3 Steps Towards Digital Transformation in PLM

3 Steps Towards Digital Transformation in PLM

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Digital transformation is a fundamental trend we experience every day in our life. Remember the time when most of information around us was on paper – maps, phone dictionaries, newspapers, music, photography, etc. This is only a short list of things that went completely digital.

Like most of consumer oriented process, companies are looking how to digital their processes and shift information streams from analog to digital. The digital transformation is unstoppable, but to think how to move essential information stored in file cabinets or on blueprints can be a difficult task. Paper folders will move to digital folders and cloud storage platforms.Once critical business information moved to digital places, it is a time to start the digital journey.

Although digital files are everywhere, it is not an usual thing to see manufacturing companies still in the process of transferring essential files into digital format. As a result of this and many other historical reasons, I can see manufacturing companies are stuck in their decision process how to move from analog past to digital future. So, I wanted to come with some guidance how to move forward.

1. Don’t try to force a full 100% control over digital transformation. Although manufacturing companies are placing a significant effort to decide about information organization, to overthink this process would be harmful. The amount of information produced by organization is huge, therefore trying to force some order in the emerging stream of digital information can be not feasible and practical. So, lest it go and focus on how to index and keep that information searchable and discoverable.

2. Simplify terminology. In the past PLM has a tendency to create their own lingo. The problem of this approach is that such situation is leading to massive misunderstanding and additional level of complexity. It is a time, PLM vendors should rethink their naming conversation and at least to simplify existing ones.

3. To rethink the way “record management” is done. Product records are fundamental in digitalization of product development and manufacturing. In the past some record management was a very manual and local. Not any more – company dealing with global information and distributed processes. So, the opportunity is to automate everything that related to record keeping in manufacturing. Automation can come in two potential ways – automate classification and automate change management process. These are my best candidates to keep up with the speed of changes.

What is my conclusion? It is important to set new rules in PLM digital transformation. Moving information and processes in digital process is an activity that will take years. It is important to build easy to use information management practices and not to rely on old fashion data management approaches. Digital transformation will take time, but balancing chaotic and full structured approach can provide a realistic path to the full digital future. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.

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  • Devanga

    Very Valid. Nailed right in first point itself In general, new technologies and tools always seem to make positive progress. However if wide adoption among users is needed, then clear path has to be defined for handling legacy data. Implementation team should upfront review legacy data, process and document what needs to be done going forward. If the answers are difficult for legacy data, then new technologies and tool cant travel much.

  • beyondplm

    Devanga, thank you for your insight! Indeed, a combination of long lifecycle of existing solution and slow ROI creates a very specific conditions for digitalization in PLM. However, the solution who will make it, will rule the manufacturing world in the way global web giants and Amazon are doing it.