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Acquiring PLM Talents: Attracting, Hiring and Onboarding Experts to Deliver Business Value

Lionel Grealou PLM Talents 3 minutes

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Image Credit: PEXEL

Talent acquisition is one key pillars of talent management referring to the recruitment and hiring process, up to onboarding new employees—an essential HR function to enable hiring managers in finding and selecting the right resources. Other talent management pillars include learning and development, performance management, reward and compensation, and succession planning.

Looking for new resources is not specific to PLM as such: it starts with lead generation and sourcing, attracting, interviewing and assessing candidates, and supporting the overall checking and hiring decision process, up to onboarding new employees. Many PLM-relevant roles are actually not specific or dedicated to the PLM discipline or platform. Busines value is created by maximizing utilization of the required skills and expertise in-house, hence reducing outsourcing requirements. Therefore, like with other disciplines, acquiring talents must link to core competencies across the PLM scope, aligning with sourcing and outsourcing strategies: what activities will be performed in-house vs outsourced to suppliers and vendors. 

In this post, I elaborate on how organizations acquire PLM talents to enable and lead their business change and continuous improvement initiatives.

Talent acquisition focuses on the long-term objectives of the company, whereas recruitment alone can be more short-term centric to fill a knowledge or skill gap. Putting PLM into perspective, many roles and skills link to business strategic change and long-term solution maintenance, whereas implementation projects can be transient by nature.

Balancing talent acquisition versus outsourcing opportunities

The long-term perspective of PLM initiatives means that it makes perfect sense to onboard and develop in-house expertise and knowledge. This will contribute to build a body of knowledge about a given solution that will need to be maintained and improved over the years. Nevertheless, it is important to consider which skills and expertise is to be developed and retained internally, versus temporarily outsourced to trained trade or suppliers.

When balancing long- and short-term perspectives on PLM talents, key considerations include:

  • The identification of internal core competencies and essential skills to “keep the lights on”.
  • The type of skills to bring or develop internally, and potential subsequent talent development opportunities; with associated “development paths”.
  • The complexity and type of activities and tasks, and what can be performed locally versus remotely.
  • The elements of cross-functional expertise and type of skills, e.g., mainstream and widely available versus niche skills, technology or process specific, etc.
  • The typical premium cost and lack of flexibility which can be associated with outsourcing; in addition to the relevant mitigations from a procurement perspective (economies of scale, comparative quoting, non-exclusive sourcing, service levels, management overhead, etc.)
  • The expected return-on-assets by comparing talent development feasibility and cost versus business value over time: in other words, is it possible and cost effective to nurture in-house the required talents.

There is no right or wrong answers, and most organizations will combine both outsourcing and talent acquisitions based on their maturity, their appetite for change and the associated investments, coupled with the ability and willingness to acquire and develop PLM-related talents.

Acquiring PLM talents: key hiring considerations

Due to the nature of the PLM discipline, PLM talents are often required keep current with latest operational practice and business requirements, as well as cross-functional, integration and technology knowledge. They must demonstrate the relevant people and problem-solving skills, beyond simply IT or process aspects.

Beyond the typical expertise and credential checks, hiring PLM talents often relates to the following hiring considerations (non-exhaustive list):

  • Their ability to learn new skills: can they expand their knowledge and expertise in the future, and what development will they require.
  • How much they care versus how much they know.
  • How they approach cross-functional problem-solving, hence how they collaborate with others, including working with internal customers and external third parties.
  • How they perceive themselves in a number of years and how they like to be challenges.
  • What passion do they demonstrate for either an industry, business function or technology (or a combination of the above).
  • What they are bringing to the initial PLM role that they are applying for, and how it will relate to the other PLM-related roles.
  • How they make sense of complexity and things that are new to them.
  • How they prioritise their work and their level of self-governance (if they are able to operate autonomously when facing a new problem or requirements).

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on Momentum-PLM on 3 December 2020.

Disclaimer: articles and thoughts published on v+d do not necessarily represent the views of the company, but solely the views or interpretations of the author(s); reviews, insights and mentions of publications, products, or services do neither constitute endorsement, nor recommendations for purchase or adoption. 

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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