observation Two weeks ago I was writing about the Silent PLM approach. What I showed in that post that often the PLM vision as a complete vision does not exist in all layers of the organization.
Often the management in is not aware of where and how PLM can have an impact. In the Silent Management approach, one or more visionary people believe they can introduce PLM by starting it in their department, and from there grow and extend the impact of PLM. As I concluded,  this approach usually fails in most of the cases as when the decisive step comes to extend PLM to other departments and to change current processes, this is the point where is mostly gets stuck.

Other departments and the management do not see how this engineering / CAD extension could benefit for them and the whole organization. Why not extending our ERP system as this already exists ? And here a stand still will come up until a push comes. The push can come from the top or from the outside world. From my experience more then half of the companies that started this silent PLM approach got stuck where they are ……..

So this time another approach, called the academical approach. And again a disclaimer, I am generalizing and putting some points a little more in the extreme to demonstrate the difference between the approaches. Any similarity with the real world is pure coincidence

Approach 2:  Academical PLM

Inside our mid-market company ACCPY,  the management has understood that PLM will bring a lot of benefits and in case they were not aware of it, they have learned from analyst reports, from blogs and from their network that PLM should bring a lot benefit for them.

myplm So the management decides to prepare and educate themselves and they start a PLM taskforce inside ACCPY to collect and digest all the information. The team has enthusiastic members from all departments and starts buying some books and reports on PLM. In addition they visit some PLM events all around the country and sometimes around the continent. These visits lead to contact with PLM Vendors who also start to educate why their PLM is the one fitting ACCPY the best. After one or two years of education they are theoretical skilled and know to differentiate between EDM, PDM, cPDM and even they learn to understand the difference between PDM and ERP.

As a conclusion of their learning stage the PLM taskforce presents to the management a firm report, explaining what is PLM and how ACCPY can benefit from it plus recommendations how to proceed.

PLMmindsharers The management is happy with the result, that what they thought two year ago was really valid and agrees with the report and recommendations. Now the selection of the PLM system needs to be done and who will be the implementation partner. Although all PLM vendors have been knocking on their door already to explain the benefits and implementation approach from their solution, ACCPY decides to hire an ‘independent’ PLM consultancy firm to assist with the selection of the solution.

The consultancy firm starts with interviewing the key members of ACCPY, in order to understand the major processes and the needs per department. A month later they present to the management a PLM Vendor Selection Procedure, where in 15 pages the PLM Vendor has to explain and confirm requirement per requirement, the implementation approach and give a budget estimate.

searchThis RFQ will be sent to 5 PLM vendors which were already in touch with ACCPY since the PLM research started. Also the consultancy firm brought in a company which they new very well.  It takes a few weeks for the consultancy firm to compile the RFQ and two months later the responses are there.

From the received proposals three PLM vendors are invited to benchmark their system and company based on a business case developed by the consultancy firm together ACCPY.

PLM Vendor 1

The first PLM vendor gives a standard demo of the system and explains that the business case is well known to them and therefore instead of showing it, they give a whole set of screenshots and references. The attendees had a good feeling with this vendor

PLM Vendor 2

The second PLM vendor tries to follow exactly the business case as defined. The attendees liked the fact that  all was demonstrated so well, however the PLM system seems to be rather too complex and giving a lot of overhead to the engineers,  according to their impression.

PLM Vendor 3

The third PLM vendor was already known to the company as they were also providing the 3D CAD system.  In their presentation they explained how well they knew ACCPY already and that the business case was too artificial. They demonstrated some gadgets of their PLM system which none of the competing vendors could do, thanks to their tight integration with the CAD system. The attendees were impressed, however a few days later, they were asking themselves, why were those gadgets needed ? None of the other vendors talked about it and it was also not part of the RFQ.

sel_a So now it was time for the consultancy firm together with the task force to  process all the information and to determine the final score. On product features they had a nice comparison – only hard to tell what was most important. On usage it was more difficult, as they got three different approaches during the benchmark, so the scores for this section was rather artificial. Also the financial part seemed to be hard to compare but at least it gave an indication.

As it is an academical approach, my post for this week ends here. We need to give the ACCPY task force together with the consultancy firm some time to build a justification for their choice and next week we will discover how this story ended. Meanwhile ask yourself:

  • how much time has passed since the management decided PLM was good for their organization ?
  • how independent is the consultancy firm ?
  • did they consider open source PLM as a solution ?
  • what was the ranking of the PLM vendors ?
  • read the book Blink the power of thinking without thinking about intuition

Conclusion (so far): Academical PLM takes time and it would be unfair to explain it all in one post.
So next week the real conclusion.