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High-tech PLM solutions have a wide range of features, fast processing speed, and sleek user interface. These must benefit your company, right? After all, tech companies earn almost half of all venture capital dollars. Forecast output growth is at 135%. Cutting edge sub-sectors like cloud computing, machine learning, AI, and big data have captured the attention of most businesses.

It’s not that simple.

Technology is incredibly important to PLM solutions; with a state-of-the-art system, your business has the potential to go far.

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However, without the help of people in your business, it’s nearly impossible for a PLM strategy to succeed.

In fact, understanding the impact of people on your strategy is key to crafting a successful strategy—and implementing a PLM solution that stands apart.

Common Roadblocks To A Successful PLM Strategy

There is little doubt that PLM technology has evolved from emerging to mature. However, that doesn’t mean that businesses are capitalizing on it as much as they could be.

Often, the problem comes down to clarity into team-level needs. Business leaders often struggle to identify the exact pain points their teams are experiencing, particularly on a granular level. Even if they do have a transparent view into team needs, they struggle to understand how exactly technology could help fulfill them.

Unfortunately, PLM solutions are not able to help businesses identify and define team needs that technology can fix—it can only fix them. Technology is really just a means to an end, after all.

Focusing on business objectives and then leveraging technology to achieve them is where people come in.

How People In Your Organization Can Help Your PLM Strategy

Your PLM solution is meant to help the people in your business. But how can you help them if you don’t know what each and every department needs? An extended survey and feedback session is the first step to developing an effective PLM strategy—and can help interest employees in the project. Among other items to discuss, ensure you ask members of each of your business’s teams:

What their pain points are. PLM implementation teams simply can’t know each problem every department has without asking people within the departments. Ask detailed questions about the process and communication challenges each team member experiences. When conducting your survey, be sure to query employees from each job level; problems will differ depending on the seniority of the employee.  

What they could do if their pain points were mitigated. Ask your interviewees what improvements to their challenging situations would achieve in terms of productivity and product quality. Their answers to your questions will help you rank the challenges that each team member faces in order of importance.

How they could imagine a PLM solution helping them. PLM integration teams bear the burden of determining how a PLM solution could actually fix a problem, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas from the team members themselves. Briefly explain the concept of PLM to interviewees and ask how they think a solution might help them do their jobs—you may come up with some innovative ideas using this method.

After collecting this information, you’ll be able to create well-informed and specific PLM-related goals for your business. Carefully analyze these goals, looking for similarities and patterns while noting departmental differences. (In most cases, each department will have different uses for the solution.) Then, consider how PLM could mitigate these issues and create KPIs for measurement.

What to Look for in PLM Consultants

If you do decide to bring on a PLM consultant to help determine how your business could use PLM technology to meet your team’s goals, take time making your choice. Be sure to look for a few traits that will help ensure your PLM strategy’s success. Your consultant should be:  

Collaborative. Your consultant should be aware of the role people play in the process of creating a PLM strategy. If you aren’t sure how to conduct a company-wide survey, your consultant should feel confident about stepping in.

Roadmap-focused. A roadmap is key to a successful implementation. Ensure your consultant is capable of creating a detailed plan for your business.

Experienced in implementation. Industry expert Oleg Shilovitsky also believes that “people are at the root and core of our businesses driving processes and making decisions.” However, he believes that they are most important during implementation; without employees wholeheartedly onboard, any strategy you craft is doomed. A consultant experienced in implementations will help ensure that your PLM solution is a success.

If you need help forming a results-driven PLM strategy, schedule a meeting with us today.

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