How Do You Get Senior Management Buy-in

Top down support is vital to driving a PLM strategy

We recently talked to an individual in a mid-management position who is seeing the inefficiencies caused by inadequate document management and change controls.  He’s on the hook for a portion of these processes, but relies on others to participate, and that is not happening.

He asked, “Can PLM help us solve these issues?” 

The short answer is “yes and no.”  Yes, PLM is the vehicle to establish repeatable processes.  Still, senior management support is critical.  Without executive sponsorship, a PLM strategy is unlikely to succeed.

PLM inherently touches multiple departments and areas of responsibility.  It can start at sales, but at a minimum will involve engineering, planning, production and segments of manufacturing.  If your responsibilities are in engineering, then getting other departments to buy-in can be challenging.  Executive sponsorship cuts across these boundaries.

So, the real question is “how do I get the bosses to buy-in?”  The short answer is, in part, by identifying the business values at the P&L level.

PLM values can be tied to one or all of three areas on the P&L: revenues, cost of goods sold (CoGs) and overhead.  Thus, doing more for less will most likely be found in CoGs and overhead.

So, identifying inefficiencies in these two profit centers is the place to start.  The value proposition might be as simple as stating, “a repeatable change control process will cut CoGs by 3% in the first year.” 

We would love to hear from you – and to share with others – the successful approaches you may have taken that broke the logjam.

By Martin van der Roest