observationThe words used in this title are the ones that I heard the most the past weeks- only all of them in a different (more pessimistic) context. Speaking with potential customers  and vendors I heard most of the times the combination: Can we do PLM when there is an economical crisis ?

A famous Dutch soccer player (Johan Cruyff) once said: “Every disadvantage has its advantage” and this is also valid for the economical crisis. It forces companies to think (different) as their future is challenged. Less orders means less works and probably less pressure on the organization – companies might decide to lay off people to reduce costs. This is in many cases a pity as knowledge (IP = Intellectual Property) might be lost.

One of the benefits of PLM is that the IP (stored in people’s brain) becomes available and visible inside the company without the need to consult these experienced persons.  Would this mean implementing PLM would reduce they amount of people in engineering ? No, it reduces the risk for a company to be held hostage by these people and even more. By making internal IP available inside the company, it allows companies to overlook their portfolio and performance – and from there to decide where to focus an innovate. It creates a competitive future.

In some of my previous posts, I mentioned that one of the most heard excuses not to implement PLM was the fact that companies claimed they are too busy. This means reduced work creates the opportunity to invest time in PLM – and as the budget for implementing PLM might not be available, at least the time exists. The work done during this time assists the company once we are in an economical upward move – usually at that time companies become stressed as more work needs to be done with few resources available – and new resources need to be hired.

For me a PLM implementation can be compared with a journey through an unknown area. As companies usually do not understand what is the impact of PLM to their company – the ultimate goals somehow are known, but how to get there, no one knows.  A company can hire consultants and implementers to guide them during this journey, and i believe this is required, to avoid going in the wrong direction.

However the knowledgeable people inside the company know best which changes in business processes will bring value and which are not yet understood. And this is crucial in a PLM implementation – a company needs to digest and understand the impact of PLM.

So considering the points above and the fact that as a company you do not want to invest much in a PLM implementation at this moment due to the financial situation, what can you do:

  • Spend time inside your company to decide where you want to be in two to five years, assuming that once you have a more promising market you need there to be ahead of your competitors
  • Learn and invest with PLM providers who can offer you a solution. Pay attention in this phase on which partner understands your business and can guide you in a step by step approach towards your goals. Do not get distracted by function and feature comparison of systems at this stage as most PLM systems can do the same, it is more about your implementation / consultancy partner.
  • Define a step by step implementation roadmap, where each step brings you ROI (return on investment) and closer to your goals.

Considering the three points above you will be able to say:

Economical Crisis and PLM ?
YES we can (start)!!