PLM’s need is clear. Why the change is not obvious?

PLM’s need is clear. Why the change is not obvious?


My attention was caught by tweet promoting CIMdata’s complimentary PLM Leadership Tutorials – a set of videos describing PLM in 5, 10 or 15 min. I found this video set fascinating and interesting. Navigate to the following link to watch videos and learn more about PLM. I like the idea. Making more stuff about PLM available for free is clearly an opportunity to get more people exposed to PLM principles and learning about PLM. I think all videos are good. However, I like 5 min version the most. I captured two interesting slides from the video presenting PLM business drivers and explains PLM’s need.

The following slide speak for itself – lack of resources, product and supply chain complexity. In my view, it is a great way to articulate reasons why company can be interested in PLM solution.


But the following slide is my favorite – PLM’s need is clear.


You can learn that “there are too many systems, processes and people that create, share and/or use data”. So… PLM solution is supposed to accomplish 2 things – 1/ making complex simple; and 2/ making the disconnected connected. While it sounds perfectly reasonable, I doubt there is a clear way to go from point A to point B. The famous passage from Steve Jobs says:

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” .

To turn PLM into simple system is hard. So, you might think, company can work “even harder” and find a way into their PLM journey? Actually not really… This is where the problem of benefit and changes in large organization is coming into play.

To understand that, navigate to the following article – Everybody wants the progress; nobody wants the change. I found this article is explaining well the main dilemma standing in front of many people implementing PLM. The need is clear, but to make change is too hard and benefits are not obvious for all groups. Read the following passage , which is my favorite one:

Organizations that generate no complaints are dead in the water. The question to ask about the organizations that do generate complaints is how they handle them. When a small minority of people complained about Apple’s decision to stop putting optical disk drives in portable computers, Apple persevered because this decision offered benefits for the vast majority of users. (Naturally, those of us who benefited did not speak up to say thanks.) In contrast, when lots of people complained because Apple Maps was a terrible piece of software, Apple worked to fix it … eventually.

These two episodes illustrate two general types of complaint. One arises when a change offers a windfall gain for some and imposes an undeserved cost on others. If the costs per person are small and the winners outnumber the losers, the best course is to persevere. But if the change offers net benefits but imposes large costs on many, it is worth finding ways to redress the split of gains and losses.

Today’s news related to the announcement of iPhone 7 dongle is another perfect example. Apple knew about potential number of complains and provided an ultimate solution to everyone (just in case). I guess you’re questioning how to find “PLM dongle” now.

What is my conclusion? PLM’s need is clear. But the road to implement PLM is hard and it is not obviously benefit enough people in organization to justify the change. This is a problem of current PLM paradigm, in my view. From my experience, every successful PLM implementation has its own hero. This person (or team) is working hard to convince organization to implement PLM. Now it is a perfect time to think about new PLM paradigm that will help to justify the change organization need to do as well as to provide an additional incentive to make painful changes. 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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