7 Steps to a Pain-Free PLM Implementation

Here are 7 seemingly simple steps that, when followed in the correct order, can help ensure you or your organization will have a successful PLM Implementation. If you have been in the industry long enough, you will know that there is no such thing as a perfect implementation. But, by knowing how to structure your project and involve the right people, you can achieve success and ultimately realize the true value of your new technology.

1: Open discussion among stakeholders: This foundation sets the stage for a successful deployment. At a minimum, three objectives should act as a foundation for every PLM implementation.

  • Identify a goal or target. This step will ensure that everyone involved has an understanding of the project scope, the end goal, long-term expectations, and how the decision will impact the organization.
  • Form a project budget. The budget can be the hardest to agree on because cost is a factor in every project.
  • Define a time frame. Identifying a realistic time frame is what ensures you stay on track and within budget.

2: Project Assessment and Kickoff:

  • Project Assessment: This often-overlooked step is vital to understanding the terms of a project. Clearly define what problems are being solved. Define metrics that will be used to measure success. Take time to step back and look before you leap.
  • Have a formal kickoff meeting: User involvement is key to a successful project. The sooner you make users aware of the project parameters, the more included they will feel and more willing to accept change when the time comes. A one-hour project kickoff meeting is a good place to introduce your company’s plans to the user base.

3: Solution Definition: Typically driven by the results of your assessment; this is one of the most important technical steps of a project. This is where you match the functionally of a PLM system to the project goals and identify any gaps in OOTB configuration. Sometimes this process is aided by sitting down with a company like EAC to vet out any possible gaps.

4: Solution Configuration: At this stage, the PLM system is configured to suit the project goals and solution definition. This is where companies like EAC can take the reins and complete all necessary technical tasks, including but not limited to, all installation and configurations of needed modules and add-ons.

5: Testing and Validation: This step should include a detailed walk through of day-to-day activities within the PLM system and should involve a cross-functional validation/testing team. Take this step seriously. Lack of testing can result in poor user experience and adoption. Identify tweaks then retest until all parties are comfortable with the PLM functionality.

6: Product Configuration: This is often called the “go-live” event and involves the execution and implementation of everything defined up to this point. All core team members should have signed off on the final configuration and implementation plan.

7: Training and Mentoring: While this topic is listed last, training and mentoring should run parallel with your go-live event. Typically, user training is done prior to the go-live event, but not so early that the users forget what they learned by the time they get access to the new system. We have found that the most successful time for this training is during the down-time in the production implementation phase of the project.