PLM – What’s in it for the User?

You are considering investing in a PLM [product lifecycle management] solution.  Why should your employees be excited about using the new software?

Life without a PLM solution…

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that you store your files in a protected directory on a server.

You have been charged with making a change on an existing product.  This activity began with a change request so you notify someone that you are going to work on it.  You want to start with the latest version of the drawing or drawings.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to figure out the name of the file, you look for the latest version and copy it to your desktop.

Some questions come to mind.

  • If you didn’t know the name of the file, how long did it take you to find it?
  • You believe that you have the latest version of the file, but do you? Someone else could have made some changes to the file and overwrote the original.
  • You may have legitimate access to the file, but did someone without proper access work on that file.
  • Is someone else working on that file right now?
  • Do you have a single version of the truth? How would you know?

Life with a PLM solution…

Let’s go through the same activity using PLM software.

You receive the change request through Email.  You accept the task by replying to the Email.  Within the Email there is a link to the drawings and you click on it.  The software checks to be sure you can work on this drawing and you check it out of the vault.  You can easily see if there are any other changes pending.  You are confident that you have the latest version of the file because there are no ‘overwrites’ allowed.

You are working with the single version of the truth.  When you are done, you check it back into the system.  The system notifies the next person in the process that it is their turn to work on this.

Managers will be able to see who did the work.  They will be able to see what’s changed.  If there are changes pending against the drawing, they will be able to see what needs to be changed and who is doing the work.

If your company is attempting to be ISO compliant, this software will eliminate many of the extra steps that are required from engineering.

What does it mean to you?

A successful PLM implementation will eliminate many daily required extraneous activities.  You can find drawings quickly and be sure it is the right one.  Day to day, you will be able to focus on engineering without worrying about ‘overhead’ activities.

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