It has been silent from my side the past – more than two months. Extremely busy and sometimes surprised to see the amounts of post some of my colleagues could produce, with Oleg as the unbeaten number one. During this busy period I was able to observe some interesting trends listed below:
Social Media and PLM is one of the favorite topics for both bloggers and some PLM vendors at this moment. New products for community based collaboration or social engineering are promoted. Combined with discussions and statements how the new workforce (Generation Y) should get challenging jobs without doing the ‘old boring stuff’.
True arguments to initiate a change in the way we work. And I agree, must of current PLM systems are not ‘intelligent’ enough to support engineers in a friendly manner. However is there an alternative at this moment ? Below a commercial (in Dutch) promoting that elderly workers are still required for quality.
I discussed the relation PLM and Social Media some time ago in my post Social Media and PLM explained for dummies. In addition my observation from the field, gives me the feeling that in most companies the management is still dominated by the older generation, and most of the time they decide on the tools they will be using. No X and Y at this moment. Therefore I do not see a quick jump to social media integrated with PLM – yes the vision is there – but the readiness of most companies is not yet there.
PLM and Cloud are also more and more mentioned by PLM vendors as a new solution specially for the mid-market. And with an optimistic mind you can indeed believe that with a low investment (pay per use) mid-market companies can do their PLM on-line. But why are existing on-line PLM systems not booming at this time ? (Arena / PLMplus / and the major PLM vendors) I believe that there are two key reasons for that:
- Implementing PLM is not equal to installing a system. PLM is a vision to be implemented using a system. And the difficulty is that a vision does not match function and features from a product vendor. There is a need for a driving force inside the company that will support the business change. Where are the consultants and advocates (with experience) for this type of solutions ?
- There is still a reluctance to store intellectual property somewhere on-line in a cloud without direct control and ownership of data. Mid-market companies are not known to choose solutions ahead of the mass. In this type of companies cloud based CAD tools might be an entry point, but all product data – no way they say.
PLM or ERP
Before even talking about new technologies or fundamentals for PLM, I see the biggest challenge for PLM is still to get the recognition as the system for product knowledge (IP) and innovation. In too many companies ERP rules and PLM is considered as a way to capture CAD and engineering data. The main PLM vendors are not addressing this challenge – they neglect ERP (yes we can connect). And ERP vendors like SAP and Oracle are not known for their PLM messages and strategy (yes we have PLM). As ERP is often the major IT-system historically, there is so often the (wrong) opinion that everything should be built and based on one system.
In some publications I have seen the Swiss knife as an example for the multi-functional system with all tools embedded. My question remains – who wants to work only with a Swiss knife when doing professional work ?
I like to have the right tools to do my job
The most important topic around my blog the past 3 years has been around the Manufacturing BOM – where should it be – and where is the MBOM current ?
Sweden – a reality check
Last week I attended the DS PLM forum in Gothenburg to present the vision of using a PLM system as the backbone for plant information management for owners/operators and how ENOVIA supports this vision.
But I also learned Sweden is (one of) the most innovative countries (I need to verify the criteria used but can imagine there is a source of truth). What impressed me more where the presentations from Staffan Lundgren from Sony Ericsson with the title “Living in a world of change – balancing stability and flexibility” and Magnus Olsson from Volvo Cars with the title “Driving operational excellence in a challenging business environment”. Both companies are well known for their robust image. From both speakers you could experience that they are not worried so much about Generation Y, their success is depending on a clear vision and a will to go there. And this basic drive is often missing – PLM is not a product you buy and then business continues as usual
PLM vendors made a lot of noise the past months (events / product announcements) and customers might get the impression that technology and software (or the price of software) are the main criteria for successful PLM. Although not unimportant, I would focus on the vision and to assure this vision is understood and accepted by the company.