Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reasons Why Users Don't Like FlexPLM

This post is to follow up the discussion in my previous post.

  1. FlexPLM is NOT user friendly.

    Steep Learning curve is required on using FlexPLM. Words or phrases on the screen are not self-descriptive. It is not easy to navigate within FlexPLM to locate data. The wizard or the icons are also hard to find on the page. Data presentation of FlexPLM is not organized logically from user perspectives. The Interface is poorly designed.

  3. FlexPLM doesn't promote collaboration but frustration.

    Workflow is available on FlexPLM but it is not tied to the actual process flow within the system. Instead, it acts like a complete separate process that requires additional manual steps from users as if they were coming from a different system. Luckily, neglect of any workflow task won't prevent users from working on the products within the system. Unfortunately, it causes some degree of disagreement among departments of how tasks could be done.

  5. FlexPLM can't streamline or help optimize the process but heavily increase (or triple) workload and rely on user "supervision."

    • Let's take a notification of mailing out development samples as an example for illustration.

      Without FlexPLM, users simply notify the buyers about airway bill info via a single email.

      With FlexPLM, users have to do the following:

      StepWhy is this step necessary?
      Send an email notification to the buyers via Outlook as usual FlexPLM lacks of notification capability.
      Input the airway bill info into the system via Line Sheet or the product page The business requires to capture this piece of info.
      Consistently search "My Work" to see if the expected workflow task is available for completion. Some workflow tasks prior to this have not been completed yet. Or the tasks cannot be displayed for users for unknown reasons or a bug.

      There are no distinguishment between new tasks and the existing. Finding new tasks among tons of existing outstanding items visually is not easy. Some users are even manually exported data into Excel and manage them daily.

      When the workflow task is finally shown up at "My Work", check the selection box and then click the submit button for completion. It is how the users tell the system of their task completion.
      Be sure to click the Refresh hyperlink at "My Work" again to ensure that the submitted task no longer exists in the outstanding task list.

      For unknown reasons, some workflow items require multiple submissions.

      Additional notes: PTC/ITC said that everything works as designed and it is user fault. As per them, multiple records of completion for the same task showing in the system doesn't confirm the issue. It may be an double-click issue by users.

      This is one of examples. There are plenty out there. All burdens are on end users.

    • Internal data corruption happens all the time. For unknown reason, a NULL value is periodically placed into the data field without user knowledge during "save" or "update", which causes severe data lose or missing orders.

    • In addition, data discrepancy may occur between the pages shown on the screen and the physical print copy from the generated PDF (TechPack). Users feel humiliated when their vendors inform them that they found a few issues from the given PDF. Measurement or grading sheets are usually the victims.

  7. FlexPLM can't help reduce cost but increase labor cost to ensure everything won't fall apart.

    Users work very late (even till mid-night) after switching to FlexPLM. The company increases the workforce by hiring more data entry for help-out.

    Losing orders happens from time to time and it has been one of the major issues so far. Learning from a few painful experience of missing orders, most users will print and save a copy of their work for future reference and periodically check against the system till the POs are issued.

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