When I started to handle a process some years ago, my first thought was it will be an easy work - the process was existing, ready and would only require some small adjustments. However, my first thought was not fully correct. Also this existing process required continuous improvement as well as a never ending need to change as the environment changed.
When PLM, Product Lifecycle Management, is discussed, it is often in my opinion focused on the tools to do the PLM job.
For me, as as working with both process and the IT tools (in this article especially PLM system) to handle the process, I like to share a few thoughts about the relation between the process and the IT tools.
The PLM system must support the process. I think that is obvious. But also the opposite direction must be considered. The PLM system can have features never thought of when making the process, but found to improve the process (or actually the product coming out of the process). The PLM system can also have limitations to meet the process, hence it can be efficient to adjust the process to meet the process.
The PLM system can, generally speaking, be fully customized, fully standard (doubtful), partially customized and finally more or less configurable. Without having facts, I believe it is normally considered to be most cost efficient to have a standard PLM system using configuration but as little customization as possible.
The PLM system can consist of many tools, modules and so on. Two of them can be to store data, directly in data base or as document, and the second is supporting the process flow.
Coming back to the "trouble" that the process is never in its final revision. To change the process in a text document or flow chart can be done over a cup of coffee. But to change the PLM system to meet the process can be far more difficult with far longer time line, and it can involve many persons from different disciplines to make it work in the PLM system.
It is a never ending challenge to make the process and the PLM system to go hand in hand in a never ending world of changes.
8 October 2017
This article is also published on LinkedIn.