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John Stark Associates                                                                                                                               November 30, 2015 - Vol17 #21

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Should your PLM Vendor be Committed?
by Roger Tempest
In UK English, "being committed" has two meanings. In this article we will ignore the idea of sending your Vendor to a medical institution because they are not of sound mind. Instead, let's consider the other meaning:-

"Should your PLM Vendor show some real commitment to the outcome of your PLM implementation?"

This question raises other questions. How much commitment should there be? Shouldn't the commitment be from both sides? And how is the commitment to be made "real"?

To examine the last question, think of your own vendor, and go back and see how much about your current implementation is specified in writing. If you look at the contract, does it specify exactly what the vendor will provide, or is it written more like a series of escape clauses?

Most PLM contracts are set up for the provision of software and services. The contract warrants that the software will function, that there will be a certain number of licenses, and that a specified number of consultancy days will be provided. This, however, is not the same as committing to the success of the solution.

Why should the Vendor make such a commitment? A car dealer does not.    

When you buy a car the dealer warrants that the car will be fit for purpose; will meet various specifications; and function as a car is normally expected to. What you do with the car - drive it on the motorway, or drive it into a lake - is not the dealer's concern.

However, PLM is different. If the PLM sales proposition were merely that it is functioning software, nobody would buy it. PLM vendors make great efforts to uncover and explain how PLM will impact the business, and try to make the picture expansive enough for the Board to approve the new project.

It therefore seems reasonable that, having painted a picture of how the business will improve with a PLM solution, the Vendor should be prepared to commit to those claims in some way.

This is not a one-sided situation. If the User expects the Vendor to commit to an outcome, the Vendor has a right to expect certain standards of performance from the User.

These ideas may be the subject of future articles. In the meantime, the first step for everyone is to blow the dust off the contract paperwork and review what it actually says.

Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. More information about PLM Delivery is available via

Is Suspect Product Data the Elephant in the Search-and-Discover Room?
by Dick Bourke
"Inconsistent," "inaccurate" and "incomplete" all describe what we call suspect product data. For decision-making that enables engineering productivity, design tool users must be able to trust product data revealed by a search-and-discover solution (SDS).

In this article, I'll address how to resolve the suspect issue.

Enhancing the Original Concept of SDS with Findability
Let's start with search-and-discover functions. Assume a user is searching for a part that already exists. After the user exercises a search function with a combination of keywords and Boolean logic, an SDS displays numerous alternatives. Usually, users will have to exercise filtering to narrow down the suspects to a workable number.

A user wants to narrow the options quickly to explore as few choices as possible - with full confidence and without the frustrations that could sabotage personal productivity. Users assume the data exists, but in what condition?

As I've emphasized before, an SDS tool with access to a company's PLM and ERP systems will reveal product data without regard to the quality of the data.

A key criterion for an effective system is findability. We will define this as locating exactly what's needed, not just searching and discovering multiple choices. Thus, the degree of findability is a measure of the quality of an SDS implementation.

Findability requires a viable system for classification hierarchy, attribute creation and maintenance that allows specific parametric identifying of the needed product data.

Ranges of alternatives to develop a system are open to evaluation: manual to computer-aided. A manual approach may be feasible in some situations, but computer aids are available, including those listed at the end of this article.

For development input, numerous classification systems can be tapped, such as the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code. With computer aids, data cleansing is an inherent activity in the process of creating a classification/attribute system that meets a company's specific requirements.

Evaluating and Implementing an SDS with Findability Capabilities
Some critical considerations arise. For would-be SDS implementers, the following should start a healthy discussion.

Overcoming reluctance to address the issues is clearly one. The causes could be:
  • Lacking belief in the extent of the problem
  • Not realizing the value of solving the problem
  • Fearing the magnitude of an effort

Another factor to consider is whether deploying an SDS can achieve the expected benefits, fully or partially. Can a company achieve optimum or only partial results from an SDS without resolving the suspect condition of product metadata that may currently exist?

Closely related are decisions that involve which activities come first: data cleansing or implementing an SDS. One viewpoint claims that SDS first will help reveal the quality and availability of correct data, hence sharpening awareness to overcome reluctance.

Certainly, there are factors with no obvious answers. These are, in other words, situational - the classic, "it depends."

Final Perspectives and Next Steps
An SDS coupled with findability provides opportunities to gain C-level attractive benefits:

  • Reducing time-to-market
  • Increasing engineering productivity
  • Lowering part costs and more - if the product data is trustworthy

A findability initiative will send the annoying elephant of suspect product data out of the room.

Further Resources
IHS offers a broad range of products and services. For an overview, see Content Services.

Here are three more sources of data cleansing products and services.

For more information about SDS and findability, contact Dick Bourke at

PLM Grid 2015
by John Stark

The PLM Grid is a two-dimensional grid showing the complete scope of PLM in a typical company that develops, manufactures and supports products.

On the horizontal axis are the five phases of the product lifecycle (ideation, definition, realisation, use, and disposal). On the vertical axis are ten components (such as processes, application software and data) that the company addresses to achieve its aim of managing its products across the lifecycle.

There are many entities within each of the components. Some examples will make this clearer.

In the PLM environment, examples of metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include Time To Market, ROI, value of the product portfolio, cost of rework, and number of patents.

Entities within "Management & Organisation" include organisational structure, strategy, education and training.

Many people develop and support a product throughout its lifecycle. Examples include product developers, product managers, marketing analysts, test engineers, machinists and disassembly workers.

The many methods to improve performance across the lifecycle include Concurrent Engineering, Design for Assembly, Early Manufacturing Involvement, Life Cycle Design, and Open Innovation. 

Facilities and equipment are used in every phase of the product lifecycle. Examples of equipment include 3D printers, 3D scanners, NC milling machines, label applicators, kilns, extruders and so on. There are also all sorts of computing and communications equipment.

PLM applications help people develop and support products. Examples include Idea Management, Robot Path Analysis, Compliance Management, NC Programming, Plastic Behaviour Analysis and CAD.

A Product Data Management (PDM) system has the primary purpose of managing all the product data created and used throughout the product lifecycle.

Product data defines and describes the product. Examples include customer requirements, part numbers, CAD geometry, design specifications, shop floor instructions, test results, label information and patent reports.

Business processes include the New Product Development, Engineering Change Management and Product Portfolio Management processes.

Last, but not least, are the product and its components.


PLM Citations  
According to Google Scholar, as of November 27, 2015 Product Lifecycle Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product Realisation, the most popular PLM publication, had been cited 613 times in journal articles, technical reports, books and theses.

Citing publications referenced since the previous issue of 2PLM include:

  • S. Andrade, T. Monteiro, H. Gaspar (Aalesund University College, Norway); Product Lifecycle Management in ship design: From concept to decommission in a virtual environment Details
  • J. Gati, F. Hegyesi, K. Nemethy, G. Kartyas (Obuda University, Budapest, Hungary); New education challenges in engineering course programs Details


Before Addressing PLM ....
by Scott Cleveland
Many things happen before the actual purchase of a PLM solution. You will need to gather answers to the following questions:
  • Is the problem you are attempting to solve worthy of pursuing?
  • How do you discover the available potential solutions?
  • What do you have to put together in order for your company to issue a PO?
  • How will you select the solution? How will you select the solution vendor?

Addressing them in order:

Is the problem you are attempting to solve worthy of pursuing?
Since you are considering PLM, you must be attempting to solve a problem or two. What are the problems you are attempting to solve? Can you quantify the cost of the problem(s)? What would your day look like if you didn't have to deal with these problems?

During your day (week), you may have to perform some tasks that are extremely annoying. If you had a solution in place, you wouldn't have to deal with them. Can you quantify the cost of the annoyance(s)?

Now that you have uncovered the costs resulting from your problems, what are your options? And approximately how much will you need to spend to implement any of these options?

Do the benefits of the solution outweigh the costs? Can you get budget dollars for this solution? If the answer to these questions is yes, the problem/solution is worthy of pursuing.

How do you discover the available potential solutions?
Refine the problems, annoyances that you are attempting to solve. Interview those involved in the process to gather more specific details.

If the world were perfect, what might that solution look like? The user interface is what software looks like. What do you want your users to see on their screens? How do you want them to interact? What activities will they be performing? Will the solution assist them? How do you want the 'handoff' from one user to the next to work? Will the solution help you manage your processes? Etc.

Now that you have a vision, what solutions are available to you that can deliver a solution closest to your vision? You may have to compromise, but begin your search by looking for 'your' solution. 

At this point you should have refined the cost of your problems and annoyances. You will have visited companies that can provide you with a solution. 

You should be able to get a budgetary quote from each. Do the benefits of the solution still outweigh the costs?

What information do you have to assemble in order to move toward a purchase?
Each company will have their own procedures for making purchases. Start by identifying who will be involved in making the decision.

Each person will have their own thought process regarding making a purchase decision. You will need to create a proposal that will address each of their concerns.

You need to create a compelling story to persuade the decision makers to move forward with the purchase. Will you need to perform a return on investment analysis? What might that look like? You might want to perform a risk assessment to support your position.

Write your proposal. You might want to ask a co-worker to review it. Then set up a meeting to present your proposal to the decision makers. Ask them for the approval to move forward.

How will you select the solution? How will you select the solution vendor?
Make a list of your alternatives. Investigate the most reasonable alternatives.

Visit these vendors with the thought that you will narrow down to 2 or 3. With the alternatives narrowed, speak with their customers. The questions that I like the best include: What did you like about the vendors? What didn't you like about them? What would you do differently if you could start again?

Remember, you will be working with this vendor for a number of years. You will need a good relationship with them. Do you like them? Do they listen? Are they responsive?

After selecting a vendor, work with them to come up with a project plan. Have them generate a quote based on that project plan that you can use to generate a purchase order.

In summary ....
PLM projects tend to have a high level of complexity. Any individual activity isn't difficult, but there are many activities that need to take place. Working with an independent consultant can be helpful. Companies that have successfully implemented PLM solutions are happy they did - you will be too.

Contact me if you would like some help .... 



Scott Cleveland can be contacted on +1 408-464-6387 

LinkedIn PLM Posts you may have Missed

Some recent posts on LinkedIn:

Nov   2, 2015  PLM and the IoT (#4): The Opportunities of the IoT

Nov   4, 2015  PLM and the IoT (#5): Impacts Across the Product Lifecycle 

Nov  11, 2015  PLM and the IoT (#6): Issues with the IoT

Nov  17, 2015  PLM and the IoT (#7): Issues with IoT Projects

Nov  23, 2015  PLM and the IoT (#8): IoT Project Success Factors



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PLM News

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Siemens announced an agreement to acquire Polarion, developer of an application lifecycle management (ALM) enterprise solution. Details 


Autodesk, Inc. reported financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2016. Total net revenue was $599.8 million. Details

Materialise NV announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2015. Total revenue was 25,883 kEUR. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced financial results for the fiscal third quarter ended October 31, 2015. Revenues were $291 million. Details



Lectra announced the appointment of Jean-Patrice Gros as Director of Lectra Northern Europe. Details

3D Systems announced that Thomas W. Erickson was appointed as an independent director of the company. Details



AVEVA announced that NIPIGAS extended its contract for AVEVA's Integrated Engineering & Design solution. Details

AVEVA announced that TSK selected the AVEVA Integrated Engineering & Design software solution. Details

CDS announced that KHK USA selected its Catalog as a Service and CAD as a Service solutions. Details

Dassault Systemes announced that Mammut Sports Group is deploying Dassault Systemes' "My Collection". Details

Delcam announced that PowerMILL has been chosen for a service from Star Prototype that combines additive and subtractive manufacturing. Details

Gerber Technology announced that announced its go-live with YuniquePLM. Details

Intergraph announced that Petrofac has chosen to expand the use of Intergraph Smart solutions. Details

Siemens PLM announced that Blohm+Voss selected Siemens' integrated suite of product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions. Details

ZW3D announced that it has been chosen by Kamal Mould. Details 


AMC Bridge announced ViewER 4.0. Details

Dassault Systemes announced three industry solution experiences for life sciences. Details

Dassault Systemes announced "My Retail Theatre". Details

FFT, an MSC Software company, announced Actran 16. Details

Kisters and Design Rule announced 3DViewStation integration into ENOVIA SmarTeam. Details

MSC Software Corp. announced Marc 2015. Details

PTC announced PTC Windchill 11. Details

QuadriSpace announced Pages3D 2016, Publisher3D 2016 and Document3D Suite 2016. Details

SSI announced ShipConstructor 2016 R2. Details

Tacton Systems announced TactonWorks 4.5. Details

Theorem Solutions announced Unified Interface. Details



PTC and Bosch Software Innovations announced an alliance. Details 


ANSYS announced that this year's Software 500 index positioned ANSYS at 106th place in recognition of 2014 software and services GAAP revenue of $936 million. Details

Centric Software, Inc. announced that it has been named as a winner of the 2015 Red Herring Top 100 Global list. Details

EOS announced that, at the ceremony for the "Game Changer Award", the prize in the "Challengers" category went to EOS. Details

John Stark Associates announced "Big Data and PLM". Details

MSC Software Corp. announced that e-Xstream engineering's Digimat-VA won an innovation award at CAMX 2015. Details

Sopheon announced that it was listed in Software Magazine's 2015 Software 500. Details

ZWSoft announced a settlement with Autodesk. Details



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