Stop starting PLM from Engineering !!!

Posted on September 19, 2012

This has been a frustration for a while now for me in PLM projects implementation. Mainly during the first phase or even before selling the project. We spend a lot of time on specifying and re-specifying engineering processes regarding product management made of complex datasets while other department can have much simpler processes which would definitely benefit from a good PLM project. Having some people helping them to work in a better way to collaborate on product information. And more generally, having people to tell them what is PLM.

More enthusiast about PLM but less aware about its existence

When I talk about PLM in a company, these departments are the more enthousiast about it. They know the spreadsheet exchange problems with customers, the poor naming conventions created for the internal network… They know something needs to be done, but most of the solution advertising they get comes from document management systems, storage systems, collaboration systems. Most of these solutions are sold to fix an issue with a small scope (exchanging documents, saving versions, …). To get all your issues fixed you need these solution to be very well integrated. The projects should start with a larger view but still fixing issues by small batches as presented in our lean implementation process.

Getting live faster makes PLM projects more interactive = Better user acceptance

This is a fact about these departments. Start you implementation’s phase 1 out of engineering and you’ll get live much faster. These people need integrated systems and their processes are more stable then in engineering. We know that in engineering you can have very different software acceptance from one to another. You need then to have people in the company that are already supporting the project. The risk is of course to not take into account the software capabilities to support Engineer’s processes. And that’s where it is good to have IT people coming from Engineering to select the solution.

So if you are a PLM sponsor in your company, get people out of engineering involved and aware about PLM. You’ll create a real enthusiasm.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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  • Product Lifecycle Managemnet without the people who design the product? Novel approach!

  • Product Lifecycle Managemnet without the people who design the product? Novel approach!

    • Well, PLM without the support or the supply chain? novel approach too. Almost everyone in the company should interact with PLM. I’m just saying, that it could be a strategy in term of communication and quick achievement to start out of engineering. I’m not saying you can’t start PDM at the same time !

      • Yoann I didn’t make any exclusions…. It was you who made an exclusion!  Now sure PDM might exist in an island to be engulfed by a later PLM wave but to my mind the engineering cycle and the market requirements that drive it is the core of any PLM system… the supply chain, the support, the CRM, the CAPA, the manufacturing all have their clocks set by that core. If you choose something away from that… sure you might get a ‘quick win’, but your isolationist approach could have created artificial obstacles when it comes to tieing in with the heart of the cycle.

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  • Menk Slot


    The basic of PLM is PDM. So everything will start with Product Data. I believe that mist of the Product Data is created at the engineering department. How can we start PLM in other departments, when the basic doesn’t exist?

    I agree with you that everyone in the company should interact with PLM, but my opinion is that it should start at engineering.


    Menk Slot

    • Paul2002

      Actually – If I under stand Yoann correctly – I agree with him. For Product development or NewProdDev – the most important data to define the product is up stream, requirements, market/competitor/business environment, regulation, potential suppliers – Well before engineering design. At the moment this data is not managed very well – and definitely not by existing PLM/PDM systems or requirements systems (what ever their blurb may say) as the data is too fuzzy (fuzzy front ends & all that). This data should be the input into traditional PLM. I’d call this ‘Front end PLM’ if I had too and it an aspect of PLM that does not grow out of PDM. Of course it may well refer to existing PDM if design reuse is to carry over for new webs of products.

      So basically Engineering centred PLM is letting the cart lead the horse. This is not to disrespect Engineering – and they should have an equal input in to the Front end PLM process, but at a concept level not a detailed PDM level.   

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your comment. I think you have a point by moving the starting point up stream. My article apparently shocked some people but I was not even saying that the starting point has to be in a specific departement. I was mainly mentioning that a lot of issues in the PLM world are based on bad implementation startegy and I was mentionning that starting with the BOM and parts may not be the best place to start with. Just for in term of having quick features live to get the continuous enhancement process running. But you’re right, If there’s a debate on where it should start on a conceptual basis, maybe it’s not even in R&D.


        • Paul2002

          Yep – I think the ‘concept design’-engineering design’ gap is the most interesting and ultimately the most financially rewarding part to get correct. The existing PLM/PDM type tools are largely not suitable for that sicne they are too structured. the existing tools ppt,excel,word,visio, & open source equivalenta are too unstructured and disconnected. We need another type of semi-structured tool here that can interact with the others. 

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    PLM should start at engineering to increase the efficiency of your product life cycle from product development to manufacturing to product service.

    As the market leader in SAP PLM CAD direct integration CIDEON America, Inc. is a one-stop
    shop for Product Data Management solutions in SAP PLM. CIDEON consults and supports SAP customers to implement the CAD integration in their SAP document management system. CIDEON additionally
    develops software to fulfill the requirements of integrating the engineering design process into SAP.

    Non direct CAD->SAP integration means additional license costs, redundant user handling, redundant BOM management and the list goes on. CIDEON develops and implements the direct integration which allows engineers to work in their own CAD environment – there are no interfaces between ERP and PLM System – and allows access and view of the CAD files across the whole company (integrated BOM, material management etc.).

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