You’re doing PLM every day, but call it differently

I have some good news for you. If you’re in a business of manufacturing products, the chances you are already doing product lifecycle management. Without some basic product lifecycle processes, you wouldn’t be able to run design and manufacturing.

When you create a CAD design, save it in your computer or network, back it up, manage versions, produce a Bill of Materials, collaborate with manufacturing, suppliers, plan test and compliance processes – you’re doing PLM!

PLM buzzword was first created by engineering software vendors and large aerospace and car manufacturing companies to help to run processes in engineering and product development. It inherited significantly common configuration management business practices used by these companies.

Competition between CAD and PLM vendors contributed largely to PLM buzzword development. Product lifecycle management solutions were over-sold by vendors. Enterprise sales machine did what it supposed to do – to sell.  After almost two decades of competition and intensive product development, PLM industry is facing two biggest problems – buzzwords and absence of differentiation.

Ask 2 engineers about how to manage product development. You can end up with at least 3 opinions. The same happened with PLM terminology. No doubt, companies are managing their engineering and manufacturing differently. But even so, engineers also tend to call things differently. Hence you can see so many different PLM presentation calling the same things by different names.

When you start thinking about your PLM project, try to abstract from buzzwords and think rationally about what you want to accomplish. It is hard, but this is an absolutely right thing to do. You can find system functionality that does exactly what you need but called differently.

In parallel, I can see a huge demand  to remove buzzwords from the lexicon of PLM vendors and marketing. We need to get back to roots – CAD, Bill of Material, Change Notice, Manufacturing plan, procurement, contractor, supplier, etc. I can see in the future engineering and manufacturing software without buzzwords. Think about differentiations. Companies that will be able to run away from buzzwords, will be winning in the future PLM competition game. It might include removal of “PLM” buzzword too. Oops…

Photo credit – (c) Can Stock Photo


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