PLM Interest Group














Why Your PLM is Failing


If "failure" is defined as "not achieving complete success", then every single PLM implementation in the world is failing.

In fact, some level of failure is now endemic in PLM because of years of under-justification and under-resourcing, which have lowered expectations of what PLM should achieve in the fragmented world of a business enterprise.


The PLMIG has redefined the parameters of PLM attainment with its focus on Full PLM Maturity and its tools to quantify the benefits of PLM in dollar or euro terms.  Some of those elements of PLM are listed here.


Even if you are on the path to Class A PLM, you will find that you are not meeting every single item in the Challenge. If you are in the process of PLM Recovery, you will find that this is an excellent checklist to decide where you should improve.


It is important to bear in mind that this is not a criticism - it is a critique.  PLM is so complex, and the working environment is so intense, that it is hard to cover every base.  Cross-checking against the list can provide indicators as to where your PLM implementation may be enhanced.



The PLM Excellence Challenge


Every mature PLM implementation should meet all of the following criteria.

  Documentation -

Every aspect of the Implementation is documented.  Documentation extends all the way up to senior management.  If the PLM Team were to leave, a new PLM Manager could take over by reading the documentation.

  Governance -

There is a live management connection between the PLM Team and the highest levels of the business. The Board actively directs the long-term development of PLM.

  Vision -

The Vision of the whole enterprise in its fully-completed future state is expressed in writing, and has been validated by the Board.  The Board expects year-on-year progress in PLM to achieve the stated Vision.

  Accuracy -

The underlying logic of the PLM setup is based on accurate, neutral PLM theory and principles.  The logic is discussed, diagrammed and documented before any project activity starts.

& Understanding

Everybody within the enterprise understands and supports PLM, and knows how their work interacts with the PLM environment.

  Permeation -

The most advanced level of PLM implementation within the enterprise is implemented, at this same high level, right across the entire extended enterprise.

  Financial Performance -

The entire PLM implementation is based on detailed quantified metrics that show the ROI of each project in clear financial terms.  Integration with company financial systems is such that the benefits of PLM can be seen from the company accounts.

  Traction -

PLM is embedded so deeply and effectively within the operations of the company that any improvement in PLM results in a matching demonstrable improvement in the business.

  Value Chain -

PLM integrates fully with the PLM environments of every Customer and every Supplier in the Value Chain, subject only to the constraints of Intellectual Property and commercial sensitivity.

  Lifecycle -

PLM applies fully along the entire stage of the product lifecycle, with closed-loop feedback and kaizen.

  Best Practice -

The PLM Team clearly understands and applies the Best Practice for every PLM activity, and keeps updated as these evolve.

  Quality -

PLM is fully integrated with the company's Total Quality programme. Quality escapes are identified and resolved by PLM, and Quality feedback along the lifecycle is used to improve the PLM setup.  The PLM initiative itself is run in line with Quality requirements.

  Maturity -

The PLM Team maintains detailed assessments of the Maturity of all aspects of the PLM environment.  These are regularly compared against the definition of Full PLM Maturity that the company is working towards.

& Planning

The PLM Team maintains a comprehensive Roadmap of the possible ways forward, supported by short-, medium- and long-term plans that show how everything will be achieved.

  Benchmarking -

The PLM Team cross-checks its methods and performance by means of formal Benchmarks with other similar enterprises.  Benchmark results are used to update metrics and techniques as part of the sharing of best practices with benchmarking partners.


Configuration policies and rules are comprehensive, clearly defined, and adhered to.  There is no ad-hoc or unmonitored releasing anywhere in the enterprise.  The PLM Implementation itself is subject to revision change as new developments are actioned.

  Data Management -

All members of the PLM Team are trained in data management.  The heterogeneous PLM system is configured and managed to protect users from causing, or being affected by, data management problems. Senior management is aware of data management issues and supports projects to resolve them.

  Legacy Systems -

Legacy systems are mapped, and there is an optimum balance between re-platforming and legacy maintenance.  Integration of systems is managed by a mixture of process, discipline, documentation and technical applications, that optimises the user experience and facilitates the absorption of mergers and acquisitions.


PLM and ERP form what is in effect a single product development, management, execution and support platform on heterogeneous systems.  The PLM and ERP teams are integrated and work as one. Other manufacturing systems are applied as part of the single platform.

  Systems Integration -

IT platforms and applications are managed by skilled specialists for the benefit of the PLM environment.  Users are not hampered, restricted or delayed for IT reasons.  The IT infrastructure is upgraded optimally to keep close to the leading edge without destabilising the real work.

  Disaster Recovery -

The PLM technical and IT environments are fully compliant with the company's Disaster Recovery policy, and can recover from any likely or foreseeable disaster scenario.

  Digital Transformation -

PLM underpins and is fully embedded within the company's Digital Transformation initiative, so that "connecting everything" enhances PLM performance rather than diffuses it.

  Training -

Everybody in the worldwide organisation who needs to be trained in PLM, is trained in PLM.  The depth and frequency of the training is appropriate for role.  Training has eliminated lack of knowledge and unwillingness to act.

  Staff Development -

Everyone in the PLM Team is on a planned career path that leads to the highest levels of management.  Trainees are inducted and coached according to a defined and published syllabus.  Working in PLM is seen as a fast track way to gain extensive business experience.


Related Pages


Responding to the Challenge


The definitions of the Challenge items are concise, but when applied exactly as written they are very demanding targets.  When using them as a checklist you should be honest - would an impartial third party observer agree with your opinion on each one?

You can then respond at one of 4 levels:-

  • Print the criteria, write down your findings, and make some adustments to your PLM approach;
  • Use PLMIG toolsets with Q&A support to address the most important or urgent issues;
  • Action a Recovery and Refocus Programme;
  • Pursue the Excellence via the Class A PLM Programme.

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

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