Is there a difference between a healthy PLM system (or any business system) and a successful PLM system? A PLM system is healthy when it runs without errors, does not crash and has adequate performance. Razorleaf believes that just because a PLM system is healthy that does not necessarily mean it is successful. Unfortunately, we find some of our clients that do not recognize that difference and therefore end up with a healthy yet failed PLM system.
Let’s illustrate it this way, you want to run a marathon sometime next year. In order to do that, you need to get yourself healthy. You start jogging, eating better, losing weight and improving your cardio endurance. After several months, a month or two before the marathon, you check yourself. You are down 20 pounds, cut out most junk food and your cardio is better than ever. Are you healthy? I think most people would agree that you are very healthy. But what if you can only run 13 miles before you tire out and cannot continue. While you are very healthy, you are not successful as it relates to your marathon goal. The point, good health is the foundation of success but they are not synonymous.
Back to PLM…
Let’s take this back to the PLM discussion. If your PLM system is error free, has good performance and does not crash, while that is a good and a very enviable position, that does not mean you have a successful PLM deployment. Unless you measure features, functions and capabilities against your original goals you never know where you are in relation to your goals. Were your original goals to reduce engineering change time-cycles by 20%? Maybe you wanted to reduce errors in data transfer to MES or ERP systems. The point? Are you actively measuring not only the day-to-day operations of your system but how it is performing against your original goals?
Razorleaf frequently finds that this is NOT the case. Instead, we find the original goals of the PLM system sometimes gets lost. Why does it matter? Your organization only has so much money and time to spend on various initiatives. If time and money is being spent on something, and the value to the business (ROI) cannot or is not being measured, someone will, at some point say ‘why are we spending money here?’ If you can’t answer that question funding and/or resources will be pulled.
What can you do to avoid this? Let’s go back to our marathon example. What do you do when you find out you have made improvements but are not where you want to be? The first thing you do is re-assess your goals and make sure they are still the right goals. Maybe the original reason for running the marathon was to lose weight and reduce your bad cholesterol. Even though you can’t run a marathon you actually did what you wanted. What if your goal to run a marathon was that your significant other runs marathons and you want to do this activity together. In that case, the goal is still valid and you need to make progress toward that goal. With the latter being the case, you now need to access where your gap is, what the steps are to close that gap and what the time frame is to execute those steps. As you are working on your revised plan you will frequently check yourself and see how you are progressing against your plan toward your goal.
The same should be true of your PLM system:
- First, is the system healthy, running right, error free, etc?
- If not, what needs to be done to get there?
- What were your original goals?
- Are they still valid? If not, what should the goals be?
- How do you objectively measure success?
- What is the gap between where you are and where you need to be?
- What steps need to be taken to close the gap?
- What time frame is realistic to execute those steps?
- How will you measure process toward closing the gaps?
Contact Us for a Health Check
Razorleaf offers a PLM HealthCheck service to our clients where we can help you with this exercise. Razorleaf’s experience with PLM deployments can be particularly valuable when you talk about the steps needed to close the gap and realistic time frames. We can help you evaluate where you are, where you need to go and how to get there.