The issue of PLM adoption remains critical, in my view. Even if we can see more examples of PLM implementations, companies usually consider “PLM project” as something that needs to be taken with care, significant amount of planning and justification. So, I wanted to ask “why it happens”? The traditional answer mostly coming from PLM vendors and PLM consulting is leading to the complexity of business processes, the need of people to change and technological challenges related to implementation and customization of systems. Usually, vendors and consulting are working with CAD/IT managers that lead “engineering part” of the implementation. In parallel, PLM consulting often dream to work with C-level people in a company to define better alignment of PLM strategy.
I want to raise a question of balance between engineering IT / CAD managers and more strategic PLM business planning. Here is the thing – even if companies are succeeding in making strategic planning for future business and product planning development changes, CAD management is still can create too many complication on the way. CAD management is complicated, requires lengthy implementations, data import and… more important – change the way engineers and designers are working by introducing “data management”. The last one is hated by everybody hates because of complexity.
In addition to complexity, CAD data management introduces an issue of compatibility between different CAD systems and PDM components. New trend to solve this problem is to use PDM system of the same CAD vendor. It simplifies CAD/PDM integration, but introduces the problem of multiple PDM/PLM system integration. CAD management (PDM) projects often positioned as an introductory step in PLM implementations often end up as a long and painful journey.
What is my conclusion? In my view, CAD management is a valley of death for many PLM implementations. Many PLM consulting and even some PLM vendors are trying to avoid and position PLM implementations “beyond CAD/PDM”. It certainly gives some advantages, but (in my view) just hides the real problem of bad engineering data management. Engineering data from CAD is an important element of change management and many other PLM-related processes. As we move to more agile and efficient product development process management, to solve the problem of CAD data management and PDM becomes very important. Just my thoughts…