22 June 2011

PLM Integration With (Wait For It…) Social Media Technology


Product lifecycle management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration removes the barriers of time and distance and provides us with global visibility into manufacturing projects.

Social media removes the barriers of time and distance and provides us with global visibility into the lives of our nearest and dearest.

The question, then, is not ‘will PLM integrate with social media?’ Rather, ‘when’ – or (for those who like to skip ahead) – ‘how long ago?’

It’s very rare that a major change and a seeming inevitability collide without some degree of push-back.  And when it comes to social media PLM integration, this push-back can be summed up in one beautifully succinct line:

‘We will not design a plane on Facebook.’ From a Boeing Participant at COFES 2009, cited in the presentation Social Media in PLM by Siemens.

Is this a fair assessment of where PLM social media integration is headed?  Is the world’s most popular social media channel – literally – set to become the destination where manufacturing happens?

In agreeing with the push-back – that a plane will not be designed on Facebook – Siemens presentation goes on to discuss the concept of social computing, and how these concepts could apply to product development.  For instance:

  • A ‘Tweet’ could be equatable to an instant communication of a design challenge

  • A ‘comment’ could be equatable to shared, public feedback on design issues or concepts

  • A ‘news feed’ could be equatable to progress issues or statuses

Each bullet point above syncs succinctly with what we discuss as being the primary benefits of PLM / ERP integration, specifically:

  • Real time communication, where team members can communicate project details instantly regardless of distance

  • Global project visibility, where team members can see all project details in one central location

  • Faster time to market, thanks – in part – to more efficient means of communication and management of project details

Social media PLM integration, in the end, only sounds as though it is the next step.  In reality, manufacturers that have taken advantage of PLM / ERP integration have been experiencing the benefits of social for quite some time – and to reiterate – this does not mean designing a plane on Facebook.

In a sense, we aren’t looking to social for a new way of managing manufacturing projects – but to see what the next step in this evolution may be.

What are your thoughts on social media PLM integration?  Do you feel that social technologies are already blending with manufacturing processes – and if so – what do you hope to see next?  I encourage you to share your feedback via a comment below.

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Luciano Cunha
Luciano Cunha,
Luciano Cunha,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

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