I’m sure you’ve noticed that my PLM kick isn’t quite over. Yes we’re still on top of the Autodesk manufacturing industry, but I need to get through all this PLM stuff that’s trying to get out of my head.

I was performing a simplified cost analysis of a company’s existing management system, compared to the capabilities offered by PLM 360, as they relate to searching alone. This was important to me because I’m the poor bastard that often has to do all the seemingly complex data search tasks that no one else wants.

Existing ‘Not So Free’ System

Autodesk PLM 360 vs Time Many companies refer to their existing management system as a free system. Most of us use Microsoft Office products such as Outlook, Excel, and so on to do many project management tasks. Since we still need email and Excel for other purposes, and still have to purchase the licenses, the cataloguing expenses can be seen as essentially nil. Well, that’s not exactly true.

I realized after the analysis, that this company is actually losing money each year using the spreadsheet and Windows Explorer system of catalog searches. It turns out that it is a significant amount. Here’s the basic outline of the analysis:

  • My time searching for obscure and difficult items – 2 Hrs / Wk (x 50 Wks per Year) = 100 Hrs / Yr MINIMUM
  • Cost difference on non-billable time for obscure reference searches – $(-)42.00
  • Annual resulting cost incurred on behalf of the company – 100 Hrs x $(-)42.00 = $(-)4200

That is the cost of doing business, but it has no additional benefits. This week isn’t over, and I’ve already performed searches that cost the company 4 hours, and there is another to perform later today. I’d say that 2 hours per week was overly conservative.

Now let’s look at the cost profile of PLM 360.

PLM 360 Cost

  • Each Read/Write (RW) Seat – $900 / Yr.
  • Each Read only seat (RO) – $300 / Yr.
  • Purchasing 4 RW seats – $900 x 4 = $3600 (2 project managers, the receptionist, and one mobile team )
  • Purchasing 2 RO seats – $300 x 2 = $600 (2 more mobile teams to be upgraded eventually)
  • Total annual purchase = $4200

Net loss for using the software = $0


Autodesk PLM 360 almost Free The mobile teams are dying to get their hands on PLM 360, giving them the ability upload and download anywhere in the world. Obviously there are not enough seats for the office, but we only covered my search time, and not the other project managers. If we bumped the ‘lost search time’ to 4 hours / Wk, we could pick up 8 RW seats and 4 RO seats of PLM 360 for FREE. Yes, FREE.

There are so many other capabilities of PLM 360, and we have not yet scratched the surface of how much money we are losing in these other areas of business. How about time lost while:

  • Gathering data from emails, spreadsheets,transmittal letters in hardcopy to respond to a query about a past submittal
  • Calling in to the office and waiting for someone to email data and docs for surprise topic in the client meeting

Configurable systems like PLM 360 offer that information to all team members instantly.

The list goes on. So much so that I’m thinking this study could be expanded into a great Six Sigma project. Hmm…