The drive behind PLMPulse

For so long PLM has promised to deliver large benefits for organisations and today, the hype around the value potential of PLM is only growing.  Industry wanted to understand our status…

Back in July 2017 a group of passionate and inquisitive industry professionals got together to try and understand where companies were in their PLM journeys.  The premise was simple: PLM has always promised so much in terms of benefits, but has it delivered and if not, will it ever deliver?

This led to the creation of the PLMPulse Survey.

PLMPulse is the first industry-led survey hoping to shed some light into where we are in our PLM journeys and where the real value lays. It was not meant to be an academic or consulting research paper, but rather a temperature check of how industry sees PLM today – the pulse.

The surveys we created this year explored 5 key questions which have been asked by a diverse set of companies such as Dyson, Husqvarna, SKF, and Stannah Stairlifts and TI Automotive. This group of companies not only represented different industry groups and focuses, but also companies at different stages of their PLM journey.

We knew these questions have been asked many times. We have all seen the presentations at the PLM conferences we attend. But where are we on the journey, and where to we go next?

The 5 areas of questioning behind this year’s survey

Five hypothesis were developed to explore the status of PLM today in many organisations, our readiness to change and the future potential of PLM for many organisations

The five areas below outlined the basis of the survey in 2017.  We wished to explore both the usage and the perceived value drives for PLM today.  But if PLM is able to deliver on the hype and promise, we needed to explore our readiness in our organisation to change.

Much of the hype we see about PLM today is both centred around its role in “Big Data” and and the Internet of Things (IoT).  We wanted to explore the connection of PLM to organisations strategies in these areas and how prepared PLM is to support the digital drive.

Figure 1: The 5 areas of questioning for PLMPulse Survey Edition 2017
Figure 1: The 5 areas of questioning for PLMPulse Survey Edition 2017

Diverse industry and company size feedback

The responses represent a diverse set of industries, mainly from large companies in the discrete manufacturing sectors, indicative of industry use of PLM.

As part of the surveys, respondents provided feedback on the industry and size of their company.


Figure 2: Survey responses by industry sector
Figure 2: Survey responses by industry sector

The discrete manufacturing industries have dominated the responses from the PLMPulse Survey.  The top 4 industry groups account for 67% of the responses.  This industry bias represents the historical use of PLM in certain industry sectors.

We see very little uptake from the process or asset intensive (e.g. Energy and Utilities) industries. This is indicative of the penetration of PLM in those industry sectors. For future surveys, more input from these sectors would be valuable and also insightful for the traditional user groups.

Company Size

Figure 3: Survey Responses by Company Size
Figure 3: Survey Responses by Company Size

Like the industry sectors, nearly 50% of the responses came from companies with over 10,000 employees. Like the industries, this bias has been driven by historical PLM penetration.

Medium enterprises (1,000 – 5,000 employees) represent the next major segment of responses, with the SME businesses making up the remainder.

The size of the company should be tracked in further surveys, to see if PLM’s penetration moves from large companies down to the supply chain. This move can be observed in section 5 of the report.

Business enthusiasm behind the survey

The respondents of this year’s survey represent a diverse set of industries, countries and company size, making PLMPulse a truly global initiative.

Figure 4: Top 10 countries accessing PLMPulse Survey
Figure 4: Top 10 countries accessing PLMPulse Survey

The level of interest from the business in participating in the PLMPulse Survey has taken everybody by surprise.  In total, 359 responses to the different surveys were received.  Over the 12 weeks the survey was accessed by over 900 persons from over 27 different countries.

Figure 4 shows the top 10 countries that accessed the survey.  This result represent the majority of the largest countries by GDP and representing 42%1 of the global GDP.

This makes PLMPulse one of the first truly global surveys on PLM.

Looking forward, future PLMPulse surveys should also target feedback from Asian economies further, particularly China.


1 GDP based on International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (April – 2017)