One of the 10 KPI’s they identified was their engineering change process. They measured time spent from the engineering change was requested to it was released, and furthermore the impact it had on the project execution schedules in their customer projects (The company is heavily engaged in project intensive industries).
All measurements were done on a monthly basis before and after the PLM platform went live.
Before the introduction of the platform it was largely a manual process where the project and product managers would gather and have so called “sign fests” where engineering changes was simply signed without much review since the magnitude of changes was staggering, and so they had to rely on the judgement of their junior managers. This sounds like a rather risky approach, but the fact was that the cost of not approving was far greater than just approving. Needless to say this manual process still took quite some time since the junior managers spent a lot of time evaluating before submitting to the “sign fest”.
After the introduction of the PLM platform, they continued measuring. Top management was still eager to get reports on all the KPI’s, but then they started to notice something. The engineering change process showed a relatively modest drop in time spent globally in the beginning, but the calculation of impact on time and money saved in the projects showed impressive results. As the organization got more and more familiar with the new engineering change process, the time spent from change request to release fell rapidly, and the result in ongoing customer projects was even greater.
After less than a year they concluded that the improvements on throughput of Engineering Changes and time spent on them alone paid for the entire project.
In my view, yes there are a lot of important benefits like “increased collaboration” using a PLM platform that are hard to measure, but a lot of times it makes even more sense to measure smaller but more identifiable benefits and then trace the impact they have further down the lifecycle of the product.
The header image used in this post is by Andrewgenn and purchased at dreamstime.com