How did you get into PLM?
I am connected with hundreds of people on LinkedIn who have “PLM” in their job description. In terms of education PLM is very new. I don’t think there was any...
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I am connected with hundreds of people on LinkedIn who have “PLM” in their job description. In terms of education PLM is very new. I don’t think there was any engineering school teaching PLM when I was studying. I wonder how people got into it. Here’s my short story of how I got into PLM.
I believe it all started in my engineering school. I became president of the school’s junior enterprise and the management team couldn’t stay more than a year. We didn’t have a software to support our sales and project execution. It was 2004, we didn’t know much about CRM and Microsoft project was too complex for our needs. Therefore I built a solution in PHP. The key reason I built it was to make sure processes would be kept through the years. They could change but at least it was easier to communicate our processes from one year to another.
After school I got my first job as a process engineer at an OCXO manufacturers. I was responsible for the electronic assembly process (great job by the way!). I quickly missed a support for all the processes I was supervising. Engineering had some sort of design tools (mixed with a lot of Excel) and Production had an ERP/MRP. Once again I quickly developed a PHP application to share logistic, processes and performance status with our offshore subcontractors.
After I left the company I got into an SAP consulting job before I got back to the industry as a process engineer on inertial navigation unit for the defense industry (tank, cannon, aircraft, submarines,…). In this company we were still signing documents by hand. I remember a document I made and submitted for signature with 6 or 7 people required to sign it !!! And the 5th reviewer required changes! But it wasn’t the moment I looked for PLM.
One day, a program manager, 3 levels above me, came to see my office neighbor. “Hey Stéphane, what software did we have in product X we shipped to country Y?”. And Stéphane opened an excel file where As-Delivered BOM were drawn. If Stéphane has an accident, or his computer breaks down, we have no way to retrieve this information. I’m also 99% sure that if someone has made an upgrade to the software no-one would have told Stéphane so that he can update his spreadsheet.
That’s when I started looking for something that could help and found that PLM was the best solution.
I think there are two main entrance in the world of PLM. I believe most of new PLM consultants have been trained and hired to help implementing large systems from large vendors. It’s a bit like SAP & Oracle ERP consultants 15 years ago. The other way to enter PLM is from the digital thread perspective. My first concern was not to sync a BOM with a cad system. I wanted to connect the dots, make sure the information that needed to be connected and updated could be supported. My concern was configuration management across business processes.
I started a PLM consulting company in 2009 and I still am in the digital thread business by managing Ganister.
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