PLM Interest Group














Recovery and Refocus


If a PLM implementation is seen to be under-performing, or has reached the point where senior management has lost interest, then a specific set of actions must be initiated.


For a product-oriented company, it is not possible to abandon PLM.  The elements of product definition, configuration, management, manufacture and support must happen for as long as the company exists.


So if senior management loses faith, the company loses money.


The PLM response has to be considered and accurate.  The aim is to retain the maximum value from the effort so far, and to move smoothly onto a corrected path.


The process is summarised below.



Redefine the Team

In order to start the Recovery, you must know who is to action it.  It is likely that the group of people involved in PLM has changed since initiatives were first started.  In extreme cases, the original PLM Team may have been forced out, with a new group of people placed in charge to try to start again.

PLM Recovery is a formal process, and the first step is to plot the organigramme for PLM for the whole enterprise, starting with 'PLM Prime Mover' and extending to project members, supporters, 'mavens', team members on remote sites, vendor account managers, and sympathetic senior managers.

This exercise may reveal a cohesive team, or it may show just a few PLM managers working on the sidelines.  Whatever the result, this is the starting point.




Technical Cross-Check

This new PLM Team, or PLM Manager, should carry out a quick and informal review of the actual current situation based on the fundamental PLM tenets.

Einstein's quotes are often given too much credence, but; "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" is applicable here.

The PLM Team can launch straight into the Recovery Process (below), but that is likely to carry forward some of the errors and misconceptions that caused the current problems.  Starting with an informal external overview can externalise the PLM thinking, impart more accuracy to the remediation, and generate working documentation that will support the Recovery actions.  The PLMIG is one possible source of this kind of overview.

The Technical Cross-Check can therefore be thought of as Step 0 of the Recovery Programme.




Recovery Programme

Recovery requires all of the following steps.




Read why Why Your PLM is Failing and summarise honestly how your implementation measures against these criteria.

Cross-check against the absolute basics by reviewing the requirements of Demystifying PLM.

When you have done this, run a formal PLM Self-Assessment, using the Toolkit's Pass/End gates to produce written evidence of where the major obstructions lie.

Apply the PLM Governance Standard.  This may seem to be an over-ambitious step if PLM is not going well, but it highlights to everybody the areas where the management structure may be letting the PLM initiative down.  It also specifies some of the documentation that is required for Step 3.

Lack of documentation is always one of the first problems when trying to improve a PLM environment. A PLM implementation should be documented with as much care and coverage as the products that it covers.

Wherever there is a lack of documentation there is a lack of accurate agreement and understanding, and there are people working at cross-purposes.

PLMIG tools and standards indicate the document types that should exist, but the minimum for Recovery purposes is a set of documents that would explain the current scenario, and its aims and its problems, to a third party PLM practitioner who is not familiar with your implementation. This can be encapsulated into a single Company PLM Overview Document.

Creating this base-level of documenation means that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the Rethink.




The PLM Team needs to create space to reimagine, or 'Re-Vision' how PLM affects and may improve the business.  If there is time pressure, then a breathing space can be gained by making this a formal activity, such as running an internal workshop.

Preparation and an Agenda for such a working session can be found in the Self-Assessment Toolkit.

If more depth is required, the PLM Team can carry out a Level 0 Internal Benchmark using the Benchmarking Handbook.

There now needs to be a practical, pragmatic restatement of PLM priorities and goals.

As well as restating the PLM position, this Step must prioritise the Recovery actions and define the upward management that will be needed to get approval.

These can be written into a concise PLM Discussion Document.

If the first 5 Steps have been carried out thorougly then the overall PLM infrastructure will have been diagrammed, documented and understood.

In this step there is a specific effort to incorporate as much as possible of the work done on PLM so far, together with the investment in software and services, into the Repositioned scenario.

PLM improvements are rarely pointless or valueless - they are just rendered ineffective because of technical inaccuracies or because other necessary parts of the implementation may have been overlooked.

In this Step, the first-pass Repositioning is updated to maximise the re-use of current material and projects.




The PLM Team needs to believe in PLM; colleagues and management need to have faith in PLM; and PLM needs to become relevant and necessary again for the business.

There is bound to be some residual antipathy to PLM, but the Recovery Process itself can be the means to overcome this.  You have carried out a structured review; you have involved stakeholders and listened to their concerns; and you have a new Roadmap that makes optimal use of the PLM investment that people thought was lost.

If you have used the PLM Governance Standard wisely, then you will also now have a workable management structure to support your new plans.  You can now action the Recovery.





How to Action the Recovery

The PLMIG has devised the Recovery Process and can provide the tools to help enact it.  The methodology leverages the best practices that are part of Class A PLM.

For those who would like to self-help their Recovery, it is possible to follow the process in-house via:-

Individual Membership
Individual Membership of the PLMIG provides the full set of PLM tools and PLM Journal issues, with Q&A support as you apply them.

The 'Step 0' Technical Cross-Check can be provided directly by Roger Tempest, drawing on two decades of experience at the leading edge of PLM.  This can be enacted as a rapid project or via:-

Bespoke Membership
Work interactively with the PLMIG as defined by specific agreement.

Alternatively, the PLMIG can manage and support the full PLM Recovery process, with on-site support and documentation, via:-

Corporate Membership
Organisations that are applying PLM on a truly corporate or global scale can use Corporate Membership to embody PLMIG best practices and metrics within their implementation.

More information can be found via the links above or by contacting .

Copyright 2023 PLM Interest Group


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