The Collaboration Imperative


We are living in challenging times that put everything into perspective. We are in a day by day mode―ensuring our families at home and abroad are safe. Work comes second. Overnight we faced a new reality where everyone works from home, including our children. This creates a need for us to become leaders at home―becoming the rock that everyone turns to, consoling, empowering, and persevering―minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.

As our new routine takes shape, uncertainty remains, but more and more focus should be put on carving out time to get focused―on getting back to work. What was I working on? Is it still a priority? Is there an opportunity to pivot, to help others? To understand where your company stands requires clear and effective communication―something that some companies may be ill prepared to do from an organizational and technology standpoint. Why? Our normal way of communicating and collaborating has completely changed.

Casual communication is no longer possible, no conversations in the hall, nor lunchtime discussions. Communication across departments and regions is consistently a challenge. Therefore, choosing the right solution for breaking down barriers is imperative. Companies such as Microsoft and Google are stepping up with free access to Teams and Hangouts―providing companies and individuals the ability to move quickly to restart daily routines―at home. While this is good, we must consider that this communication, although crucial and important to get us moving again, will have flaws we may regret 6 months from now.

Effective communication across the Enterprise is critical to success and requires the ability to change to meet new realities. Clear and easily available communication results in strong requirements and fast innovation. Using the pervasive tools mentioned earlier, along with email, Excel, don’t offer the traceability required for developing, manufacturing, and servicing complex products. Without connecting the context of the discussion thread to a part, requirements, or next generation design ideas, the collaboration thread is broken, and therefore things we are trying to work on right now may be lost when we return to work, losing essential information that will be required when we restart our businesses and the economy as a whole.

The challenge is to provide our workforce with a secure, connected, and collaborative environment for promoting efficient product development. Those organizations meeting the collaboration challenge, have turned to a new approach to PLM. This approach lets companies move away from complicated email trails and standalone communication methods.

The companies we speak to find that real-time collaboration is critical when managing product information during the development process. Users throughout the extended enterprise should have the ability to easily view and comment on parts and documents with security, control, and including context to day-to-day product development discussions. In a global product development environment, manufacturers gain tremendous benefit from threaded discussions with comments and replies, configurable discussion forums, and the ability to easily view and graphically comment on file content, including 3D models, drawings, and Office documents.

Companies that adapt to a new routine and start communicating and collaborating will achieve faster input across roles, disciplines, and throughout the supply chain, resulting in better products, delivered faster. In this environment, using a new approach to visual collaboration and PLM, manufacturing and support issues can be identified and rectified before a product goes into production and also diagnose customer problems more quickly.

Learn More
As we all move to a new way of working, at home, there are great articles to help with your journey. Take a look at these great sources of information:

Helpful Tips on How to Collaborate Effectively
20 Tips for Working from Home
How to Stay Focused When You’re Working from Home

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