How to organize PLM benchmarking process without going insane 

How to organize PLM benchmarking process without going insane 

PLM project isn’t a piece of cake for many organization. Some people say PLM is never ending project. It is a journey. As much as I agree with the statement, every journey should have some milestones or stations where you can get some rest, enjoy what you achieved and plan for the next part of your journey.

One of the projects, that is usually raising lot of questions is “benchmarking” of PLM. I’ve seen companies benchmarking PLM for years without making next steps. I also seen PLM projects turning into insanity at the time decision should be made. How to prevent it and how to plan for the next step in your PLM journey in the most reasonable way?

Setting up business goals 

As much as it sounds obvious, many companies are not clear about business goals for PLM and benchmarking project. Without goals, PLM benchmarking  can easy turn into endless process of debates and discussions.

Setting up technical goals 

Technologies can play very important role. At the same time, to agree on some technical scope upfront can easy help to make a quick decision about architecture and possible technology and solution scope.

Organizing team of internal and external experts 

Surround yourself with expert in both technical and business domains. You need to have support from organizational knowledge experts as well as people that can lead you into journey about business practices and possible technologies.

Agree on quantified and qualified criteria 

If you plan to make a decision in the process of benchmarking, you need to agree about set of criterias upfront. “Play” these criterias with the team to be sure you don’t have a “holly cow” that nobody is ready to touch.

3 big DO NOT of PLM benchmark: 

1- DON’T benchmark PLM products before deciding about strategy, business goals and application of technology. You will get lost and will spend too much time speaking to PLM vendors about things that have no relevance to your organization.

2- DON’T start behnchmarking process before forming of cross functional team of people with authority and knowledge of all organizational workflows you plan to cover by PLM benchmark.

3- DON’T mix external PLM benchmarknig of products, technologies and best practices with internal assessment of business processes, work organizations and existing technologies

What is my conclusion? With the right organization, PLM benchmarking is not a complex project. By setting up goals, working our strategy, isolating conflicting areas, not mixing technology, business and workflow processes you can make a visible progress very soon. Then by planning gradual progress, you can make it happen without going insane. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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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  • Don Rice

    Talking about benchmarking is good, however too many companies fail to define upfront what they want PLM to do and/or what problem(s) they want PLM to address because they don’t fully understand what PLM is and what it can do. So defining what they want to benchmark can be an exercise.

  • beyondplm

    Don, you’re right. But, that’s exactly what you can avoid by focusing on business problems and goals first. It is a bit of catch 22. But if you start from business side you have a chance to avoid “PLM technology looking for problem” situations.