How to Evaluate a PLM/PDM Provider

July 11, 2008
The company used a cross-brand, cross-discipline, cross-culture management team to evaluate its options.

Selecting a product lifecycle management/product data management solution to manage an organization as complex as the Volkswagen Group is no routine task. Just ask Volkswagen's Ing Oliver Riedel, who handles process integration and information management for VW's product development process. The German automotive giant, with brands that include Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda, took the following steps in its evaluation process (it ultimately selected Siemens PLM Software's Teamcenter solution):

  • Launched a cross-brand, cross-discipline, cross-culture management team.
  • Employed a very short, hands-on evaluation period.
  • Benchmarked based on commercial off-the-shelf software and real car data from actual development and production.
  • Made reference visits at both automotive OEMs and other manufacturing industries to elicit best practices.
  • Teamed up with former Volkswagen group internal PDM/PLM project leaders.
  • Created no detailed or long-term business plan, instead playing the "trust us" card with management. "You can play this card only once," Riedel cautions.
  • Called upon an experienced and independent partner.

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About the Author

Jill Jusko

Bio: Jill Jusko is executive editor for IndustryWeek. She has been writing about manufacturing operations leadership for more than 20 years. Her coverage spotlights companies that are in pursuit of world-class results in quality, productivity, cost and other benchmarks by implementing the latest continuous improvement and lean/Six-Sigma strategies. Jill also coordinates IndustryWeek’s Best Plants Awards Program, which annually salutes the leading manufacturing facilities in North America.

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