Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time for Some PLM Spring Cleaning

I finally think spring is here! I could be hallucinating, but I don't think so. I am starting to see flowers, and blossoms, and people on the driving range, so spring must be here. Just thinking about spring makes me feel happy and all warm inside! If you're like me, it's time for some spring cleaning as well. If you need some tips to help with your spring cleaning, you can look here. If you need some tips to help with your PLM spring cleaning, keep reading:

Communication

First, take a look at how your Engineers communicate among themselves and with others: Do they use email only? Do they yell over the cubicle walls? Can they chat easily with others, especially with remote users? Is there a way for people to share information easily? Maybe it's time to look at better ways of communicating in your company. There are many tools today that allow information to be shared just as you would with social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Youtube are all ways that people share information when not at work. There should be some similar kinds of internal tools that allow people to communicate better. Putting in place a more robust framework for communication will have all kinds of positive benefits.

Finding Information

Next, think about how people search for information in your company: Can people go to one place and find everything they need to do their job? Is your company filled with multiple disconnected databases that require multiple searches from various systems to actually find information? Are there still people inputting manual data into your systems? Do you still rely on MS Excel spreadsheets for important product information? Do people still have important information stored on their personal laptops or other devices?

All of these challenges can be reduced with a strong integration plan. Manual data entry should be the first activity to vanish. Manually entering information will lead to mistakes and impact product development. There should also be some very serious rules about keeping important information on personal disk drives; this should never be allowed. Getting rid of Excel spreadsheets should also be a top goal of any business. Working on these areas will provide a much more efficient environment for information sharing and tracking.

Managing Change

Finally, you should look at how people manage change in your organization: Do your engineers kick off a custom ad-hoc workflow whenever there is a change? Do they keep all changes until the very end, and then release them in a lethal flow of paperwork? Do you have too many change processes? Can you track your change processes easily (and, by that I don't mean on a spreadsheet)? Can you see at any time how a change will effect your product requirements? All of these challenges may be sucking the efficiency out of your business.

Implementing good configuration management processes in your company can have a powerful affect on everything you do. Don't try to do everything at once, but take one step at a time and you will soon see some powerful benefits. Keeping an eye on change processes will allow more changes to be processed more quickly, and will ultimately lead to better, more innovative products, with higher quality, that get to market faster with greater customer satisfaction; and who doesn't want that?

So, keep working on that spring cleaning, and in no time at all you will have your house in order.

What do you think?

Cheer,

Jim


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