Midway through a three-year implementation of Devex PLM, one of the largest food manufacturers in the world is already seeing the benefits of centralizing new product development and introduction (NPDI).
“It’s a fun journey and I feel like we’re making good progress,” says the Director of R&D shared capabilities who is leading the transformation. “As a company, our goal is ambitious. To meet the needs of the world means we have to manage data around the world.”
The digital acceleration of the company’s R&D processes meant global teams could collaborate on projects and better serve customers. They’d also have a competitive advantage in delivering products with speed and agility while securing data and protecting IP.
“We’re bringing new ingredients to the market,” notes the Director. “We need a solution so our customers can meet their challenges.”
Getting to this point still required careful planning and some convincing. Here are some of the ways the company got buy-in for a new PLM system.
Have a clear vision for success
Every journey needs a starting place and a destination.
“I like to talk about product design,” the Director says, comparing their responsibilities to the Devex rollout. “It’s important that we have a clear vision for internal stakeholders so that they understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The company, which reports an annual revenue of $134 billion, relies on a clear philosophy to sustain its growth: to help our customers we must come up with new ideas and solve problems.
But continuing to meet and exceed that goal year over year means improving operational efficiencies and using the latest tools to empower users at a global scale.
To meet the changing needs of customers, the company recognized how a PLM solution could harmonize the formulation process, manage workflows, setup packaging needs, and serve as a single source of information.
It starts at the top
“I can give our leadership 5,000 reasons why we need a PLM, but I have to stick with the key points,” observes the Director. “It’s better for customers, it’s about managing our data, and accelerating product development to better accomplish our mission. We need the right tools.”
By engaging senior leadership through regular meetings and monthly updates, the R&D director has been able to evangelize for the value of a new PLM solution.
“Don’t underestimate communication in change management,” notes the Director. “We can show how a unified PLM allows us to engage different teams with data, fits customer concerns, and help operations and quality to take our data and move forward.”
It’s okay to stay focused
Once it was clear that a global PLM solution had momentum, the company then had to manage the excitement of what was possible.
“It’s hard to say no to people who are energized about their vision,” the director says. “That’s the key to success. Occasionally you have to tell someone their idea is out of scope or they’re encroaching on someone else’s responsibilities. You don’t want to over-design, you need to keep that global vision.”
One way the company has been able to careful navigate scope creep without quelling adoption is by staying focused on their initial journey, all the while absorbing the lessons of the implementation.
“Our goal is to fully implement Devex PLM in three years, which is hugely ambitious,” the Director says. “We’ve tried to structure it in a way that we think will get us there. We’re going to learn from each phase and try to accelerate a little bit into the next phase.”
Utilize a knowledgeable partner
By establishing a clear vision, earning buy-in, and carefully managing the scope of the project, the company will complete their journey.
But there’s one more secret to their success.
“Our partnership with Selerant has been a big part of overcoming hurdles,” the Director says. “We can lean on them and discover how they’ve dealt with implementation in the past.”
As the company gains confidence in how they use Devex, meet implementation goals, and move forward towards their vision of a unified PLM environment, they are also working with Selerant to build new skillsets and get better at serving customers.
“It’s a journey,” the Director says. “It’s about teamwork with Selerant and our internal partners.”