Top 5 PLM Hygiene Factors

Lionel Grealou Innovation PLM Talents 2 minutes

Understanding the source of disappointments can help to prevent them. Herzberg et al. (1959) introduced the two-factor theory of motivation: intrinsic motivators vs extrinsic hygiene factors.

Improvement in some areas might help to remove dissatisfaction, but this would not increase satisfaction nor motivate (hygiene or maintenance factors).

Both factors are equally important. But good hygiene will only lead to average performance, preventing dissatisfaction, and not, by itself, create a positive attitude or motivation to perform. This suggests that hygiene factors can demotivate if they are wrong, and can only be improved to the state where they drop off from the motivational radar. In other words, hygiene factors can only contribute to deteriorate performance, not improve it. They relate to the environment and the conditions in which an activity is performed. In contrast to the above, motivators relate to the content of an activity.

Applying this theory to product development and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) as a supportive or enabling function, it leads to asking the question: what are the hygiene factors to ensure that PLM fosters (and does not hinder) creativity and innovation?

  1. PLM processes are simple and minimalist; they require an optimized number of operations and tasks, with clearly defined and segregated roles – to ease enterprise / supply chain collaboration and process outsourcing.
  2. Most non value-added and essential non value-added activities are automated or outsourced to a back office for cost effective processing – releasing engineers and management from intensive administration burden.
  3. PLM data is reliable, integrated and accurate; hence, the is limited trust issues with the data and focus can be put on decision making; reports can be easily generated, exported and adapted, without requiring programming skills or complex administration.
  4. The performance of the PLM solution is acceptable (…) and the basic but secure connectivity can rapidly be enabled; a cloud based infrastructure can enable effective deployment and ramp-up, as well as lower entry and maintenance costs.
  5. It is also possible to upgrade the PLM systems without losing capability or data, leveraging the minimalist customization for ease of upgrade. There are no major regressions and the system has been fully tested and validated; no extensive training is required and most usage is very intuitive.

The above (somewhat simplistic) PLM hygiene factors will not solely guaranty business effectiveness, efficiency and benefit realization; however, they will certainly contribute to non-dissatisfaction, and in turn, engagement and adoption.

What are your thoughts?


  • Herzberg F, Mausner B, Snydeman BB (1959) The Motivation to Work, New York, Wiley

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 6 March 2016.

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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