This week I was reading a management article completely unrelated to PLM, but very applicable for PLM. The article stated that one of the basics of capitalism is innovation through crisis. Never let a crisis pass by without using it for your benefits was the message.
As we are currently in the middle of the economical downturn (according to the optimists or pessimists – we still have to figure out who is right), this is the moment for the management to decide. Do we try to sit still till it does not hurt anymore , or are we making strategic changes that will for sure demolish some holy houses but from the other hand will create a more lean and stronger organization after the change ?
Examples of IBM and GM were given from the nineties. IBM made the change from a hardware company towards a software company, where GM kept on doing the same with even bigger SUVs’. We know the results…….
Does it prove anything ?
For sure there are many companies that haven’t survived the nineties as they were not successful in their transformation, although they really tried. So where is the relation to PLM ?
I believe that the problem of implementing PLM, and specially in mid-market companies is the fact that there is no ambition for change when things are going relatively well. In one of my old posts I referred to the story of the boiling frog.
This happens when an organization is slipping down slowly and it is hard for the management to change and define and sell internally another strategy. Jobs and people are kept in place as long as affordable and only natural evolvement (an aging workforce) or mergers are drivers for a change.
Now with this crisis it is different. Everyone realizes (or should realize) that going on the same manner with the same people is not good for survival (unless you are in one of the few industries that benefit from the crisis – apparently the fast food industry I read)
In times of a crisis, first of all the management is challenged to come with a survival plan and in most cases this time they can get support from their employees as there is always the threat of lay offs if people are not creative or flexible for change. Secondly, employees will be also more flexible to save their jobs and the company (usually in this order)
Therefore this is the ideal moment to implement PLM in phased approach. For a successful PLM implementation you need employees, who are open minded to change the way they work, plus you need internal resources that have time to work with the implementer to fine tune the PLM system.
This moment exists now and by implementing PLM in a phased approach, each phase will bring ROI, perhaps even before the end of the crisis as you can start with the low hanging fruits and start to collect the benefits.
In parallel there is the discussion around free open source software or dumping software for free by some PLM providers in order to stay in the market. I think here as a customer you should always realize that every company, also software providers, need to survive the crisis and will look for income in another way – services / maintenance / additional software.
So my conclusion this time:
I never realized that both capitalism and PLM were striving for innovation. They have a crisis in common – For capitalism it is a must to push innovation for PLM it is an enabler for innovation