PLM 411: Is PLM right for my business?


Hi and welcome to PLM 411, where we give you straight information on how manufacturers can accelerate product innovation and product development. I’m Jim Brown with Tech-Clarity, and I’m here with Allan Behrens of Taxal. Today we’re going to talk about who should care about PLM, and before we get started on that, maybe we should get on the same page about what PLM really is. Yeah I mean one of the problems of PLM is that it means so many different things to different people , and that sort of perpetuates its own problem doesn’t it? Yeah, it means so many things that it almost means nothing, you know, talk about product lifecycle management and people get really hung up on the “lifecycle” term. They start thinking about retiring products or cradle-to-grave, and while that’s an element of it, it really isn’t necessarily where any given company’s going to find the most value. I agree. You know, at the end of the day it’s about managing products and processes in a company, and that’s really what it’s about. Why don’t we talk a little bit about company size. I know that you and I have talked about this before – that there’s some misconceptions out there, particularly about the size of companies that use PLM. Yeah… it’s one of these things…PLM has been something that’s generally been seen as being applied to big companies, especially automotive and aerospace. I think those are the domains that people think about. That’s definitely not the case. I mean certainly historically, very similar to how ERP started at big companies, but now it’s applicable to everybody. Yeah absolutely. You know we’re seeing a lot of smaller companies that have the same issues in innovating, the same issues in developing products and working with their supply chain and making sure that they’ve got quality and communicating with the shop floor – you know many of them are outsourcing – so there’s lots of issues that are similar in the smaller companies – typically they just don’t have the resources to deal with it. I agree, and and in fact that’s one of the challenges, is that the problems are the same, they just don’t have either the money, the personnel, or the bandwidth… you know the the financial bandwidth to deal with what they need to do to grow. Yeah. And managing that is a challenge, so they need something that’s instantly productive and something that fits what they need to do now and in the short term. I’m going to react to something you said earlier… we talked about company size and you brought up industry you know an aerospace and automotive and traditionally there’s been a lot of value for PLM in those industries but you know that’s that’s a bit of a misconception now too right? Absolutely. I mean it’s applicable to anybody. There are obviously different workflows for different companies but it’s big and small alike – I mean it’s just that one needs to adapt what you’re trying to do to the scale of the problem that you’re trying to get to actually get rid of that particular time. Yeah and a lot of problems are the same, I mean you know there certainly are nuances of things that are different that drive some real problems in different industries, but at the same time the core functionality and the core needs of being able to manage information and collaborate and keep people working on the same piece of information and working on you know things in a project context that eighty percent is actually pretty consistent across industries i agree and and people forget that I think we try and look at the problem into larger scale as opposed to actually looking at what we really need to do small companies need to execute what they need to do now that eighty percent is what most people do most of the time yeah that’s what it can really help yeah no doubt and and you know I think there’s a there’s trade-offs between the the capabilities that companies want and having something that really fits exactly what they what they need for their size for their industry for their own personal you know you know sort of works of their business but there’s there’s a trade-off between those deep capabilities and the complexity and we’ve seen we’ve seen this and lots of software industries people ask for a little more they asked for a little more or less best for a little more and then they say wait this is really hard to use yeah and and you know it’s all about being able to assimilate to execute you know what you can do now and that is like eating the elephant you know you’ve got to do it one by sits on not you you just cannot get to an end objective I don’t think there ever is an objective when it comes to the company change but what you need to do is define what it is you need to do today we want to get to perhaps tomorrow bright and then don’t worry about the stuff much further down the line because things may change air and i find very few companies actually trying to eat elephants these days I don’t know why it seems to have gone out of but understands the air guy better arm you know I’m not judging but now it’s it’s a good analogy any final thoughts as we wrap up and now i think i think you know to me PM is allowing about enabling small companies and mid-sized companies to punch above their weight yeah to compete with the larger players by doing what’s necessary to be done today yeah yeah absolutely and that you know to me when I think about when I think about it do some real practical problems people can solve without having to sort of boil the ocean read the elephant whatever analogy we’d like to use right and that’s it and that’s what we’re really gonna try to focus on the show we’re actually going to hit a lot of the specific issues one-on-one as we go along so anyway thank you this has been a lot of fun thanks very much Jim

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