Managing PLM Process Improvement


Published on

Few would argue that process improvement is
central to gaining value from PLM solutions.
Buying new software to automate existing
processes typically leads to modest results,
if any. You have to change the way you work,
not simply implement new technology, in
order to achieve meaningful business results.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Managing PLM Process Improvement

  1. 1. Global Services Insight Managing Process Improvement for PLM By Jim Brown, founder and president, Tech-Cl arit y Few would argue that process improvement is central to gaining value from PLM solutions. Buying new software to automate existing processes typically leads to modest results, if any. You have to change the way you work, not simply implement new technology, in order to achieve meaningful business results.Page 1 of 4 | Managing Process Improvement for PLM
  2. 2. Global Services InsightSo how should you go about process improvement? Everyone talksabout moving to “best practices” but what does that actually mean About the Research:in terms of defining new processes? PTC Global Services and Tech Clarity, an analyst firm that specializes in product lifeManufacturing companies typically struggle with this issue when cycle management, interviewed 190 seniorthey explore new or upgraded PLM applications. They can’t decide business and IT leaders in April 2012 aboutwhether to re-engineer their entire product development approach their experiences with PLM. The goal of thebefore implementing the software or take a less ambitious tack. telephone survey was to understand key success factors in planning, implementing,Some argue that keeping or modestly adapting existing processes and adopting PLM solutions in complexis faster, and they may be right. I have seen companies spend a year manufacturing environments.or more just to develop or harmonize processes across several The survey highlighted four issues: PLMbusiness units. strategy and approach, programmatic challenges, implementation and adoptionOthers argue that it is better to adopt the processes built into the techniques, and adoption. Surveynew software that their vendors provide. After all, the vendor has participants included representatives of aworked with a great many customers over the years and built best wide range of manufacturing companiespractice approaches right into an off-the-shelf solution. Why should across Europe and North America, including automotive, aerospace, industrial, andthe manufacturer reinvent the wheel? But if they already have consumer products.effective processes, should they really throw them out and startagain with a whole new approach? About PTC Global ServicesThese are tough questions and decision factors vary widely across The 1400 professionals at PTC Globaldifferent manufacturing organizations. Recent research on key Services help the world’s leadingsuccess factors for PLM by Tech-Clarity and PTC Global Services, manufacturing companies gain product and service advantage through solutionhowever, provides some important guidance for companies explor- strategy and design, process transformation,ing this critical management issue. technology configuration, and organizational training and adoption. Our in-house expertsResearch Suggests Best Practice Approach and premium services partners work overtime to ensure the best possible resultsIn a survey of 190 manufacturing firms from Europe and North and maximum return on investment. LearnAmerica, we asked participants to identify which one of four differ- more at approaches to process improvement most closely matched the For more Insights from the Global Servicesway they managed their PLM initiative: team, please visit:• Existing business processes drove software customization. Or scan this code with your mobile device:• Business processes and software functionality were developed concurrently in an integrated fashion.• Business process changes were based on software-defined processes.• Business process changes were made independently of soft- ware-defined processes and functionality.Page 2 of 4 | Managing Process Improvement for PLM
  3. 3. Global Services Insight 40% 39 35 30% 22 22 21 20% 17 15 10% 0% Processes and Software Processes Improved Software-Defined Existing Processes Improved Concurrently* Independently Processes Adopted Drove Customization* *Indicates a statistically significant difference. Soource: Tech-Clarity and PTC Global Srices, PLM Key Success Factors Survey, 2012Figure 1: Process Improvement and Software Implementation: High Performers vs. Everyone Else We then compared their responses to an overall review of “high performance” in PLM to understand the relationship between process change and ultimate business value. According to survey data, 22 percent of participants are high performers in PLM with much greater improvements than others in three essential business metrics: improving time to market, increasing product development efficiency, and reducing product cost. As shown in Figure 1 above, the greatest number of high performers (39 percent) improve processes and software concurrently. These companies improve business performance by changing the way they do things but not entirely reinventing the wheel and ending up with unique processes that aren’t supported by the software. They leverage what the software offers where it works and use custom processes where they need them. Often, the most successful programs will adopt a small number of unique practices for particular competitive, differentiation, or industry needs and rely on standard best practices for other functions.Page 3 of 4 | Managing Process Improvement for PLM
  4. 4. Global Services Insight The point here is that while process improvement is essential to PLM success, companies don’t need to define new processes in a vacuum. They should evaluate their processes in relation to those embedded in the software and determine which should help drive their new way of doing business. The research shows that this is the most common approach taken by high performers and the one that most differentiates them from lesser performers. In fact, the lower performers were much more“ likely to simply keep existing processes and customize the software to support thems. About the Author Jim Brown is the founder and President of independent research firm Tech-Clarity. Jim is a recognized expert in software solutions for manufacturers, with over 20 years of experience in application he greatest number of high T software, management consulting, and research. He has broad knowledge on performers improve processes applying Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), social computing, Supply Chain and software concurrently.” Management (SCM), ERP, compliance, quality, service management, and other enterprise applications to improve business Jim Brown performance. For more information on Founder and President, Tech-Clarity Jim and Tech-Clarity, visit: The concurrent approach is not the only way to succeed, however. Almost one quarter of the top performers (22 percent) improved processes independent of software change. This helps underline the importance of process change as a driver of business value, but shows there can be different ways to get there. Past experience (not tested in this study), though, does suggest that the concurrent approach is faster than redefining processes altogether. Another 22 percent of the high performers adopted the processes built into the new software, similar to the 21 percent of lower © 2012, Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC). All rights performers that took this same approach. reserved. Information concerning the benefits and results obtained by customers using PTC solutions is based upon the particular user’s experience and testimonial, is furnished for In summary, while there may be more than one approach to PLM informational use only, and should not be construed as a guaran- tee or commitment by PTC. Due to the varying degree of complex- success, two things seem clear: ity of our customers’ products and/or their design processes, typical or generally expected results are not available. PTC, the • Improving processes versus automating existing processes is PTC logo and all PTC product names and logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC and/or its subsidiaries in the United much more likely to lead to greater business value. States and in other countries. All other product or company names are property of their respective owners. • Taking a concurrent approach to process and software improvement is the most likely path to success J0651–PLM Process Management–Insights–EN–0812 Page 4 of 4 | Managing Process Improvement for PLM