Customer Case Study: When Rolling out PLM Globally, Focus on People Over Processes


One of Selerant’s most recent global product lifecycle management customers can trace its history 150 years into the past. At the 2019 Selerant User Conference in San Diego, the company’s R&D director shared the vision for the next 150 years by outlining their PLM rollout strategy.

This particular company is one of the largest privately held corporations in the US, but they couldn’t rely on what got them here to move them forward. Today’s business climate looks nothing like it did 20 years ago, let alone a century past.

Today, product growth must be managed in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way. In recognition of that responsibility—and the opportunity that comes with it—this company’s CEO announced a major change in their operating model. Rather than the current distributed model, the company would transition to an integrated operating model. No longer would its many global locations operate independently of one another. Instead, the company would transform global operations to give each region visibility into the operations of the rest of the company. Where they had all previously worked together from different corners of the world, going forward they would operate as one harmonized unit.

PLM would be foundational to the new business model. The company devoted 12 months of careful research to finding the right PLM software. Ultimately, Selerant’s Devex PLM was selected, and then they got to work.

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The advantages of an integrated model

This company identified the benefits that an integrated model would bring, using them as guideposts for the rollout:

  • Competitive advantage. Greater visibility into all aspects of the product lifecycle would help the company get products to market faster by eliminating blind spots and bottlenecks.
  • Data security, governance, and IP protection. A comprehensive data governance plan moving forward would be achievable when all data streams are interconnected and security protocols are standardized.
  • Efficient collaboration. Establishing a global product development platform for collaboration would channel the company’s legendary passion for detail into a source of greater productivity.
  • Shared best practices. Best practices would be much easier to share and standardize post-transformation.

Rallying the troops through education and transparency

By sharing the expected benefits, this company’s R&D leadership went to key product development centers to explain the value of their PLM selection and set expectations—which immediately generated excitement among employees. Still, it takes a village to execute, as the R&D director was quick to point out. The rollout plan was comprehensive, with a heavy emphasis on education, design workshops, pilot programs, and user acceptance testing. Transparency also played a key role in the rollout strategy. Progress was continually detailed out in the company newsletter, town halls, and regular presentations.

These tactics shared the overarching strategy behind the rollout. Over the next two years, this company will gradually replace the global patchwork of disparate tools, processes, and spreadsheets in favor of Devex’s unified, comprehensive PLM solution. By focusing on education and transparency, the company is putting its people at the center of their rollout strategy—a recognition that a successful rollout depends as much on behavioral change as it does on logistics.

Concluding his presentation at the 2019 Selerant User Conference, the R&D director noted that the Selerant team has been there at every step. “The partnership with the Selerant team has been very, very helpful. They’ve been helping us a lot; they’re very patient,” he told the audience.