How I ended up writing a book about PLM

Disclaimer

First of all, I want to warn you. Articles on this website are highly opinionated, controversial and full of stories about the topic that usually presented in a very “business oriented way”. The traditional PLM presentation includes list of charts and tables with justification of business values to buy PLM products and technologies. My plan is different. I want to create a source of materials about PLM that will help you to build a foundation layer clean from buzzwords and complex marketing slogans.

The story about Beyond PLM blog

This book would never been written without my past blogging experience. The roots of my blogging goes back to 2005. One of my challenges was to explain the differentiation of one specific PLM product to customers. PLM vendor I was working for went through dramatic sequence of restructuring. Until that time, my job was technical. In a new world, I had to explain something that I assumed as an obvious for customers and business partners. That was the first time I found blogging can be something that will help me to communicate a business story differently.

A decade ago, blogging was not an obvious attribute of enterprise software business. It took me some time to go through the layers of legal and administration bureaucracy. Finally “the blog project” was “approved” for me and few of my business colleagues. I was wrong by thinking “approval” is a hard part of blogging experience. But, I was wrong…

The hardest thing about blogging was to answer on two important questions: (1) Who is your reader? (2) How to write about what you want? It took me few months to think about that. I was reading books and followed other blogs trying to understand how to create a good blog.

My “aha moment” came during one of my conference travels. I’ve been preparing to partnership meetings and caught myself of thinking about ideas I can share with my business colleagues. I created a long list and it was clear to me that for the meeting I need only 5 ideas. At the same time, I found interesting the idea of throwing these ideas on the blog and ask readers to discuss.  That was an early beginning of Daily PLM Think Tank. The goal was simple – to share one idea with my readers every day. It worked to me and since that time daily blogging became part of my life.

To whom I address my writing on plmbook.com?

I wanted to create a useful reference that can help to engineers, managers, IT people and PLM minded individuals to start with PLM project. Imagine you need to start you PLM project tomorrow. What you should do first? One of the options is to read colorful MBA-styled materials about business values of PLM. That can be a good idea, but I found it won’t provide enough hands-on recommendations. Alternatively, you can rely on trusted PLM consulting company. Not bad at all, but these companies are usually associated with one of PLM software vendors. You can jump and buy PLM from one of well-known vendors. After all, there not many of them around. If you have previous experience with one of PLM vendors, it can be a good option too.

After all, it is your choice how to start PLM project. Nevertheless, I hope you will be better armed how to handle you PLM project after browsing and reading materials on this website.

Everything on this planet – machine, computer, phone, table or even bottle of shampoo… are manufactured somehow. You need to design it, create manufacturing plan, sell and ship it to the customer, provide service part, recycle after all… Imagine information that needed to make it happen. PLM is a mean for that.

Why PLM is confusing people?

Every time I read a book or article about PLM, I find myself saying – “That’s fine. I’ve got all these points about importance, value, business purpose, getting CxO on board, implementation planning, etc.”

However, this is not a hardest thing about PLM. The hardest thing is not to say why PLM is important. The hardest thing is not to sell PLM project to executives. The hardest thing is not to learn how to install PLM servers or make a decision to switch to cloud PLM. The hardest thing is not how to implement hundreds of scripts and define thousand of data attributes.

SO WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT PLM?

The hardest thing about PLM is to understand that PLM is never ending story. It is a lifecycle. You need to find a way to execute it and make it successful step by step. The hardest thing is to cut endless discussions and make PLM technology to work in few months after PLM project was approved. The hardest thing is to deal with advisory, criticism, management, technologies and, most importantly, with people implementing and using PLM together with you. There is no simple recipe that can help you with that.

I’ve been staring to think about this book back in 2014. I know many people following my blog on a regular basis. At the same time, I received questions and comments from people searching for information about PLM and trying to use my blog as a source of knowledge. I tried to do it by myself using Google search. I have to admit – this is not an easy task…. My articles are usually short. It is very good for daily blog, but bad if you try to connected them together as a story. Some of my old articles lost videos, references and not connected with today’s industry landscape. Overall, it was bad experience and decided that I need to do something about it…

PLM for smart people? 

The first idea was to write a book – PLM for dummies. I’m sure you are familiar with “For dummies” brand. Some of these books are very helpful, since they can provide a crisp definition about complex domain. I even made a post – PLM Action plan for dummies

Few of my followers contacted me privately and said that the idea “for dummies” is not good for PLM. Nobody wants to admit that he is dummy about PLM. My friends told me that should call my book “PLM for smart people”. Well… it wasn’t resonating much.

Here is a challenge about PLM. It is about everything. Just speak to PLM sales person. It applies to everything you do in your company. It is confusing and it turns many people off the “PLM vision”.

I want to help people better understand PLM and navigate in an ocean of information about PLM business strategies and technologies. Finally, I want to help to create step-by-step guidance for real PLM implementation.

The future of PLM

PLM is not an application, business strategy or technology. PLM is a way to run product development in manufacturing company. It is “how to” about product manufacturing and not about “managing data” or “streamlining processes”. PLM is an information model of manufacturing company and its products together.

Manufacturing is changing these days. So does PLM. It gets agile, lean, connected and different. PLM systems were born in large companies to solve complex configuration management processes – to manage complexity of data and changes. Therefore, PLM systems we have today is a reflection of existing workflows. One of PLM challenges in the future challenges will be to evolve and change existing workflows and manufacturing paradigms. I hope my writing will help you to accomplish that goal and change PLM as we know it today.

Picture credit – (c) Can Stock Photo

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