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Here’s a PLM Pop Quiz, Hotshot

In the movie Speed, the evil villain (played by Dennis Hopper) says to Keanu Reeves, “Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”

That’s some bad movie dialogue, huh? Wouldn’t you like to say that to someone sometime—and get paid for it? Even better.

So if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to give it a try. Here goes:

“Pop quiz, product development companies. Someone in your supply chain team is using Excel spreadsheets to manage your product lifecycle management (PLM) processes. If you keep using spreadsheets, then version control errors are going to occur, leading to scrap, rework and shipping delays. If this happens, your company SMT lines could go down or could go bankrupt. What are you going to do? What are you going to do, man?!”

I added the word “man” for dramatic effect. But speaking of pop quizzes, here’s a quiz to determine your product lifecycle management knowledge. So go ahead, hotshot, take the quiz…and make my day (“make my day” is a Clint Eastwood quote from the movie Dirty Harry).

Please select all that apply, answers will be provided at the bottom:

1. When disruptive change happens in the market what should you NOT do?

a) Write a deviation for a period of disruption

b) Pivot and change product design directions

c) Turn radical change into a competitive advantage

d) Blame your boss

e) Ignore it

2. Having a component database integrated into your product platform eliminates which problem?

a) Part obsolescence

b) Bogus parts

c) Non-compliant parts

d) Counterfeit parts

e) All of the above

3. What of the following is an example of a corrective action request? 

a. CARs

b. NCMRs

c. 8D

d. SCARs

e. all of the above

4. PLM includes which of the timelines for delivering meaningful ROI? 

a. Immediately defined by infrastructure savings

b. 1st year with improvement in operating metrics

c. 3-5 years signified by strategic competitiveness

d. All of the above

5. Why are more CFOs investing in cloud-based PLM systems

a. Total cost of ownership

b. To avoid the initial high cost of on-premises

c. Opportunity costs

d. It’s cool

e. It’s easy

f. All of the above

g. a-b

6. Unlike enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, a PLM system does not offer CFOs an ROI:

a. True

b. False

7. Today strategic minded CFOs are now asking these questions:

a) “What dominant new product introduction (NPI) challenges are restricting business growth?”

b) “What manufacturing tools can help overcome these obstacles?”

c) “What emerging supply chain business trends risk impeding our success and how can finance help out?”

d) All of the above

e) None

8. What quality best practices should companies not follow? 

a. Processes should complement each other

b. Always invest in best of breed siloed systems

c. Compliance is part of the culture

d. Ongoing, global monitoring of risks

9. When quality is embedded within a PLM-based product development platform, what benefits can NOT be expected?

a) Reduction of the cost of quality by up to 3X

b) A 25% increase in operating margin and a 29% reduction in failure costs

c) A reduction of the cost of poor quality (COPQ), which increase earnings 10 to 15%

d) Shipping delays increase by 33%

You can check the answers below if you feel lucky. “Well, do you…punk?” (hey, that’s another Clint Eastwood “Dirty Harry” quote). If you answered any one of these questions correctly, incorrectly, or chose not to respond, then you need Arena’s all-in-one product development platform. Call or email us today to learn more. For those of you still using Excel for complex electronics BOMs with global supply chains where quality is important, we can also introduce you to a self-help group for technology deniers. You can reach us at (650) 513-3548 or [email protected].



1. (d and e) 2. (e) 3. (e) 4. (d) 5. (f) 6. (b.) 7. (d) 8. (b) 9. (d)