I had the chance to talk with … Razorleaf during a research project earlier this year. Razorleaf helps manufacturers leverage PLM, Design Automation, and other enterprise technologies to improve product development and engineering processes. During the conversation, it was clear that they really understand how enterprise technology can be applied in an engineering environment. They are ready to step in and deliver the enterprise services required to implement PLM. But how much of the “PLM” ecosystem is really ready and capable to implement PLM? In my experience, too few.
What Razorleaf Does
Talking to the people at Razorleaf, I recognized the approach and skillset they use to implement engineering solutions. Yes, they know the products. But they also know how to help companies transform their processes, change their business, align their organization, and all of the other lessons learned from implementing systems like ERP and supply chain management. I recognize these in part from my research, and in part from spending a number of years with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) implementing enterprise applications. These solutions require more thoughtful implementations than engineering tools, because improving the productivity of an individual is not enough. They have to improve the way the overall business works together. Not an easy task, but that is where the value comes in. This is what Razorleaf does.
How Razorleaf Fits in the PLM Ecosystem
Why did it strike me that they had this knowledge? Because too few resellers in the engineering software market have these skills. What comforted me, though, was that it is exactly those resellers that call on Razorleaf to help their clients. The good news is that the resellers know – or maybe it is their manufacturing customers – that there is more to a PLM implementation. This is likely the reason that other companies such as Kalypso (an innovation consultant with strong enterprise and PLM skills) is on the scene at so many PLM implementations. I find frequently that companies like these are pulled into implementations early on to help augment the skills of the software resellers (and even the vendors themselves). It also helps explain the importance of a resseler like NovaQuest (a Dassault Systemes reseller with significant PLM experience)
Impliciations for Manufacturers
Why is this important to the manufacturing community? If you are implementing PLM, make sure that those doing the implementation understand the different between implementing software tools (CAD, CAM, CAE, etc.) and enterprise applications like PLM. It can be the difference between a technically successful implementation that provides little or no business value (what I like to call a failure) and improving your business performance through the use of PLM technology.
So that’s what I hear from Razorleaf (with some additional perspective thrown in, I think it might be as much “What I Learned” as “One-to-One this time). I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them?