Change Management: Who Needs It and Why It's So Important




Change is an essential part of the product development cycle.  Having a repeatable change process with enterprise visibility and traceability is key to success in that cycle. In preparation for next week’s “Steps to Digital Transformation: A PTC Virtual Conference”, we sat down with PLM Solution Director, Jeff Zemsky, to learn more about the importance of Change Management.

PTC: Hi Jeff. Tell us, what issues are organizations experiencing if they are not deploying Change Management?

Jeff: Customers who aren’t using change management are using paper or another manual and disconnected process, such as an email tool, to keep track of changes. But several issues arise with this:

  • First, a lack of a non-repeatable, non-consistent process: With a paper-based process, you don’t necessarily know who to bring certain information to – especially in an emergency. Sure, you can bring a problem to someone who may know someone who could probably handle it but you’ll never get consistent results because there is no concrete system in place.
  • The next challenge is lack of enterprise visibility: Let’s say a product design, with an important change, is sitting in a pile on someone’s desk or in someone’s inbox. Well, the rest of the enterprise – whether it’s engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, or product management – probably has no idea that there is a change or what might be going on within that change.
  • Then of course there is bringing a Digital Product Definition together to understand the holistic product design, which requires a lot of manual effort when information is scattered. It may require pulling together paper designs and printing out Excel files and email attachments. It really makes it more difficult to bring this Definition together to understand the full impact a change may have on the product.
  • And finally, it means manually having to remember and update results for a variety of downstream processes and systems.

PTC: What is Change Management and why is it so important for an effective Bill of Materials (BOM) Management strategy?

Jeff: When a company is trying to manage their BOM, they’re really trying to manage their product development process as it evolves over time. And, though engineers don’t like it admit it, change is a natural part of this process -- whether it’s finding a better solution or solving an issue that has cropped up, there are many reasons to expect change in the product development process. To effectively understand, manage, and deliver results of that, we need to have a consistent Change Management process that we can apply throughout the organization. To put simply, Change Management is understanding the changes to a product as it evolves and decisions are made, and having traceability to go back and, if need be, understand what decisions were made over time. 

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever that Change Management communicate across the enterprise. It used to be that engineering would make its revisions and throw them over the wall to the supply chain and manufacturing. But as we have to respond to the demands of faster time to market, lower costs, and reduced scrap, we want to be sure that the enterprise doesn’t just have the visibility, but the opportunity to help inform that technical and business justification for making the change. So we actually have the proper analysis and visibility for that – not just for engineering, but for the whole enterprise, as early as possible in the process.

PTC: What will your breakout session and demo during the PTC Virtual Conference focus on in regards to Change Management?

Jeff: The demonstration is meant to highlight three pillars of PTC’s Change Management vision: The ability to define a scalable change process that gives you a consistent and highly flexible process execution (whether you want a lightweight, simple process or a more robust process for a new product introduction or sustaining engineering changes). The next pillar is to highlight some of the productivity and execution improvements in the change process: Whether that’s something like simplifying the creation of a new change notice through a template so the right people are assigned to the right task, or delivering to the user all the work that they need in one central location so they can get their work done with minimal effort. The final pillar we’re trying to highlight is improving decision quality – making sure the information that the user needs to understand and decide on a change is available. 

Hear more from Jeff about Change Management at next week’s “Steps for Digital Transformation: PTC Virtual Conference”. Register here