Describing Cultural Change during PLM Deployment by S-Curves

16/11/2012 20:21

Following Robert Gilman S-curves are important in biologic science and describe change processes. He uses the forest as an example for an biological system: After clear cut the forest starts to come back. Eco system biomass increases over time following this kind of S-curve. There is an important midpoint of the S-curve, at which the characteristic of the forest changes. Before the midpoint there are only a few species: pioneer species are dominating. After the midpoint resources become scarcer: succession species are dominating.

The characteristics of the forest before the midpoint is described by:

  • Lots of resources
  • Little diversity
  • Little interaction
  • Growth is the imperative
The characteristics of the forest behind the midpoint is described by:
  • Efficiency is the imperative
  • Resources thoroughly used .. and reused
  • Lots of diversity with many niches
  • Lots of collaboration

Following a diagram presented in Robert Gilman's video.

In looking to our PLM Deployment we experience a similar change process. Aren't we just passing the midpoint?

Until several weeks ago only a few people in the organization - following Gilman let's call them pioneers - were really using the PLM system and the new PLM methodology. Having the deployment organization in place, the pioneers could easily request training for themselves and whenever they got stuck, they could get support and additional training. Pioneers are quite familiar in using software tools and are in general open to changes. They are looking for new ways to perform their work in a more effective way. But they are somehow isolated. Most of their colleagues are not using the system and reluctant to change. The pioneers maintain content in the system they are not responsible for. They target at least in their area for a kind of completeness. For them it is important to show to all the other colleagues: if everybody would use the system in a collaborative way, then our life could get easy. They try to get as much content in the system as possible.
Now the situation has changed. While setting up the deployment of SAP as a successor of our ERP system BPCS it has been decided to use the PLM system as the master system for the manufacturing BoM and document management for at least all active documents. ("Active" means all documents where the intellectual property is owned by the organization.) Many people of the organization want to have a license to use the PLM system. They request for training, but the resources to execute training sessions are limited. Workshops to set up naming conventions for effective searches are organized and the organization strongly requests for global procedures being implemented in user friendly work flows. The organization no longer perceives PLM as a system used for document storage in product development, but as a support of the extended enterprise.