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PLM Body of Knowledge

 

It would seem that PLM is the world's only job that is so complex that no-one can understand it.  The on-line world is full of conflicting theories and blogs, despite the fact that PLM has existed as a discipline since the turn of the century.


   

Of course, experienced practitioners do know about PLM in great depth, and when they come together they generally agree about what they know.

The problem is that this interaction has always been informal.  There has never been any structured approach to capturing this knowledge.


The PLM Interest Group has been developing working material since 2004, and most of it embodies fundamental truths about PLM.  The Benchmarking Handbook, for example, was the first to be produced almost two decades ago, and the methodology is still accurate today.

However, this in itself is not enough.  The driver that will lead to a global, neutral PLM Body of Knowledge is Professional PLM.


Professional PLM


Everyone has a vague picture in their mind of what "being professional" means, but the drive to establish a globally-recognised Professional Body for PLM requires much more detail.

One cannot set out roles, grades, and levels of progression without written definitions of what these encompass.  One cannot establish qualifications without written definitions of the skills and experience that these entail.  And one cannot accredit training and education providers without written definitions of the overall syllabus.

The PLMIG is a leading participant in the Professional PLM Initiative, managing the Steering Group and producing the definitive Industry White Paper that is now the reference point for future progress.  With its synergistic background of developing practical PLM working material, the PLMIG is uniquely placed to help compile and formalise the PLM Body of Knowledge.


Content and Structure


At first glance the major challenge might seem to lie in defining and collating the massive amount of content that will be needed for a Body of Knowledge.

PLM is a vast subject, with many complexities, and is a seemingly irreconcilable mix of high-level business concepts and arcane technicalities.  The PLM practitioner needs to know facts, but also needs to know what to do in many different situations.  And because one of the aims of this new BOK is to eliminate misconceptions and mistakes, there will be people who argue against it from their entrenched viewpoints.

But in fact it will be equally challenging to define and agree a Structure for this new 'model' that makes it useable.  The embodiment of PLM - what it looks like in any given product-related business - is unique to the business concerned.  There may therefore need to be several different ways of representing the same data. PLM practitioners can have many different roles, and they too may need to approach problems and answers in different ways.


Interactive Development


The challenge for any PLM Manager, in any size of company, is to establish what should be done in PLM; and then to work out how to do it.  The neutral Body of Knowledge should provide easy-to-use answers to these questions.  The PLMIG has developed extensive expertise in dealing with these challenges.

The approach has to be interactive and iterative.  No-one has all the answers, and the representation of the knowledge is unlikely to be right first time.  There will need to be cross-industry discussion about this, in a formalised and well-structured way.

It may require technical workshops to be staged on subjects that are well-known but need crystallising (such as BOM management or ALM, for example): or high-level meetings to flesh out business issues such as justification, culture change or executive involvement.

This industry interaction will be run according to a well-publicised programme of events, and the next step in the process is to plan what these should be.


Find Out More

If you would like to take part in the events, or just find out more about the programme, you can do so via .



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