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There are many things to be scared of this Halloween...implementing PLM shouldn't be one of them

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A prevailing attitude among organizations that are reluctant to change is: “That’s the way we’ve been doing it for years and it works just fine!” For many manufacturers, when it comes to their product data management procedures, it’s more likely to be: “That’s the way we’ve been doing it for years and we know there are issues…but we’re willing to deal with those issues.” As the breadth and complexity of their product data grows, though, traditional “homegrown” ways of managing this valuable information may no longer be adequate.

One solution to this data management dilemma lies in PLM (product lifecycle management). PLM can be defined as the people, processes and tools used to manage a product and the product record from concept through design, development and production.

To help relieve some of the concern that organizations may have about implementing a new system or establishing new procedures, Arena Solutions recently published an article with six tips to help ensure a smooth and successful PLM implementation. This step-by-step approach shows how to think about PLM implementation as an achievable task that can be accomplished effectively and successfully.

Briefly, here are the six tips for a smooth, successful PLM implementation:

1. Establish objectives & goals for your PLM strategy: What are your reasons for wanting to implement new processes? What changes would you like to see in the future? Defining this will give you a clearer understanding of what needs to be improved immediately and what can wait a little bit longer.  Establishing goals also allows you to measure your success.

2. Review your processes: What are you currently doing to manage your data?  Is it as effective as you want it to be? Which stakeholders will be affected by your changed processes? Reviewing your processes will allow you to determine your organizational needs, as well as set you up for a faster and smoother transition.

3. Review your data: Get your product data in order.  Remove, archive or cleanse any pieces of data that need it.  Then, when you make the switch to a new PLM system, your transferred data will be clean and accurate.

4. Obtain organizational & executive buy-in: For a new PLM software system to be effective, everyone (including executive management) must be on board.  Educate your team on how the system works and how it can benefit your organization as a whole.

5. Work from a project plan & assign a project lead: Having a well-structured plan and designated leader can help you stay on track and achieve your business goals.

6. Train people on the new processes early: Transitioning to and using PLM software can feel like a big step.  Training and education will help employees be committed to the new system.

Having a well-implemented PLM system helps companies streamline their product development processes and gain confidence that they’re working with clean and validated data. For more detailed recommendations on how to successfully implement PLM, read the full article on the Arena website.

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