Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Responses to “Top Five Concerns About PLM Systems”

Oleg Shilovitsky published an article in his blog titled "Top Five Concerns About PLM Systems". My response to the article.

While TCO and customized change management can be dealt with, I believe huge overselling of PLM as a panacea for all ills as the major concern.  This overselling ups the expectations of all parties signing the bill for the solution but when they see the implementation they find the ground realities to be different. Also vendor lock in and upgrade's to newer version's forcibly by the vendors are major issue's – Usually vendors approach customers saying that the particular product version has reached its end of life stage and will not be supported anymore and whether the customer likes it or needs it or not, they are forced to fork out truck loads of money to upgrade.

Customers on the other hand should also realize that PLM is not a quick fix solution to enable business improvements while driving out costs – a long term strategy, clear cut requirements and assumptions must be in place before approaching the vendors. Also customers must clearly define their ROI metrics before making PLM investments. More on "Profiting from PLM: Strategy and Delivery of the PLM Program" here. This report states: "Best-in-Class companies achieve twice the ROI on their initial PLM projects, and 2.5 times greater ROI for subsequent PLM extensions" and "Nonetheless, many companies still lack a strategy for recognizing the value that PLM can offer. They know they want to improve their product innovation, product development, and engineering performance but struggle with the best way to transform their business. The benefits are available and compelling. The difference in achieving this value is how companies went about implementing their PLM solutions."

Resolving compatibility problems between different CAD packages, ensuring that multiple manufacturing partners have the most recent software updates, conversion of existing design data, end-user training and gaining management support so that standard practices and procedures can be put into effect across department and inter-company boundaries are vital. For deep integration with CAD data it's best to go with a PDM system from the CAD vendor.

Airbus' multibillion dollar problem connected with the postponement of A380 super-jumbo shows what can go wrong in implementing PLM systems. "An unthinkable blunder had happened—as the computer aided design files were passed between the different versions of the Catia software, the company said errors occurred. And software experts familiar with the incident say the errors included changes in measurements. Those errors are going to cost Airbus billions." More on this at:

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