FMC's Digital Manufacturing team talk about how PLM will be seeking to break new ground in 2020 alongside skills, employers, recruitment and more.

2020: A new era for PLM systems? Q&A

James Skelton, Senior Recruiter at FMC Global Talent.
James Skelton, Specialist Marketer – Smart Industry at FMC Global Talent

Which new skills will employers be seeking in 2020?

Sabrina Anthoney:

“I’m increasingly working on vacancies which require candidates to know more than one language, particularly for sales professionals. It’ll also be important to remain adaptable in 2020 as every day new technology is being introduced, such as familiarising yourself with new domains. Many software houses are also reluctant to recruit outside of the industry, so currently it’s important to possess relevant industry experience in the Automotive, Aerospace and Manufacturing sectors to enhance your employability.”

What job type is currently most in demand within the PLM space?

Ben Marum:

“PLM is one of the most established solutions as part of the digital transformation era, so roles such as Pre-sales and Solutions Architects are popular to help clients get a better ROI. With that said, there are many organisations who are just beginning their journey towards digitalisation and so Business Development Managers and Account Managers are still in high demand, particularly those with advanced industry and domain experience.”

Which companies are driving PLM innovation?

Ben Marum:

“Obviously, there’s the likes of PTC, Dassault and Siemens at the top of the food chain, but it’s the smaller dynamic companies who are making the difference and will shake-up the PLM landscape in 2020 by introducing new systems which build on the existing ones. They include Aras PLM, Infor, Bombyx, Lectra, Kalypso and Bamboo Rose

Is the quantity of mergers & acquisitions discouraging future PLM innovation?

Sabrina Anthoney:

“It definitely reduces the variety of solutions available for consumers. What’s apparent though is that many start-ups and SMEs grow with a view of being acquired by larger PLM companies to benefit from more funding. The larger companies continue to acquire smaller companies to add to their product portfolio and to provide their customers a complete lifecycle of software. This in turn means that customers are more likely to shop with vendors which provides obvious challenges for the reseller market.”

Which regions are most popular for PLM recruitment?

Ben Marum:

“The most popular countries which our clients are seeking to expand their operations within is North America, France, Germany and the UK. The UK continues to be an interesting landscape to recruit within, however. For example, the North has declined over recent years with Brexit influencing manufacturers to relocate outside of the UK. London continues to be popular for the PLM consultancy/services businesses, whilst the Midlands and South West are booming with software houses. In terms of innovation, North America has been home to tonnes of new start-ups in 2019.”

What can PLM companies be doing more of to enhance their recruitment processes?

Sabrina Anthoney:

The graduate market is a talent pool which remains largely untapped. Whilst some graduates who possess a Mechanical Engineering degree are tempted into software roles, most graduates from top universities are employed within industry. Employer branding plays a huge part in attracting the best talent, especially at this level.

Salaries are naturally lower for the reseller/start-up/SME market, so finding methods of competing against bigger companies financially is important due to the limited talent pool within industry. Companies shouldn’t be afraid of considering talent outside of the industry who possess a highly transferrable skills set.”

Alongside PLM, which other technologies can you foresee advancing digital transformation for manufacturing sectors?

Ben Marum:

I think that in 2020 the rate of digital transformation will rise as part of increasing software adoption. The technologies which piece together Industry 4.0 have advanced to a point whereby they are beginning to offer a very noticeable return on investment. Take VR & AR for example, there were many question marks during its infancy over its impact on manufacturing processes, so it’s been slowly refined, tested and researched until engineers found a suitable stage of the manufacturing lifecycle for this technology to have a notable influence. AI, digital twins, MES, robotics and machine learning have been through the same process and in 2020 it’s these technologies which will make the biggest impression on manufacturing.”

Which other sectors should PLM companies consider sourcing talent from?

Sabrina Anthoney:

“I completely appreciate that many companies strive to recruit for the “perfect” candidate on paper which predominantly boils down to education, industry experience and domain knowledge. But operating in niche, tightly defined verticals such as Digital Manufacturing and PLM means that the competition for talent is extremely high, so looking outside of the channel becomes an option. To keep advancing and growing as an industry, onboarding talent in ERP software or cloud software offers a new dynamic, different ideas and brings new experiences into the mix. I find that candidates working with SaaS, CAE or other technical solutions could offer a viable alternative.”