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How to Identify and Implement PLM Best Practices

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OK, you know you should implement best practices when you implement PLM. That sounds straight forward enough, right? But how do you go about that? How do you include your own, unique practices where appropriate? How do you leverage the embedded best practices in your PLM solution? This was one of the questions we set out to answer in a joint PLM implementation survey with PTC Global Services. I will share some highlights here, and then feel free to read my full thoughts on my guest blog post on the PTC blog, Managing Process Improvement for PLM.

First, if you would like an overview of the research process please watch this episode of Tech-Clarity TV. It explains that the key to the study was identifying which companies were able to improve their business more with PLM, and then comparing the way they implemented PLM with others.

From a process perspective, we asked which of the following best reflects their implementation approach:

  • Existing business processes drove software customization
  • Business processes and software functionality were developed concurrently in an integrated fashion
  • Business process changes were based on software-defined processes
  • Business process changes were made independently of software-defined processes and functionality

The short version of the results is this – The top performers focus on defining new processes, but they do it in context with the capabilities and processes supported by the software. This is not the only way to implement PLM, but those that got the most from PLM were more likely to take this approach, so it’s good advice to consider. See more in the guest blog post.

 

 

 

SPEAK YOUR MIND

  1. Jim, what I heard from some manufacturers is that to
    implement ‘best practices’ isn’t natural and it kills innovation. Moreever it makes them
    leas competitive. What your researches are saying? Thanks, Oleg

  2. Oleg,
    I don’t understand their perspective. I think that really depends on what “best practices” they decide to implement.

    Maybe it’s better to start with the opposite end of the spectrum. The research showed that far fewer leading companies simply automated their existing practices. So putting in technology and keeping your processes the same isn’t the answer. Do we agree on that?

    So what do the manufacturers you talk to suggest to maintain innovation? Keep going at things where everyone invents their own process? Or do they at least believe they need a “best practice” for their business?

    Thanks, I look forward to understanding your perspective,
    Jim

    • Very often I can see “best practices” as a marketing starting point. Customers need to show what technologies /product can do. Later on, customers are defining their own processes. Flexibility is a key. This stage is very critical. In case software is not flexible enough, it may lead to a potential dissatisfaction and long implementation services. Just my opinion, of course :0. Best, Oleg

      • Oleg, that was exactly what we found in the paper. The leading companies did not blindly automate their existing processes. Nor did they simply adopt the “best practices” from the software. Instead, they defined their processes based on how they want to run their business – but keeping an eye on what the software does to limit the amount of customization. It is this approach that lets them adopt the “good enough” practices in the system where they suite their needs but tailor the system for their unique needs and differentiation.

        Maybe we are talking about different “best practices” if  you are considering them only the ones developed by the software company. No software company I have ever seen can develop a set of practices (or even multiple sets by industry) that will meet the unique needs of each company. Maybe in accounting software where processes are strictly mandated (GAAP), but even their you see customization.

        I agree that the system should be flexible to allow them to adapt processes or create their own. So that brings me back to my initial question – how do you determine which are the best practices for your business? The research shows a give-and-take between the business and the software is the most likely way to reach business benefits.

        Thanks for sharing Oleg.

        I am curious if anyone see the process suggested above as limiting innovation and competitiveness? If so, I would love to hear about it.

        Good discussion.

        • Jim, Oleg I think somehow you are aligned 🙂 In the projects I have been assisting it was always important to talk about best practices as common methology how generic companies would share and mature their data.

          Inventing per company a unique approach does not make sense and makes the PLM implementation only more complex. To me there are standard PLM practices about sharing and maturing data in a multi-disciplinary environment and they are software vendor independent.

          I agree with Oleg that especially for the mid-market companies flexibillity is key – you do not need rigid processes. More rigid processes you find in bigger companies because they try to assure a common approach – smaller companies are still (and probably in the future too) driven by individuals.

          But these individuals need to make sure that information is stored and ‘findable’  by others, now and perhaps 5-10 years later. For that best practices of which data to store and where does not affect the flexibillity too much nor does it kill innovation.

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