No one wants to buy PLM...Part 4 of an infinite series

I am a PLM sales person…and the title of this blog entry may imply that I am whining about my job. While I am not immune to the occasional emotional episode / mild tantrum, the title of this blog entry has a purpose. I assure you that this purpose has nothing to do with my emotional state.

Companies that contact InFlow are generally not looking to buy a PLM solution. Rather, they are looking to solve complex issues in their organization. Often times, the connection between the issue and the definition of PLM is somewhat cloudy. Therefore, my goal in this series is to discuss some of these challenges that InFlow has addressed with PLM and some of the measurable success that our customers have achieved.


“Getting the right info…to the right people…at the right time”

It is a wonder that engineers don’t wear shoulder pads to work.

This statement has nothing to do with the dangerous nature of product development or the other cool thoughts that come to mind when considering shoulder pad imagery (Note to self: set TIVO for the NFL draft on Sunday).

Engineers are constantly tapped on the shoulder at work, both literally and via electronic forms of tappery: purchasing asking for a PDF to send out to a vendor for a quote, sales requiring an ISO view to share with a prospect, marketing looking for images for the catalog, manufacturing confirming that they have the correct revision, etc.

In many ways, traditional PDM systems have caused a lot of this tapping: The software keeps all non-engineers locked out for security reasons OR licenses are just too expensive to roll out the rest of the organization. Therefore, those outside of engineering are forced to continue tapping on shoulders.

One of InFlow’s customers called after extensive shoulder surgery. This particular customer has nearly 1000 employees in 3 locations, and they had gone through several pilot programs to test 3D viewing technology. They found several holes in these solutions.

First, they were too expensive to roll out to everyone in the organization. At an average cost of $400 – $1500 per floating license, the company would have had to invest a minimum of $40,000 in software to obtain a bare minimum number of licenses to support their user base. Second, all of the 3D viewers were too complex for what most people needed: a 2D drawing to review, email, or print. Lastly, the 3D viewers often require a better graphics card than many users had on their current computers in order to work effectively.

Between pilots, the company had one person that was responsible for document control, and he would send out an average of 7 copies of each print. This added up to a lot of wasted paper and a lot of confusion (for example, which copy of this drawing is latest version?).

InFlow recommended that the customer add Connexus to its current SmarTeam PLM system. Connexus serves as the bulk printing, publishing, and data distribution solution for all company employees that do not have access to PDM. Connexus is set up to automatically generate a PDF file upon a file’s release in PDM. No matter which location the employee resides, s/he can search for a drawing, ECO packet, or spec sheet on the web, then simply choose to view it, print it, or email it. Each item is time and date stamped to coincide with the company’s ISO standards. Best of all…Connexus does not require a license any user licenses. Therefore, it was economical to roll out to the enterprise.

In the 2 years since InFlow’s customer rolled out Connexus, they have seen a 40% increase in the availability of prints, a 58% decrease in the paper wasted on the shop floor, and increased employee satisfaction based on the availability of data…and their collective shoulder is making a full recovery from the incessant tapping that it had endured for years.

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