Implementing PLM to a Multi Business Model Environment
The most complex PLM implementations are the ones where one and the same PLM platform needs to support:
- Multiple business models simultaneously e.g. in different business units or locations. One and the same product can be sold has a fixed standard product, it can be sold as configure to order product, and it can be also customized to a specific customer need.
- Product in product relationships i.e., a product sold to external customers is used as a module in another “larger” product by another business unit.
- Products are both global and local simultaneously. One and the same product can be sold globally and simultaneously it can be localized as a local variant for specific market.
- Multi CAD / ERP / CPQ approach, where same design entities will be used in multiple CAD systems and will be sold and delivered using multiple CPQ / ERP systems
In such complex PLM environments, the primary target should be establishing efficient and optimized configure to order process, where product lifecycle management implementation is designed to support seamlessly the CTO business model. It is also essential to define and agree the primary IT platforms among the CAD and CPQ systems used.
Once the implementation is successfully supporting the CTO business model, it is more straight forward to create fixed variants out of the configurable products to be sold as standard products. It is also rather simple to establish a good support for fully custom processes.
Actually, in many cases the CTO process can be used as a 80% ready starting point for ETO customizations. When the product architecture and PLM / CAD set-up has been designed well, ETO delivery specific 3D CAD models can be configured based on the eBOM, the custom ETO process will benefit tremendously (engineering hrs. saving) from preconfigured 3D models and eBOM’s can be further modified to meet a specific customer need.
This type of multi-business model, product-in-product, multi IT-platform set-up is very demanding when looking it from the product management and product ownership perspective. In too many cases the major implementation success blocker is not the complex product definition, process or IT set-up but rather the internal cost / revenue split barrier. These “management” borders facilitate the fragmented silo approach more than cross border product lifecycle business optimization and therefore are also significant blockers for successful PLM implementations.