Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products

Selecting a best-fit solution requires balancing needs, cost, and incumbent applications.

Member Challenge

  • There is no margin for error.
    • PLM is such a crucial business process that both the business and IT are hesitant to suggest changes to existing processes. Mistakes can lead to catastrophic business outcomes.
    • If major mistakes are made during the PLM initiative, IT will face significant rework and the business will lose trust in the department.
  • It’s a difficult market to navigate.
    • The PLM market is more complex than other application markets. There is minimal transparency with regard to pricing and feature sets. Additionally, it is not always clear which PLM tools will integrate with an incumbent ERP.
    • Choosing the right technology stack is critical. IT needs to spend time understanding who the major players are before making a selection decision.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Alleviate organizational pressure in a rapid product lifecycle.
    • Shorter product lifecycles and higher frequency of releases put pressure on PLM to get product design and cost management right the first time.
    • A PLM that can adapt to the shifting needs of an organization ensures that each product achieves its target cost and planned margin and exposes supply risk while there is still time to fix it.
  • PLM and ALM are converging.
    • Most physical products are now software enabled. IT needs to manage software releases not just for applications but also for physical products.
    • Software vendors have yet to embrace this convergence.
  • Get a 360-degree view of the product lifecycle.
    • Feed downstream data into upstream processes for constant product improvement. Organizations need to figure out not only where PLM fits in their application process (e.g. PLM – MRP – ERP) but also what data feedback loops are necessary. For example, if a design change needs to occur at some point in the production process, interoperability between ERP, CAD, and then PLM results in faster turnaround and better data hygiene.

Impact and Result

  • Our methodology will address the issues presented using a vendor feature–set based approach to showing the client the art of the possible for PLM.
  • Drawing on experience from nearly three dozen analyst engagements pertaining to PLM, half of which involved the manufacturing sector, our methodology enables the member to find a structured approach to vendor selection for this complex application category.
  • Moreover, by utilizing Info-Tech’s vendor landscape and executive primer, the member and their business stakeholders can be confident they are taking the right approach to selecting a PLM solution.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why your organization should care about PLM’s potential to give you a 360-degree view of your products and how Info-Tech will support you as you identify and build your PLM use case.

Name Actions
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Executive Brief
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Sample
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Phases 1 to 3

1. Launch the PLM project and collect requirements

Understand the PLM marketplace, where PLM fits within your enterprise application suite, and how to gather requirements for your PLM initiative.

Name Actions
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Phase 1: Launch the PLM Project and Collect Requirements
PLM Specialist Job Description Template
PLM Requirements Picklist Tool

2. Shortlist PLM solutions

Assess organizational and project readiness for PLM selection and understand the PLM vendor landscape.

Name Actions
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Phase 2: Shortlist PLM Solutions

3. Select vendor and communicate decisions to stakeholders

Invite vendors for product demonstrations and present selection methodology to relevant stakeholders.

Name Actions
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products – Phase 3: Select Vendor and Communicate Decision to Stakeholders
PLM Vendor Demo Script
PLM Selection Stakeholder Presentation Template
Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products

Onsite Workshop: Select a PLM Solution to Make Better Products

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Do-It-Yourself Implementation

The slides in this Best Practice Blueprint will walk you step-by-step through every phase of your project with supporting tools and templates ready for you to use.

Project Accelerator Workshop

You can also use this Best Practice Blueprint to facilitate your own project accelerator workshop within your organization using the workshop slides and facilitation instructions provided in the Appendix.

Module 1: Understand PLM and Elicit Requirements

The Purpose

  • Understand the fundamentals of PLM tools and their real-world business applications.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A clear understanding of what PLM is capable of and where it fits within the enterprise application ecosystem

Activities Outputs
1.1 Introduce PLM technology.
  • An understanding of the history and current state of PLM
1.2 Kick off the requirements gathering initiative.
  • An outlined elicitation plan
1.3 Elicit requirements.
  • A list of functional requirements from stakeholders

Module 2: Conduct an Environmental Scan and Internal Review

The Purpose

  • Examine where the organization’s current product lifecycle processes stand.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of what is needed from a PLM initiative to drive efficiency and differentiate your organization from its competitors

Activities Outputs
2.1 Conduct business process mapping.
  • An understanding of the processes that a PLM will need to support
2.2 Perform a competitive analysis.
  • n understanding of comparable organizations’ approach to PLM
2.3 Gather document system requirements.
  • A list of system/technical/nonfunctional requirements

Module 3: Shortlist Vendors

The Purpose

  • Achieve readiness for vendor demonstrations.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Creation of a custom vendor shortlist

Activities Outputs
3.1 Review PLM vendor landscape.
  • Understanding of the PLM vendor market
3.2 Create vendor weighting criteria.
  • A standardized framework for scoring PLM vendors
3.3 Create a custom vendor shortlist.
  • Vendor shortlist