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PLM Standardisation

 

'Standardisation' vs 'Standards'

There is a difference between ‘Standards’ (which are formal, documented specifications of what can happen); and ‘Standardisation’ (which is a continual drive towards common best practices).

 

   

In the 19th century, Joseph Whitworth began his career as an apprentice in a machine tool factory, and went on to leave a legacy of standard measures and gauges that transformed the manufacturing industry of his time.

Move forward 150 years, and Whitworth's principles of accuracy, standardisation and improvement are just as relevant to PLM. Of course, PLM is much more complex than turning screw threads, but the current state of the PLM industry has many parallels with the "turned by hand, every screw thread is different" situation that Whitworth first encountered.

 

 

Many might think that standardisation in PLM is long overdue.


Modern PLM


PLM Standardisation does not mean: “making everyone in the company work in the same way as each other”.  There may be many reasons why people in different parts of the organisation, or in different countries, or in different subsidiaries or sister companies, should work in slightly different ways to each other.

However, different ways of working normally include ineffective ways of working; and the differences and inconsistencies can waste time, effort and resources.  The goal of PLM Standardisation is to establish, document and implement a mixed set of standardisation elements that eliminate this waste, and reinforce best practice.

Within each implementation there is always a drive to improve performance, and so internal rules and procedures will have been established that attempt to rationalise the way that people work. Capturing and optimising these is a way to benefit from PLM standardisation. At a company level, it involves the capture and documentation of all your internal best practices into a framework that is well-defined enough to be applied right across the enterprise.

‘PLM Standardisation’ is therefore the creation of an effective, balanced and practical environment, in which current ways of working are optimised, and from which future ways of working can be improved.

For mature and successful PLM implementations, it is one of the easiest ways to generate additional improvement for a relatively small amount of effort.

 

The Basics

 

PLM knowledge and methods should be formalised into internal standards that are practical and flexible. These need to be:-

  • structured around the common activities of adoption and implementation
  • relevant and accurate enough to be a practical guide
  • based on practical ways of working that are proven to be effective
  • agreed with users and other stakeholders
  • maintained and updated by the PLM Team

PLM standards lead to more faster and more effective working, and embedding "right first time" practices.

 

PLMIG Initiative

 

The PLMIG ran a Workshop Series in 5 European cities to establish the scope, potential and methodology for PLM Standardisation.


Novotel, Gothenburg   BW University, Munich   Nearchimica   IMechE, London   Westin Munich


The results are summarised in the Methodology below, and participants identified the following drivers and areas where Standardisation will provide benefits.

 

Drivers for Standardisation

 

PLM standardisation enables user companies to save the massive amounts of effort that are wasted in rationalising PLM across geographies, subsidiaries, and the customer/supply chain.  It also "farms" the internal best practices that can make a PLM implementation so effective.

Internal Drivers

  • Internal consistency of methods
  • Consistency of performance
  • “One Version of the Truth”
  • Economy of scale
  • Elimination of waste
  • Effective use of resources
  • Cost Reduction
  • Elimination of non-value-added activities
  • Elimination of silos
  • Collaboration
  • Synergy
  • Elimination of cultural and geographical effects
  • Efficient and accurate execution
  • Consolidation
  • Empower staff to work effectively and to their full scope
  • Merger & Acquisition transitioning

External Drivers

  • Customer forces
  • Supply Chain forces
  • Visibility
  • Compliance
  • Quality
  • Risk Reduction
  • Failure Elimination

 

Methodology

 

There is no standard structure for a PLM implementation.  Every organisation's PLM environment is different; and so the elements that should be standardised will also be different.

Even within a single industry, every company that implements PLM does so in its own way, in response to its own operational drivers and constraints.  This means that even the best PLM implementation is a "one off" - a unique composition of PLM ideas, methods and software that, however well it has been constructed, is entirely bespoke.

If PLM were a product, then the first prototype would be production engineered into something that is easier to make and that requires less effort to do so.  For PLM, this is done by Standardisation.

Fortunately, there is a standardised methodology for actioning this bespoke activity - in other words, though each company's internal PLM standardisation is specific to itself, the method of applying the standardisation is general best practice.

 

PLM Standardisation Manual

 

This methodology has been encapsulated in the PLM Standardisation Manual.

An optimal level of PLM standardisation needs to apply across the whole company or organisation; along the supply chain; and with customers.  These all place different demands on the standardisation process, and call for an intelligent approach from the PLM Team.

 

 
 

 

The PLM Standardisation Manual has a logical structure that covers the Theory of Standardisation; Standardisation Factors; the Methodology itself; and how Standardisation may develop in the future.

The Manual provides a clear and easy-to-follow methodology for applying standardisation within your own PLM environment.

It shows the targets to aim for, the benefits that can be achieved, and the possibilities for the future if best practice is shared across the PLM industry.

 

PLM Standardisation does not mean: "making everyone in the company work in the same way as each other". There may be many reasons why people in different parts of the organisation, or in different countries, or in different subsidiaries or sister companies, should work in slightly different ways to each other.

However, different ways of working normally include ineffective ways of working; and the differences and inconsistencies can waste time, effort and resources.  'PLM Standardisation' is therefore the creation of an effective, balanced and practical environment, in which current ways of working are optimised, and from which future ways of working can be improved.

Standardisation is a continual drive towards common, proven best practices; and is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of improving a mature PLM implementation.

The target scenario is one in which this optimal level of standardisation is devised, documented, applied, and continually improved.

 

PLMIG Standards

 

Although this page has been talking about Standardisation, it is worth mentioning the three PLM Standards that have been developed by the PLMIG that derive from its other work.

These apply to three very specific, and very different, situations where accuracy and consistency are required:-

 
Governance of the PLM Environment
 
Definition of the Product Structure within the PLM system
 
Synchronisation of PLM (hardware) and ALM (software) development

Each of these is covered separately, and more details can be found by following the bullet point links above.

 

Find Out More

 

The PLM Standardisation Handbook is provided with Q&A support to PLMIG Members, so you will receive a copy if you join with any class of Membership.

Alternatively, you may buy hard copies from Amazon.

Direct and ongoing support can also be provided as part of the Mentoring option.  For more information contact .


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