How to accelerate when delivering change

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The last few years have seen the disruptive influences of the “Startup” economy, shaking up established business models and delighting customers through an improved customer experience.  Google is transforming the advertising sector, whilst Uber has streamlined the taxi industry, Alibaba carries no stock but is one of the worlds biggest retail outlets, I could go on, but I am sure you have read the coverage before.  Times are changing for every industry and company out there, being aware of their core market and transforming to provide a greater customer experience is an imperative.  I recently watched a clip from David Rowan, the Editor at Large of Wired magazine and he reached an interesting and alarming conclusion when talking about industry;  

“The world is never going to move this slowly again and if you don’t move at the startup’s pace, you are going to lose market share and lose revenue in ways that may surprise you!”

We all know managing change can be really hard, painful at times, but standing still or ignoring the competitive threats is no longer an option.  No change initiative or transformation is risk-free, unfortunately, this causes many managers to hesitate or lack the courage to make the necessary decisions.  The chances are that however fast you think your change programme is progressing, it is not fast enough. Being able to rapidly respond to market changes through new products or services, will be critical to developing greater revenue opportunities. Continue reading How to accelerate when delivering change

The Greatest Spaceman of all Time …. and me

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Maintaining a cool and calm demeanour was tough. The truth is, I was about to meet a human being whose achievements have inspired and educated countless individuals across the world. Apollo 13 will forever sit in the history books, so the chance to meet the leader of that fateful mission was an honour in every sense of the word.

Jim Lovell
Jim Lovell was the keynote speaker at the PI PLMx conference in Fort Worth, Texas. (Oct. 2017)

Captain James A. Lovell, along with his crew of Capt. John Swigert and Capt. Fred Haise, have travelled further from the surface of our dear planet than any other man or woman to have ever lived. A little over 400,000km. Forget Olympic size pools and football fields, that is over 30 times the diameter of the Earth itself. In a malfunctioning spacecraft, no less! If you have neither read one of the many books nor seen the film, beware the spoiler alert. They used the moon’s gravity to slingshot around and make a dramatic return home.

Tom Hanks spent hours with Jim learning about the mission

It is an achievement that Jim, as he prefers to be known, would make little fuss about. In fact, when he was reminded by one of the many star struck hand-shakers that day, he immediately made reference to the expertise of the engineers on the ground. To say Jim Lovell is a humble man is to emulate his penchant for understatement.

We went for a stroll and with a few hours to spare before he took to the stage, grabbed a coffee and found a quiet corner to sit down. The next hour or two was spent chatting about his experiences in flight school, as well as times spent in Africa, both topics close to my heart as my father was an aviator based in Kenya for much of his life. As word got around the hotel that Jim Lovell was sitting in the corner, every so often someone would come over to show their appreciation. Unflustered, he took selfies galore and had time for everyone and anyone that wished to spend it with him.

Well, if everyone else is doing it…

It quickly struck me how calm and gentle a man he was. No doubt these traits served him well as a test pilot before his NASA days, and indeed his character has been highly spoken about in many documentaries and historical accounts.

The time came to make our way to the large hall where he was due to speak to an audience of wide-eyed engineers. I could see how much it meant to them, and they let him know by giving him a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. He conducted his presentation with class, delivering intriguing facts and conveying the emotions of that time spent in cold, dark space almost 50 years ago. His precision and certainty made it feel like it happened last week!

Afterwards, we all had a glass of wine on the terrace in the fading Texan sunshine. He never changed from his cool, calm, collected demeanour and after some more handshakes and a few signatures, Jim respectfully took his leave.

I shook his hand once more and could find no more meaningful words than “Thank you”.

When remarkable things happen in this life, it’s rare that you know they are happening in that very moment. After 5 minutes I knew that I greatly respected him as a person, but it was only afterwards that I realised this was one of the greatest honours of my life and something that I will be proud to tell my grandchildren about one day.

Sharp as a tack and fit as a fiddle, Jim Lovell rightfully has my utmost respect. Not just for his achievements as a pioneering astronaut, but for his authenticity, his humility and his kindness.

Earlier this year, one of the moon’s mountains was officially titled ‘Mount Marilyn’ after Jim’s wife. As he told me, you never achieve anything alone so I hope you will join me in wishing them both all the very best.

Is PLM ready for the Circular Economy?

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We are all aware of the acute challenges to the environment brought about by the disposable nature of modern products. With many products like food packaging and medical devices manufactured for single-time use, many more consumer products are designed with an optimal use of 3 – 5 year, we are disposing of more man-made waste than ever. Following rapidly expanding landfill sites and increasing carbon emissions, the design for recyclability and reuse has never been more critical. It is shocking to discover that in Europe alone, 60% of the total end-of-use materials are not recycled, composted or reused according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Plastics in the ocean are having a disastrous effect on marine life and unfortunately they are already contaminating the food chain. So how can we change? Continue reading Is PLM ready for the Circular Economy?

Digital Stage Fright: The failure to act on the Digital Revolution

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The Digital Enterprise, enabled by Digitisation or Digital Transformation is upon us and change is causing a revolution across every industry. However the fate of companies has never been more uncertain, organisations that suffer a digital stage fright, are unable or unprepared to adapt to changing market realities. The last decade has shown that companies that have embraced digital technologies are reaping the benefits, offering a greater customer experience and new innovative business models. Continue reading Digital Stage Fright: The failure to act on the Digital Revolution

How do you develop and maintain an integrated PLM system, efficiently and cost-effectively?

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How do you develop and maintain an integrated PLM system efficiently and cost-effectively?” That is the question raised by CIO and Engineering leaders throughout the globe, shortly before a call goes into the software vendor to see how other organisations run their teams. Of course, the answer is that every organisation has different constraints and priorities, Continue reading How do you develop and maintain an integrated PLM system, efficiently and cost-effectively?

Are You Propagating Poor Quality Data?

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Data quality has been an issue right from the very beginning of the IT industry. With the exponential spread over the last decades of file-based and database systems, System Administrators have wrangled with the issue of data quality, duplication and consistency.  Inaccuracies in data can occur for a number of reasons, primarily though it is often blamed on manual data entry by…. Continue reading Are You Propagating Poor Quality Data?

IOT: We have a problem

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The Internet of Things (IOT) is the term used to describe the network that continues to expand at an ever increasing rate, connecting any device with an on/off switch to the internet and each other. This allows anything from dental implants to crop-dusting drones, to send data for analytics or indeed where appropriate receive remote instructions. This interaction between the…. Continue reading IOT: We have a problem

Data Analytics Drives PLM Adoption

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The single biggest problem for managers embarking on, or undertaking a PLM initiative is the justification for project funding.  As PLM leaders we have all been there, working on slide packs to demonstrate the future benefits when successfully implemented, or bringing a new board member up to speed on the PLM project to ensure a continuation of funding the for next budget year….. Continue reading Data Analytics Drives PLM Adoption

How Triumph Have Used PLM To Extend 130 Years of Innovation

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Triumph has achieved significant growth since it was founded in 1886 as a little corset factory in Germany. Today, the company is present in 120 countries with its core brands, Triumph and sloggi, and had 2014 revenues of 1.437 billion euros. As a successful global manufacturer of lingerie, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear, Triumph is continually looking to improve its…. Continue reading How Triumph Have Used PLM To Extend 130 Years of Innovation

Under Armour – Making All Athletes Better With 3D Technology

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When it comes to early tech adoption in the apparel & footwear industry, sports and fitness brands have most certainly taken the lead. One such company well known for its innovation and early adoption is Under Armour. Yet even they experience the hurdle of ‘how does technological innovation affect the bottom line’….. Continue reading Under Armour – Making All Athletes Better With 3D Technology