Should People in Companies applying PLM learn about the Product Lifecycle?
This post asks you a question, but first let's look at the results of two recent posts that asked similar questions.
A November 16 postasked "Should students learn about the Product Lifecycle?" It listed five product lifecycle phases: Ideation; Definition; Realisation; Support of Use; Retirement and Recycling. Everyone who responded to this post agreed that all students with courses that relate to products should learn about the product lifecycle at Master level. Some people even suggested such learning should start earlier.
A November 30 postasked "Should PLM System Integrators learn about the Product Lifecycle?" This post didn't define the term System Integrator. Some readers took the term to mean an individual who brings various systems and components together to create a higher-level system. Others took it to mean a company that focuses on creating and integrating such systems and components.
Without a clear definition of the term System Integrator, there was a wide range of responses to the question. At one extreme, some readers understood a "PLM System Integrator" to be a grizzled PLM industry veteran, a highly knowledgeable person who has worked on PLM implementation projects for at least 20 years and, as a result, knows everything. On that basis, these readers replied that PLM System Integrators don't need to learn about the product lifecycle.
At the other extreme, some readers understood a "PLM System Integrator" to be a large company. They reckoned that, in that large company, about 20% of people would have experience of working in manufacturing companies and would work on customer sites. These people would have titles such as PLM Solution Architect, PLM Business Process Consultant and Senior PLM Project Manager. The other 80% of people in the "PLM System Integrator" company would be software developers working in the company's back office or at home. Many would have a recent Bachelor degree in Computer Science or Information Technology. In their daily work, they would correct errors, migrate computer systems and data, develop interfaces between systems, develop workflows, develop new system functions, etc. Readers suggested the 80% should learn about the product lifecycle as it would allow them to understand better the context for their daily work and would help them progress in their careers. And the other 20% should learn about the product lifecycle as it would help them work with their customers on recently emerging technologies and business needs.
So, those were the results from the previous posts. In this post though, the question is "Should People in Companies applying PLM learn about the Product Lifecycle?" There seem to be different approaches here.
On one hand, many manufacturing companies applying PLM say they hire a person with specific skills and experience to do a specific job. If a particular job needs knowledge about the product lifecycle, then they'll hire someone with that knowledge. So, logically, their people don't need to learn about the product lifecycle. Those who need that knowledge already have it. And anyway, everyone in the company is 100% busy, so there's no time available for training. And it's a manufacturing company, not a school where people come to learn on the job and then quit to join a competitor.
On the other hand, some companies have found they've hired many people with great in-depth knowledge of the area they work in, but often these people don't know what happens in other areas of the company. With the result that, while the output of such people may be optimal as seen by their department (such as Engineering or CIO), people in other departments that make use of the output see it as sub-optimal. As a result, these companies see a need for a percentage of their people to learn more about the product lifecycle as that will make them more effective and/or productive.
What do you think? From your experience, is it useful for people in companies applying PLM to learn about the product lifecycle? In your view, what percentage of people in a manufacturing company should learn about the product lifecycle? 0%, as they all know what they need to know? Or 25%? Or 50%? Or 75%? Or 100%?