Process Management in PLM

I began selling PLM software solutions in the late 80’s.  At the time, engineering document management software was very new.  There were only 4 companies selling that kind of software.

I had a great deal of success selling to aerospace and defense companies.  As you might imagine, they had hundreds [if not thousands] of CAD drawings that they needed to manage.  One big issue was keeping track of the latest released version.

That statement implies that a drawing will be changed and released any number of times.  These aerospace and defense companies had an engineering change control process in place that they attempted to follow.  At that time, these procedures were all managed on paper by their document control department.  They might have a notebook where they would keep track of their changes and record the version of their latest released drawings.

What could go wrong?  Human error…  Many of my prospects experienced the wrong version of a drawing ending up on the factory floor.  At that point, the cost of the error is not insignificant.

Our software had the ability to electronically manage the engineering change control process.  We would demonstrate how easy it was to manage using our software and that usually tipped the scale in my favor.  My customers began managing their engineering change process using my software.

Some of the benefits included…

  • Anyone could quickly see the version of the latest released.
  • Anyone could see if there was a pending change coming.
  • If there was a change pending, anyone could see who was working on it now.
  • The software would ensure that the drawing moved through their designed release process.
  • The chance of the wrong version getting to the factory floor was all but eliminated.
  • Using the software reduced the need for CCB meetings – issues could be resolved in advance.
  • The use of PLM software greatly simplified their ISO9001 audits.

Since that time, PLM software vendors have greatly improved their process management capabilities.  Other departments within the company could see how efficiently the software managed their procedures so they would begin to use it for their processes.

Contact me to see how this could work in your company…


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