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PLM Boot Camp: Day One


The online educational event, The PLM Boot Camp ’09, kicked off today. Laura McCann, from Zweave, blogs on the virtual conference’s first day of speaker sessions and activities…

The morning started with a powerful Keynote from Denise Seegal, Past CEO of Nautica.  The session title – From paralysis to prosperity with PLM – thriving with PLM Presentation offered great insights into how a global executive thinks of IT projects. You won’t see this kind of information anywhere else. Denise is candid and offers insights like she is your close friend! Some out take clips will be on you tube next week so stay tuned for the links. Key ideas included:

• The CEO must endorse the technology selected and processes

• Change Management needs to be communicated over and over

Denise’s advice was on target:

Think global; Benefits must be articulated up front; Keep on the cutting edge because technology is fast and keeps changing so be progressive; The garment industry has been slow to adopt technology, but explore new media and new ways to communicate; Ecommerce and social networking will grow in the work force rapidly and change how your people work; Keep in mind how PLM will financially reduce costs, create efficiencies;

And finally, and we SO agree with this message: 

“Is the user happy?”  With the advice: “Don’t build cumbersome unfriendly technology”.

The next two sessions were presented by Nancy Winslow from TBC Unlimited. TBC is a Boot Camp Platinum Sponsor and one of the leading PLM consultancies in RFA PLM. The Session titled ” The Thinking Executives’ Guide to a better PLM Implementation: Develop a PLM Strategy and reach your PLM goals” tied in nicely with Denise’s Kick off. It provided the step by step on how to take a project and get it on track. The first two sessions brought home that the CEO needs to own the PLM initiative and get their team on board to be successful and that being prepared, organized and clear about objectives is necessary to be successful. Nancy has a background in PLM stemming from years in the industry at Gap, Polo and working with leading PDM and PLM solution providers. Nancy demonstrated in these two sessions her methodical thinking and expertise in RFA PLM.

In her second session ” The Art of PLM Leadership – Lessons from the Executive Suite to the Corner Office” we learned that by embracing project management as a best practice and setting up a PLM Project management office and team your PLM project will have its best chance for success. Nancy shares that the selection and development of the PLM project team will make you or break you.  It’s all about people, right?! Principles, methodologies, techniques, and tools to effectively plan, design, monitor, and manage your PLM project and get your talent enrolled were presented. Nancy’s sessions are great to share with your team to get them on the same page and her slides are available for download to attendees.

Nicholas Van Weerdenburg, A leading Implementation Consultant at BM Technology who has worked on large scale PLM projects shared his PLM ROI Secrets so companies can learn how to save by spending. Nicholas offered great take away about how to avoid train wrecks with your PLM approach. He says that putting your process before the solution is a myth and needs to be debunked. Processes change and technology offers the guideline for enabling process improvements. Nicholas shared a process map that looked overwhelming and explained that it is a good view of the process but not “street level” and shared a subway map and then down another step to the user level.  The complexity is localized and now more manageable. Nicholas states: “Give users what they need and link them on goal centered task and information flow”. This is a great perspective on how to simplify without losing the detail. Nick shared all the different ROI methodologies Micro level, Macro level, Short ROI and believes that 5 metrics is a good place to get started and will keep it simple. If you are working on ROI for your PLM project contact Nick to get insights.

So far the speakers all seem aligned. PLM Buyers need to be prepared, educated and knowledgeable about their business but also about managing IT projects. Implementing a PLM system isn’t just about installing a piece of software. It is an enterprise-wide solution that needs resources, training, process rationalization and internal communications. It also needs 100% of your commitment and a clear business case.

Mark Harrop Speaker Session

“So you are going to buy a PLM solution? How to develop a PLM RFP – get your questions answered before it’s too late!” was presented by Mark Harrop, from PDP Ltd (Product Development Partnership), a UK based consultancy. With 35 years of experience within the Manufacturing, Retail, Footwear and Apparel industry including involvement in the creation of the first ever PDM system, Mark has a proven record of implementing Apparel PDM/CPM/PLM solutions to over 150+ companies to date. With a thorough understanding of the abilities of most of the world’s leading PLM providers via completed solution benchmarks and work experience, Mark has put his unrivalled expert knowledge into practice, in 2007 when founding PDP Limited and WhichPLM.com. On the site they share the results of their work compiling the “Mother of all RFI” for RFA PLM. PLM vendors have undergone the benchmarking and the results are on their site at https://www.whichplm.com//plm-suppliers/. Nine vendors have submitted to their rigorous benchmarking.  A total of twenty are promised by next year. If you really want to know the who and the what of PLM Vendors, PDP is a no-nonsense source of the truth- nothing but the truth. Mark in true British form sips bottled water (he assures us) and later tea during his session because after all you can’t miss tea time even when discussing PLM!

Our Committee decided that the next session was a must and who better to deliver a session on image management then Dwane Ferry, VP Product Development at e-Spec.  In this session titled “Better design with an image management strategy for PLM and beyond”, Dwane who has over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing digital image workflow shares best practices for RFA companies who have image intense business processes. Dwane notes that digital image distribution practices are still pretty ineffective across the industry with shipping CD’s and email as the main strategy for most organizations. All the data versioning and copying of so many files creates confusion. PLM is a great way to solve this but beware of which PLM system you use. Some only display PDF’s or JPEGs and not native file formats. We loved Dwane’s explanation of a directory tree and filing practices. We have all lived it and Dwane reminds us of the pain. Dwane talks about the “Metadata Method”..or the “Self Aware Document” heard of it? I can’t tell you any more- sign up and check it out for yourself.

Day one is almost over and the last session is presented by David Buck, Zweave’s CTO. Zweave is also a platinum sponsor of the Boot Camp. “Look under the hood before you buy! A technical assessment guide to selecting and purchasing a PLM solution” gets into the different types of systems available from a technical, cost and implementation perspective. If you think all PLM systems are the same, look again! David gets under the hood and shares insights that technical team members will appreciate. David spent over 20 years in technology field working for Steve Jobs at Next Computers, Deloitte and IBM. David’s knowledge of PLM architecture and solutions is unique and allowed Zweave under his direction to win eight awards from the U.S Department of defense to build PLM solutions. Dave shares insights on technology architecture generations and how things are evolving in IT.

Speakers, exhibitors and the audience participated in public and private chats during the day and shared valuable observations with each other about PLM.

More information at: http://www.plmbootcamp.com/

Ben Hanson Ben Hanson is one of WhichPLM’s top contributors. Ben has worked for magazines, newspapers, local government agencies, multi-million pound conservation projects, museums and creative publications before his eventual migration to the Retail, Footwear and Apparel industry.Having previously served as WhichPLM’s Editor, Ben knows the WhichPLM style, and has been responsible for many of our on-the-ground reports and interviews over the last few years. With a background in literature, marketing and communications, Ben has more than a decade’s worth of experience, and is now viewed as one of the industry’s best-known writers.