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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)!!

observation Just back from the ECCAP in Tokyo  where the Dassault Systemes roadmap for V6eccap combined with V5 was discussed and presented in the context of the Asian Pacific customers and companies.

As most of the activities around V6 are focusing on the future around a Service Oriented Approach (SOA), it might be interesting to look at Oleg Shilovitsky’s blog around PLM 2.0 . The conference kept me busy, so busy that I had almost no time to write this post, which actually targets a frequently heard message: We are too busy (to implement PLM / to do something else / etc …)

So in this post I want to conclude the sequel around reasons not to implement PLM. As a reminder:

The 5 reasons not to implement PLM I heard the most were:

  1. The costs for a PLM implementation are too high
  2. A PLM implementation takes too long
  3. We already have an ERP system
  4. Isn’t PLM the same as managing CAD files ?
  5. We are so busy, there is no time to have a PLM implementation in our company

And now, we reached #5

5. We are so busy, there is no time to have a PLM implementation in our company ?

Indeed a PLM implementation should not be underestimated. The impact on a company is significant if implemented correctly.  I encountered two types of PLM implementations:

  1. implementations where the implementer automated the existing customer processes as-is, with a slight change due to chosen PLM capabilities.
  2. implementations where the implementer assisted the company in changing their current business process towards PLM capabilities and best practices provided by the system.

Both type of implementations might have consumed the same amount of money and implementation services. The impact on the company however is completely different.


In case 1 the benefits are relative low as mainly automation of repetitive tasks or data entry was optimized. People in the company did not need to change there way of working too much, and the impact on the way they worked was relative low.

Note: we have a work pressure of max 110 % (no big changes) but at the end we reach an effectivity below 120 % where the work pressure remains close to 100% (98 %)

This means thanks to automation we achieve 20 % more and feel just a little less pressure
(20 points difference between effectivity and pressure)


In case 2 the benefits were much higher as the changing of business processes lead to an optimized process for innovation and engineering changes, based on core PLM system capabilities and tuned for the company.

However the impact on people in the company was also much higher. Different ways of working, changed responsibilities, sharing of data all lead to a learning process.

Note: we have a work pressure close to 120 % but at the end we reach 95 % where the effectivity reaches 125 %

This means thanks to the automation we achieve 25 % more and feel approx 5 % less pressure
(30 point difference between effectivity and pressure)

The graphs are a generalization based on facts i learned in the field and I tried to visualize the impact of a PLM implementation on a company.

So now we have three options to:

  • We have no time to implement – we are too busy
    This leads to a dead end – assuming PLM is relevant for your company – it means the competitors will implement and get ahead of you. Making survival even harder and lead to stressed employees till it cracks
  • We can implement PLM without changing our processes too much
    This is what an inexperienced implementer will suggest. “Tell us how you want to work and we build it for you” . This leads to higher customization costs but probably less pressure on the organization to make changes. At the end as described in case 1 it will bring benefits but not affect the pressure so much. Consider it a band-aid till the next fix.
  • We implement PLM as it supposed to improve our processes.
    Implementing PLM with an experienced PLM implementer and a clear vision will lead to a higher pressure on the organization for approx a year and probably lower costs of customization, but higher temporary resources costs. However at the end it will provide the company with a base to be more competitive. Effectiveness has increased significant and reduced pressure
    can lead to new innovation



If your company would benefit from PLM according to its core business, delaying the implementation is giving your competitors more chances and will affect your market share. Next if you decide to implement PLM be aware that only by changing the way you work more in line with the PLM best practices for your industry you will gain the real benefits. For that reason you need an experienced PLM implementer as partner to guide you in this path.



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