During a recent webinar titled Realizing Product Lifecycle Management on a global scale, Selerant’s Michael Frankel had an in-depth conversation with the Director of R&D shared capabilities for one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, currently midway through a global implementation of Devex PLM.
Attendees from the industry chimed in with specific questions about what the rollout of Devex has meant for the company and here’s what the director and Michael had to say:
Portfolio management seems like stage-gate—have you seen a material benefit from having that in the same system as development and specs?
I think part of the benefit of the tool is to bring your process into it. Certainly lots of companies are using stage-gate. You also need to look at what your company has chosen and do some evaluation of systems, how they connect, and how it works. You can bring a lot of rigor once you have this tool, you need to consider what level of rigor works for you and what approach you want to take—stage-gate or other approval processes—to try and fit your needs for your business.
Stage-gate is certainly in Devex PLM, it’s built in. When you launch a project, the first order of business is to affect the stage-gate because the stage-gate has within it a workflow. That’ll carry within forward from start to end.
What product portfolio management does is it takes the whole process further; it enables you to take products and align elements of ideation, elements of P&L, and analytics. Where stage-gate will help you on the end-to-end of creating a process, product portfolio management helps you analyze which products to keep and omit mid-flight. What are the deterministic trends and analytics that they tell you about in comparing them through a designated hurdle rate? That’s a complete enhancement to the tools.
Both are very important. Product portfolio management is a new and an emerging area.
How does Selerant make sure everyone is using the most updated version of a document? Often people have a PDF copy of a spec and it gets forwarded by emails; they might forget to check for the latest version.
You always want to make sure the data is correct. What we understand from the tool is that you can absolutely know at what date and what place a spec was approved. You can therefor make it process honoring; it gives you confidence that you have the latest version of the spec. You know where to look for it, it’s in the tool. It’ll be updated if we’re all working professionally.
Some of it is process. A PLM system with tight versioning control is of paramount importance. In Devex, once you have a finished spec, it’s locked down. There’s a total audit trail that’s built around it.
You can easily get reports from the tool on the specs and compare it to other data sources you have. You have tools to look at the data and make sure you have accurate data that you didn’t have before.
How have you enforced master data upkeep post-implementation to make sure all objects and specs are fully owned and maintained by functional areas?
It’s partnership with functional areas. We’re on a journey. We’re working with quality, regulatory, and with different colleagues to understand the tool’s functionality.
How are we doing it today? Today we don’t have a tool like this. We know we’re better, but we’re going to have to work at getting that level-off. We want to be almost perfect, confident that we have the right data. It’s a journey. It’s about teamwork with Selerant and internal partners. Governance is a big part of this, that’s what we’re trying to build.