A Purpose for PLM

Andreas Lindenthal recently posted a blog addressing PLM – An Enterprise System Without Purpose…

Many companies that use PLM today don’t really seem to have a greater purpose for it either. Yes, they manage some engineering and CAD data and maybe automate a few engineering processes, but frankly, an average (and much less expensive) PDM or CAD data management system would generally suffice for that.

What many companies are missing today are business critical applications or uses for their PLM system. Or, in other words, a real purpose.  As an analogy, think smart phones. You don’t need an expensive smart phone to call someone. But all the other capabilities of smart phones, such as GPS navigation, camera, web browsing, etc make it worth for us to spend more money than for a simple cell phone.

So what are the killer PLM applications?

Building on this premise…

Companies don’t really purchase PLM software; they purchase a solution to a problem or problems.  These problems are either costly or they are aggravating.  So, companies will look for a solution to the problem.

In the case of PLM, most often the problems deal with managing engineering data or automating their engineering change process.  PLM software does a fine job of managing engineering data, controlling versions and automating their engineering change process.

But, why stop there?

Make it your competitive advantage.

PLM usually begins in Engineering, but it can be really helpful to other departments as well.  One such example is in Marketing for managing new product introductions [NPI].

NPI has a high level of complexity and is usually loosely managed.  When developing a new product many departments are involved.  For example:  Sales will put forth the customer request for a new product. Marketing will create a marketing requirements document.  Engineering will create an engineering requirements document.  Manufacturing must determine manufacturability and provide their input on feasibility.  Sales will provide input on pricing and market size.  Finance will provide their input on profitability.  Customer support will provide a plan to support the offering.  And so on…  PLM software can manage all of these activities and all of this information.

Another department that can take advantage of the capabilities of PLM software is Quality Control.  Procedures will be written, edited, released and followed.  The process management capabilities can be very useful to Quality.

These are just a couple of examples, there are many more.

Once you have the software installed and are using it, why not look for ways to make it your competitive advantage?

Contact me if you need some help…