Chuck, that story sounds all too familiar. Theory vs practice, abstract vs concrete. It's apparently easy for some people who are not on the user end of things to not believe in actual experience of actual users. What's funny is, we are all end-users, and we are all consumers, so one might think that would be obvious.
I would think that time and value also play a big part. People have very crammed schedules, so the time it takes service to weigh in, and the time it takes design to listen to a new audience are likely large factors. To carve out that time, the value of the communication would have to be clear.
In order for PLM to work properly, you must address 3 items: 1) technology issues that prevent access to the right information at the right time; 2) processes that prevent information from being shared properly, and 3) people that buy into the whole process. If any one of these are lacking, PLM will not work as intended.
Many companies think new technology will magiacally fix their broken processes, and that people will somehow adopt it. It jest don't work that-a way. We are seeing more and more capabilities like those from PTC making it easy to connect Service, but the other aspects must be addressed before we see measurable results on the bottom line! IMHO
There's a great story about the cultural issues that prevent feedback from the field from reaching design: A few years ago, I talked with a consultant who tried to to tell an automaker that their car's doors were leaking when it rained. Customers also tried to tell the automaker the same thing. The automaker wouldn't listen, though, because all of their measurements told them they were making perfect doors. In their culture, a door was perfect if the measurements said so, not if the someone claimed their doors were leaking. Turned out their doors really were leaking.
Rob, I think it's multiple issues. Certainly corporate culture is one of them. But communications and the ease or lack of it, has got to be another. This should help solve that part, which may, in turn, help change the culture.
I agree, Ann, it's been a long time coming. It will be interesting to see of PLM software helps facilitate this communication. I've always thought it was a company's cultural issues that prevented feedback from the field to reach design. Perhaps PLM tools can help change that culture.
It's good to see that service is getting included in the PLM loop. All you have to do to see the importance of this is to read the Design News Made by Monkeys stories. If the service function were included in the design PLM process, a good number of design flaws could be fixed quickly instead of continuing for years.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
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