So, what is the basis for commitment / loyalty you ask?
Peter Schroer of Aras posted a blog, MBA 101: Is that $10M you spent on PLM (so far) an Investment or a Sunk Cost?, on about commitment to PDM/PLM/CAD. I found it interesting and also felt that it warranted my comment.
Commitment / loyalty really has nothing at all to do with the amount of money invested to date. However, to Peter's underlying point, executives get hung up on how much they have spent and do not want to view that money as being thrown away. So instead, they continue to throw good money after bad. Also, this phenomenon is not limited to PLM implementations. The world of ERP, BI, and QA have even bigger horror stories when it comes to continuing to spend large sums of money on failing implementations.
If you want to build solution loyalty, you need three things:
- Understand and help the people who will get the greatest value from a new solution, the people who work with the tool set day in and day out. Determine what their needs are. Walk a day, a week, a month in their shoes. Find out how much time they spend tracking the progress of their work in offline spreadsheets. Watch them search through numerous folders, network shared folders, and document libraries just to locate a single file. Find out how much time they spend sending and receiving email, making phone calls, and walking the floor trying to determine what the status is for various efforts. Ask them how many meetings they sit it where the focus turns to how broken the process is, trying to make the process better, and still attaining no resolve. Work with these folks on documenting their current struggles, listing their data, process, and system requirements, and give them a seat at the table, a voice in the discussion, and a vote on the solution.
- Assign an engaged executive who can make a decision and have the authority to implement. And when I say engaged, I mean someone who admits they do not have all the answers. Someone who spends time in the trenches with the people doing the work. Someone who will listen and be active in the discussions, contributing not dictating. Someone who will clear the field in front of the implementation team to ensure that barriers are removed and support is ready, willing, and able. If you want to do all you can to ensure loyalty, buy in, and support, get an executive who will clear their calendar to make time for the effort that they and their people will have to live with for the next decade or more.
- Start now. Start small. Never stop. PLM should not take a big bang approach to implementation. You cannot define everything that will be managed through PLM up front. PLM is not a one and done solution for businesses. Nearly everything within a company looking at PLM is somehow connected and/or managed within PLM. Existing enterprise solutions that may or may not be in place do not have features, functions, or modules to address every thing or every process within and organization. ERP systems do a fine job of capturing a number of attributes about a part or a raw material. However, ERP does a terrible job at rendering 3D images and exploded visuals of a component BOM like CAD systems do. Therefore ERP and CAD need to share information about parts and components. CAD systems do a great job with visualization, but not as good of a job with review and approval workflow management like PLM systems, that can also loop in manufactures and suppliers.
PLM loyalty is not about spending $10M. PLM is about listening to your staff who is struggling every day to do things right and to do the right thing. PLM is about empowering your staff to do something about their struggles. PLM is about fighting in the trenches with your staff, assisting them with becoming more efficient and more effective. PLM is about making a difference now by addressing the little things that have a big impact. PLM is about continually managing, reviewing, and improving. PLM is a living system that changes with the business as the business changes.