PDM Managers' meeting

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John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                                         September 14, 2009 - Vol12 #13

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PDM: Managers' Meeting

by Roger Tempest

As we know, PDM is a very complex subject. So complex, that despite years of (often painful) experience within user companies, no-one has yet brought together an agreed body of knowledge about it.

This is a lost opportunity because, collectively, we know a great deal about PDM. There are people reading this article who have been working "at the sharp end" for a long time, devising solutions to the problems of configuration, structure, data management and systems integration that have significantly improved the ability of their companies to create products. In each case, they have had to work out the theory and practicalities for themselves. Every PDM team is an "island of expertise", with no practical means of linking with other groups in any kind of detail.

As discussed in the previous issue of 2PLM, the challenge is to focus attention back onto PDM, and to do something about formalising the vast amount of technical expertise that PDM specialists have gained. There needs to be some way for PDM managers to share their detailed knowledge with each other, and save the overhead of everyone having to develop their implementations from first principles.

One way forward would be to hold a PDM Manager's Meeting, so that the people who really know the subject can exhange ideas. However, sharing PDM knowledge is not the same as sharing PLM knowledge. With PDM you are working with large amounts of material, organised in structures that you are familiar with, but other people would take time to understand. The meeting would need to have a structured format so that the time is used constructively, and an agenda that leads to new deliverable material that the participants can take back with them.

The PLMIG PLM User Forum in November 2008 showed the value of this kind of extended meeting, in an environment in which the subject experts (who, in this case, would be the PDM managers) can find their own common ground, and then work together to find answers to the questions that they feel are most important.

The purpose of this article, therefore, is to ask PDM managers if they would like to meet each other in this way. If it is to happen, then the format, agenda and location need to be decided. The two main possibilities are:-
  • a 2-day meeting at which the participants exchange ideas and set the "ground rules" for PDM
  • a 3-day workshop focused on a particular subject, to formalise a new methodology or toolkit

The benefits of the 2-day format are that it is easier to arrange the time to attend, and there can be a rapid (and probably long overdue) exchange of ideas. The advantage of the 3-day format is that subjects can be worked on in much more depth, and a new deliverable would be generated that can be used by the participants in their own PDM implementations. The first meeting could be held in northern Europe with a second in the USA, and others following on demand to form a series.

If this is ever to happen, then we need your feedback. Is this a good idea? Which format would be better? What issues should be on the agenda? Where should the meeting be located? If you let me know your views on the link below, then I will report back in the next issue of 2PLM.

Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. You can send your comments or input via pdm_formalisation@plmig.com








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