I started selling Engineering Document Management [predecessor to PDM/PLM] solutions back in the 80’s when there were only 4 options for customers.
I had a huge territory – everything from Denver to the west coast. I called on all kinds of manufacturers. It didn’t take too long to discover that aerospace and defense companies provided the fastest, easiest sale. Why? They had tens of thousands of paper drawings, finding the latest released drawing was almost impossible.
Some Lessons Learned
Latest Released – They showed me a table with maybe 100 drawings on it. We talked about finding the latest released drawing. Let’s say that there were 5 versions of the same widget, they still didn’t know if this was the latest released drawing. There could be drawings at other locations or someone could be working on that same widget as we are looking. There was no visibility.
ECR/ECO/ECN – One of their biggest problems was managing engineering change requests. This process was manual and paper based. They had no control of the process to make sure that all of the steps had been taken and all of the signatures were captured. They had no visibility into the status of a change request. Fortunately, we had a solution for that.
All Companies are Unique – Initially, I would go into a company believing that I knew what was best for them based on what I had learned from other customers. Very quickly, I learned that wasn’t true and that it was extremely important to ‘listen’ to the customer to uncover their specific concerns.
I probably spent more time performing project management functions than I should have, but the results were ‘successful, happy customers’. I am still in contact with many of them.
Historically PLM has started in Engineering, but today’s PLM software easily handles any business process a company might want to manage. Every prospect has different needs and wants – If their vendor listens well, they should be able to provide a meaningful solution that can more than pay for itself.
Contact me to learn more…