular vendor's software. Also, education must include how PLM is used to support business processes and business activities, so it is very specific to each company.

    Specific education for each company is required to match business activities and strategic direction. This is how PLM supports innovation. Generic PLM education does have value, but only if it is done from a perspective of the expanding role of PLM.


  3. It's funny to see all these customers who don't want us to call our project "PLM". In terms of Teaching PLM, there is still a lot to improve regarding decider's level of knowledge in IT technologies. PLM doesn't have to be PLM software, it could be a set of IT softwares which have never talked about PLM in their marketing (MDM, BPM, ETL,...)

  4. Yoann,

    Yes, you are right. So many parts of the business need PLM, but they don't even know what it is. That is why education for the whole enterprise is so important. Then, you can start to talk about all the integration work that needs to be done as part of PLM across the enterprise to gain the full benefits.


  5. Hello Jim, I have been looking about PLM in many sites and blogs.As a database developer I would like to shift my job from a developer to PLM . Do you think its a good idea to learn oracle PLM .

  6. Oracle PLM would be a good place to start. They are very strong in the process industries, and they have a strong link to some of the other Oracle solutions. Leaning about PLM is always a good idea, in my opinion.