PLM 360 Helps TaylorMade Tie It All Together
Roopinder Tara posted on October 13, 2015 |
Autodesk’s cloud technology makes PLM accessible to small- and medium-sized businesses.

TaylorMade’s top-of-the-line golf bag is one product managed by Autodesk PLM 360.

(Image courtesy of TaylorMade.)

(Image courtesy of TaylorMade.)

TaylorMade makes golfing equipment and its golf bags start as hand sketches. As a fabric construction, it is a product that lends itself to design on a CAD system. When it came time to look beyond the company’s Excel/email system, Gabi Rojas and Shawn Koutahi of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Company, who were presenting at the Accelerate 2015 conference, were not beholden to a PLM product of a CAD company. They only had to satisfy their own goals:

·         Develop a central source of product line information

·         Cut the cord from Excel

·         Minimize product information flow via email

·         Ensure the latest version of information was accessed

·         Efficiently connect various team members, internal and external, including their own product managers as wells as outside vendors

They chose Autodesk PLM 360. Paying a low fee per month was key for TaylorMade, as was ease of implementation, though Rojas and Koutahi are careful to say the process was not exactly turnkey. It took months to parse the data from bloated Excel spreadsheets. 

The project was also not without its detractors, many of whom were no doubt quite comfortable with what Rojas and Koutahi saw as a cumbersome system. Asked how they got acceptance from their IT department, Koutahi replied, “We didn’t tell them.”

(Image courtesy of TaylorMade.)
(Image courtesy of TaylorMade.)

The results, still interim, seem impressive. Users up and down the line, from product management to sourcing, have one interface to one database-driven system, replacing a system of multiple Excel spreadsheets customized for each department that often also needed other documents to support them, such as image files. 

Now, PLM 360 contains all of the information previously held in the various documents — and more. Included is a picture of the product. The risk of duplicate files in separate locations is gone. The hassle of synchronizing information manually is reduced.

Getting a PLM system in place does mean everyone will have to learn how to use it — and PLM systems are not known to be easy to learn. No doubt users who have developed or gotten used to their Excel spreadsheets will not want to give them up. The may also fear the length and effort of training that is often required with traditional PLM systems. 

However, TaylorMade says the training of new users for PLM 360 is a mere four-hour WebEx presentation.

The access is currently internal to TaylorMade but by next year’s conference, at the latest, Rojas and Koutahi hope to integrate key vendors as well as allow secure file access, enabling them to cut their reliance on email.

Is the Future of PLM Cloud-Based?

The success — or partial success — of TaylorMade notwithstanding, it remains that Autodesk is a relative newcomer to PLM with its PLM 360 product. It was in 2007 that Autodesk CEO Carl Bass dismissed PLM quite famously as a “load of crap.” Since then, however, Bass has recanted, saying that the cloud has changed everything. 

Indeed, the cloud-based PLM 360 has burst onto the scene and succeeded in capturing the attention of small and midsize companies for whom enterprise PLM software was out of reach, either due to complexity or cost. 

PLM 360 is currently estimated as having more than 20,000 seats and, in terms of PLM revenue, occupies second place behind Dassault Systèmes in the PLM marketplace.

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