Does PLM require “plastic mind surgery”?

Does PLM require “plastic mind surgery”?

Usually I talk about technology and software related to engineering software and PLM. Today, I want to break the rule and speak about the topic that is not technological, but mostly psychological. I’ve been reading Jos Voskuil blog – Our brain blocks PLM acceptance. In this article Jos speaks about what role our brain plays in the selection of tools and approaches to implement PLM. Simply put, if you see a person in your organization that cannot follow PLM business transformation, blame his brain ;). Jos explains 8 mental flaws that can prevent organizations from a successful transformation towards PLM. Navigate to Jos article and have a read. I especially liked the following passage about anchoring:

Anchoring can be dangerous—particularly when it is a question of becoming anchored to the past. PLM has been anchored with being complex and expensive. Autodesk is trying to change the anchoring. Other PLM-like companies stop talking about PLM due to the anchoring and name what they do different: 3DExperience, Business Process Automation,

The topic of anchoring made me think about PLM and transformation. For the last 10-15 years, PLM vendors and PLM consultants spoke about transformation and PLM in a context of business transformation. It was mostly about how to change your business to apply PLM principles and… successfully implement PLM strategies and software. It becomes so obvious, that most of people involved into PLM development automatically apply it to their mental behavior. Thinking about new ways to implement PLM, disruptive cloud technologies, innovative business model and more, the traditional way of thinking appears as a blocking factor.

Have you had a chance to read about Dr. Maxwell Maltz? Don’t search for his name in the context of PLM :). Here is a short brief from Wikipedia:

Maxwell Maltz (March 10, 1899[1] – April 7, 1975[2]) was an American cosmetic surgeon and author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960), which was a system of ideas that he claimed could improve one’s self-image. In turn, the person would lead a more successful and fulfilling life. He wrote several books, among which Psycho-Cyberneticswas a long-time bestseller — influencing many subsequent self-help teachers. His orientation towards a system of ideas that would provide self-help is considered the forerunner of the now popular self-help books.

Dr. Maltz found that though he could change his patients’ faces, often they would still feel bad about their appearance for psychological reasons; they were in need of a “psychological facelift.” Maltz popularised the term “self-image” to describe this inner face.

PLM and “self-image” surgery

I’ve been discussing PLM with many people- developers, marketing people, sales. Very often, you can see how the existing “self-image” of PLM applies on everything they do. It applies to the complexity of the code they develop, assumption about how complicated to sell and implement PLM and many other aspects. Now I want to connect it to technology and innovation. We can create new technology, develop new software and create innovative business models. However, in order to make it efficient, we need to improve PLM “self-image”. PLM is not about business transformation anymore. It is about how to help to business to solve their problems and what is most important, about how to help people to get their job done better.

What is my conclusion? PLM space is ready for innovation. The demand for new technologies, different user experience and new business model is high. However, before running full speed towards new goals, we need to fix ourselves first. I call it “plastic mind surgery”. We need to think differently about PLM implementations.  We need to develop a new “self image” for PLM as a lean business practice which includes information sharing and process optimization. In short, I call it lean PLM. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of [Salvatore Vuono] /


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