PLM is often misunderstood as merely an IT system managing CAD and PDM data.
It usually gets low priority in many companies and awareness goes up to Head of Engineering level only. The CXO group are not aware of what really PLM scope is and how company can benefit immensely by having a good PLM process and system. In this article, we discuss why PLM does not get the focus it deserves.
PLM Process vs PLM system
Product lifecycle management (PLM) process is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products.
Product lifecycle management (PLM) system is an information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems and ultimately people in an extended enterprise.
It is very clear from the definitions above that a company producing any product or service always have a PLM process (recipe) although it may not be called so, or it may be defined in bits and pieces in different functions. But essentially, the company cannot exist without a PLM process and it should improve over time to survive in competition.
Also, it is clear that not one single system can cover entire PLM process efficiently although we can have a leading system interconnected with other system. Such a connected system of systems setup can be called a PLM system of the company. Naturally that will be a backbone of any company and cannot be ignored. Does this mean that ERP is a subsystem of PLM? why not. When product is being manufactured or procured is it not inside it’s lifecycle? Problem is, we cannot use single system to do everything efficiently. If we accept this definition then we are successful to break the silos of PDM , ERP , CRM, SRM etc.
PLM is a combination and integration of PDM + ERP + SLM + CRM + SRM + any other system in company which manages the product lifecycle.
The Problem When “PLM” word refers to PDM system (software) in the company it loses its importance because the so called PLM system has only fraction of PLM data and processes, which is mainly engineering design and BOM related data. Most of the time the top executives of the company fail to understand the benefits of PLM as it’s definition, scope and ownership is not clear or limited. PLM system ownership is often confusing and swings between IT and Engineering. The company is not able to move from Level 2 to Level 3 as shown below. Figure is illustrative.
First step is to define a PLM process across company and map how each system will participate and how data, people and process are interacting from start to end.
The CXO group should be made aware that when they refer to PLM system , then they are referring to PDM + ERP + SLM + CRM + SRM + any other system in company which manages the product lifecycle. Once the definition and scope of PLM process and PLM system is clear, then they can have a strategy to implement/improve it . Any problem can be traced to it and solved in holistic view than in silos. This will enable best utilization of company resources for better, faster products and higher customer satisfaction with higher profits. This needs boundaries to be redefined for PLM and the PLM word should get the focus it deserves in the CXO group.
About PLM Nordic AS
PLM Nordic AS specializes in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Data Science Services.
Based in Norway and India, we offer a wide range of PLM services to cater to a variety of businesses and provide solutions.
We guarantee the success of your PLM program by measuring efficiency gains before and after the implementation or revamp of your existing PLM processes and systems.