Reasons Why PLM Integration Fails

Dec 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM

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“If you don’t get the culture right, you can throw tools at a problem all day long and get more of the same behavior.”

This quote – published in a recent article published to SearchDataManagement.com by Beth Stackpole – comes from Dr. Michael Grieves, professor of information systems at the University of Iowa, NASA consultant, and author of Product Lifecycle Management: Driving the Next-Generation of Lean Thinking.

Stackpole’s article is titled ‘Best Practices For PLM Integration Across the Enterprise,’ – and it’s an article I highly encourage you to read in its entirety prior to integrating a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution into your environment.

In the article, Stackpole identifies five best practices for PLM integration:

1.       Know thy process

2.       Enlist executive sponsorship

3.       Talk up the value of PLM

4.       Start small and establish metrics

5. Don’t underestimate technical integration

I highlight Stackpole’s last point as this is an area I feel needs perhaps the highest degree of focus, and ties into Dr. Grieves quote quite succinctly.

A fundamental risk within any manufacturing firm, especially a firm with global operations, is the risk of information becoming siloed within individual teams.  For example, if information concerning a flaw in the development of a product is available only to the engineering team, and kept from marketing, there exists the risk of gearing up product launch tasks too quickly – resulting in wheel spinning at best, and a significant loss in resources at worst.

In much the same way, if a PLM system is implemented – but not integrated with all other systems related to manufacturing processes (think Enterprise Resource Planning systems, think Manufacturing Execution Systems) the risk exists for information to be siloed in one system.

Stackpole notes that PLM essentially acts as a repository for everything product related, and if the PLM system is not receiving the information it needs from other core systems, it will be very difficult to achieve success.

Based on the 1 – 5 ordering Stackpole provides in her list, this lack of integration can have the trickle up effect of failure as:

4.  Adequate data is not on-hand to establish even the most basic metrics of success
3.  Any discussion on the value of PLM starts and ends poorly, as the system’s lack of information struggles to make any process more workable
2.  High-level executives see only the bottom-line struggles, and refuse to put weight behind PLM as a solution
1.  PLM is deemed a solution that simply will not fit into existing processes

And this ties back to Dr. Grieves point about simply throwing out tools to try to solve problems without first addressing culture challenges.

Prior to even considering integrating PLM, manufacturing companies must first embrace a culture of integration.  PLM is a powerful solution, but a good share of its power comes from its ability to integrate with other systems.

And it’s those manufacturing companies that accept the power of PLM integration that will experience the true power of a PLM solution.

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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