Jim Heppelmann, 5 Reasons, PLM and You

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2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               June 7, 2010 - Vol13 #5

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Roger Tempest talks to Jim Heppelmann
In a short video supporting the PTC press release announcing his elevation to CEO, Jim Heppelmann observed:-

"I think the average person out there in the public has no idea what PLM is - yet it's pretty ubiquitous, and it really touches almost everything you interact with all day long."

This problem has been around for a long time, and applies to many 'non-PLM' people in business. As far back as 2005, a VP of Strategy at Enovia commented:-

"The market doesn't understand why it's doing PLM."

This obviously holds back the overall spread and adoption of PLM, so I asked Jim for his thoughts on how this might be addressed.

RT: When large corporations are aligning themselves internally to adopt or extend PLM, this lack of understanding must lengthen their decision time. Do you think it's possible to have a better "industry message" that will help PLM evangelists convince colleagues?

JH: Absolutely. Even though I think the term "PLM" is itself a little confusing, simply getting the industry to align behind "PLM" as a single term in favor of PDM, PIM, EDM, and a host of others was incremental progress. But we still have widely diverse definitions of what PLM means and what business processes it applies to. For example, CIMdata refers to companies like Autodesk, Cadence, and Synopsis as "PLM vendors", whereas I think they are not even in the PLM business. When we at PTC say "PLM", we are not including CAD in the definition but focusing instead on information management and business process automation and improvement solutions. So there is a lot more work to be done.

RT: Your CEO announcement made the Boston Herald, but could we reach the stage when PLM is routinely reported in the business pages of world newspapers? And if so, how would we get there?

JH: As PLM continues to grow as an industry, it will get to the point where more and more people take notice because it is becoming big and important, and thus merits investigation. I think we are starting to see that happening, particularly as the ERP market continues to mature and consolidate and become old news. At PTC, our Windchill PLM business will grow 30% to around $500M in revenues this year. A $500M business growing at 30% is big news irrespective of the type of business. People want to investigate.

RT: Do you think that PLM has developed differently in the USA, Europe and Asia, and would there be benefits in creating some form of structured "best practice exchange" to share the areas of success?

JH: I think there are some important differences. Japan, for example, seems to have differing views of PLM. In fact half the PLM market in Japan is owned by regional PLM companies rather than by the global PLM competitors we have everywhere else. At the same time, the larger global customer trend is toward "design anywhere, build anywhere" strategies that require people to work together with processes and tools that are common, or at minimum interoperable. And of course global supplier collaboration is key. I think that an exchange of best practices globally could help create common expectations and prepare companies to work together in globally distributed value chains.

RT: The PLMIG has championed the development of new PLM standards in areas ranging from fundamental PLM concepts to metrics. Do you see areas where new PLM standards are needed, and do you think that they would help the market grow faster?

JH: Having a common vocabulary, common concepts, and common metrics would all be helpful in driving PLM to be more mainstream. A common definition of "what is PLM" and what processes does it apply to, along with "what is in the scope of PLM" and "what is not PLM" would be a good place to start. Should a PLM solution by definition include program portfolio management (PPM) or requirements management? I think it should because this is all within the scope of information management and business process automation. On the other hand, I think that MCAD, ECAD, and CAE are all beyond the scope of PLM. In terms of other places where standards would help, I'd say PLM to PLM integration is important, as would be PLM to ERP integration.

RT: PTC has a strong vision of what is possible with PLM, but other vendors would also say the same. From the viewpoint of a user, this can present them with several powerful, but different, messages which they have to reconcile. Would there be benefits in having a common message, for general PLM understanding, that does not intrude on the competitive differentiators?

JH: Sure, I think that a framework that spells out the targeted business processes along with baseline and extended expectations for PLM would be useful. Perhaps something analogous to the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model from the Supply Chain Council, but for product development and PLM. Then consumers could compare each vendor to this framework. But finding the right level of granularity is important: having too much detail makes it as difficult as having too little. Keep in mind that many of the relevant processes change as you move from one manufacturing "vertical" to another, so it probably has to be done on a per-vertical basis as well.

RT: There is a new Product Structure Standard that sets out a natural logic for the evolution of data from PLM to ERP. Do you think that there is a need for more clarity and standardisation in this area?

JH: I think that a standard, user-approved model for PLM to ERP integration could be very useful. This is a point of some ongoing confusion because several well-known ERP companies claim to have PLM within their solution, though this rarely passes the consumer test when they attempt to use that functionality. Knowing where to draw the process coverage and technology lines between PLM and ERP, and then having a standard approach to integration could be very useful.

RT: This issue of 2PLM includes an article in support of PLM standards to assist SMBs. Do you think that PLM has progressed as well as it could have in the SMB marketplace, and what would improve its take-up?

JH: PTC's SMB PLM business has been a strong grower over the past several years, so there is definitely some take-up. We think that SMB's generally need something that is very simple to deploy and easy to own because they lack the IT infrastructure to implement the same solution a larger company might prefer. At PTC, we launched our SharePoint-based ProductPoint solution so that small companies could have a cost effective basic solution for data management and collaboration right within their SharePoint infrastructure. ProductPoint is off to a strong start within the SMB customer segment.

RT: PLM specialists from all parts of the industry invest their careers in PLM and seem to run the risk of narrowing their resume so that it is unusable elsewhere. Do you think that there should be recognised PLM qualifications and an industry body, as there are for engineers, lawyers and other professions?

JH: I've seen a number of people refer to their CMII certification from ICM, which shows you might be on the right track. CMII is useful but somewhat narrow and relatively local to the USA, so having a broader global industry body could be useful. PLM is broadening fast to include portfolio management, systems engineering, design strategy, supply chain strategy, quality strategy, manufacturing strategy, and even aftermarket service strategy. My view is that PLM shouldn't necessarily narrow a resume, it should become like an "MBA in how a manufacturing company works".

RT: Thank you.


Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. You can request more information or find out how to participate via standards@plmig.com

5 Reasons for Small to Mid-size Manufacturers to Adopt PLM
by Chuck Cimalore

By implementing a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system, companies both large and small, benefit by simplifying and shortening each phase of the product development process. However, deciding whether or not to adopt PLM software has been a challenge for smaller organizations due to a reputation of PLM being difficult to implement, requiring a great deal of resources to maintain and having excessive initial and long-term costs. The availability of PLM systems specifically designed for the small to mid-size market has helped to alleviate concerns and opened a door for Small to Mid-size Manufacturing Businesses (SMBs) to be able to take advantage of PLM, and realize the same benefits as their larger counterparts.

For SMBs who are hesitant to adopt PLM, this article offers the top five reasons why they should consider moving forward and investigate solutions (for their market), *For the purpose of this article, small to medium companies range from start-up to $500 million in revenue.

Reason 1: Reduce Independent Systems and Separate Silos of Data

PLM provides a central location to track and manage all product related information such as component data, Bill of Materials (BOMs), product documentation, engineering changes and revisions, quality issues, and compliance data. These systems reduce the number of manual/home-grown systems that are commonly used by SMBs (such as Excel spreadsheets, network files and folders, and paper process), for managing engineering documents/drawings, datasheets, and manufacturing files, and provide a single system for all users to access this information. Streamlining these data sources delivers more accurate product information, improves knowledge sharing and supports better design processes.

Reason 2: Improve Communication/Collaboration Among all Team Members

Many SMBs rely on relationships with a number of suppliers to help bring their products to market. PLM facilitates the secure sharing of product information among internal and external team members, streamlines the communication of information such as new products, changes, revisions, and configurations, and provides automated alerting and approval tracking processes. SMBs can be assured that accurate product information is available in real-time and allows outsource partners to truly function as a seamless extension of the SMB's product development team.

Reason 3: Meet Growing Compliance Requirements and Industry Standards
Regulatory requirements such as RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards create additional pressures for SMBs. These companies are faced with the challenge of how to handle their product design and development to meet existing and impending guidelines, and the cost of non-compliance can be detrimental to an SMB. In order to meet and maintain compliance, manufacturing companies need to manage data pertaining to the contents of purchased and manufactured goods, as well as document how products are built and modified. 

Complete historical data must be maintained on all goods and services. PLM systems facilitate compliance management by storing all compliance data, automatically tracking all product changes and providing the necessary auditing reports. This helps SMBs to alleviate the cost of managing compliance data and ensure proper processes are in place for successful audits. Regulatory auditors prefer that a formal system be in place for managing data and controlling processes. By leveraging a PLM system, SMBs can have the same formal compliance management capabilities as larger companies. A documented compliance process makes proving compliance much easier and also supports a smoother audit process by having all information readily available.

Reason 4: Gain a Competitive Advantage

PLM provides key functionality to streamline each phase of a product's lifecycle from product conception and design, to manufacturing and support, which reduces time-to-market, decreases product costs, dramatically reduces waste and rework, speeds New Product Introduction (NPI) cycles, and improves product quality. Getting new products to market faster is critical for success. PLM can help position an SMB to gain a competitive edge over larger competitors.

Reason 5: Solutions Designed for Small to Mid-size Manufacturers

Created with the SMB in mind, PLM solutions specifically designed for this market have a quicker implementation process and can have a company up and running within days or weeks with little or no disruption in operations. These PLM systems deliver price points and maintenance costs to support a faster Return on Investment (ROI) and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), while still providing robust functionality so it can carry a company from start up to the $500 million dollar revenue range with multiple manufacturing and design sites. PLM systems designed for SMBs are developed from an entirely different angle than a solution that has been scaled down from a larger system, which inherits the legacy foundation's implementation cycles and IT maintenance requirements.


Although industry focus has led to some misconceptions about PLM, SMBs are not limited to systems from larger vendors with scaled down versions of their products. Independent PLM software vendors whose products are specifically designed to meet the needs of SMBs eliminate the barriers that cause delay in adoption (cost, ease of use, scalability). PLM can have a direct impact on meeting product development goals, and implementing a solution early on positions SMBs for continued success.


Chuck Cimalore, the CTO and Co-founder of Omnify Software, is an expert in business-ready PLM solutions for small to mid-size businesses and has helped original equipment manufacturers streamline development cycles, accelerate product innovation and improve bottom-line profitability. Cimalore can be reached at 978-988-3800 or ccimalore@omnifysoft.com  

Product Lifecycle Management and You
by Jason Rosen
The essence of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is not new, and neither is the core functionality offered by supporting information systems. However, many design and manufacturing companies do not utilise these tools and methodologies in the best possible way.

Despite its fundamental role in the manufacturing enterprise, the activity of PLM has not been given significant attention by the Industrial Engineering (IE) profession. Yet, Industrial Engineers possess valuable skills that can help organisations make significant progress toward achieving the considerable benefits of PLM.

To share some of my PLM experience with the IE community, I wrote an article called "Product Lifecycle Management and You" for the January 2010 issue of "Industrial Engineer".

The publishers of "Industrial Engineer" have kindly agreed to make the article available to 2PLM readers. You can read it here.

Jason Rosen is an industry consultant and has taught courses on PLM to IE students at several academic institutions in Israel. For over a decade he has implemented and managed PLM processes and systems with companies in Israel.


The Return of Standards : an Opportunity for SMBs?
by Jean-Jacques Urban-Galindo
Standards had a special place at a recent PDT annual conference organised by Eurostep. There was a noticeable swing back to standards. It can help SMEs solve the problems they are faced with when they want to adopt digital tools and thereby improve their effectiveness. The multitude of proprietary tools used by OEMs raises insurmountable difficulties for small companies. These can be reduced by ensuring the interoperability of geometrical modellers and PDM (Product Data Management) applications, the first part of a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) strategy.

The PLM strategies of large companies are becoming, more and more, standards-based. The Volvo Group (excluding cars) showed a radical shift in its strategy: after thinking of basing their system architecture on a single vendor portfolio to handle all their PLM needs, they decided to target the cooperation of several tools working on a unified platform defined by Volvo themselves. The EADS Group chose, for all its subsidiaries, with the PHENIX program, a unique information systems architecture for PLM. The software selection process called for support of the ISO 10303 STEP AP239 model for the development and use of products. PSA Peugeot Citroen made a strategic decision, in 1997, to base its product description information systems architecture on the STEP standard AP214 (automotive product). This choice structured its new generation of information systems supporting Digital Engineering. It allowed the integration of tools from several vendors: SAP, Dassault Systems and Siemens. As in the case of EADS, standards are at the core of data exchange mechanisms within the supply chain. They ease the numerous collaborations that the Group has built up with other manufacturers (Fiat, Ford, BMW, Toyota, Mitsubishi).

Standards lead to greater efficiency. Several speakers at the PDT conference described the positive impact of standards on the costs of PLM information systems implementation. They are a microcosm of good practices. They result from the work of the world's experts. Using their product definition templates as a reference is a time saver.

Collaboration with other companies always raises the same questions. Standards help answer them. They enable sharing of a common model, a unified language and definitions that allow everyone to make the necessary efforts for alignment. And the road ahead will be shorter if the company's information system is already structured along the lines of the STEP model. Standards also provide useful input for analysis of the needs to revise a company's processes, and to appreciate the necessity of customisation of the functions included in vendor's software packages.

The STEP standards, thanks to the EXPRESS specification language, have limited the ambiguity of definition. Coherence is achieved by sharing the description of the product models. Their consistency is a guarantee of robustness, an essential quality when building an information system architecture.

The size of the standards' documentation should not deter: it's not proportional to the effort required to understand and implement them. The specifications are structured in a modular way that enables their gradual implementation. Their HTML format allows easy navigation from one concept to another according to the particular need.

SMEs can adopt the standards when defining their own strategies. With the growth of digital collaboration in product development, manufacture and use, standards are becoming increasingly unavoidable. Their maturity is now assured, and their selection by major OEMs will encourage their deployment.

Like large companies, SMEs can rely on standards when developing their strategic PLM roadmap. They will find:
  • recognised mechanisms for collaboration between companies
  • a lever to reduce development costs
  • a set of good practices to improve their internal processes
  • selection criteria to reduce the pressure from vendors of software packages

Jean-Jacques Urban-Galindo, previously with PSA, is now a consultant in Logistics & PLM.  

CL2M Case Study 5 : MOL Condition-based Predictive Maintenance for Trucks
by David Potter
This case study is based on one of the 10 commercial applications developed during the EU PROMISE Project. It briefly describes how common PROMISE technologies were applied in order to introduce a new philosophy of maintenance, where components are replaced according to the effective use of the vehicle. The concept of a “fixed mileage coupon” is replaced with a flexible coupon where the interventions to be performed are dynamically planned according to the actual level of wear of each component.
Conventional maintenance strategies consist of corrective and preventive maintenance. In corrective ones, the truck is maintained on an “as-needed” basis, usually after a major breakdown, while in preventive maintenance, components are replaced using a conservative schedule in order to avoid common failures. Although preventive maintenance programs increase system availability, they are expensive owing to frequent replacement of costly parts often before the end of their life. Another disadvantage is that it is usually time-based, while, frequently, the actual rate of wear depends on the type of usage rather than the duration.
Two levels of decision were planned:
  1. Optimised maintenance of a single truck, taking into account availability and maintenance costs, using predictive-maintenance algorithms.
  2. Optimised maintenance of a fleet of trucks, taking into account availability, garage availability and maintenance costs for all the trucks, using a scheduling-optimization algorithm.
PEIDs (Product Embedded Information Devices) are embedded into selected mechanical or electronic components on which such data as characteristics, material, component history and operating conditions can be stored. The component history includes information about the vendor, production batch, and date of installation on the truck. The operating conditions consist of data accumulated in a number of counters concerning the working conditions, and other data used to determine the state of the component.

Data are transmitted automatically to the so-called Ground Station via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). Data collected from the trucks is stored in the PROMISE PDKM (Product Data Knowledge Management) Server which manages information collected from the vehicle fleet during its entire life.

It is able to perform advanced data analysis, statistical elaboration and provide adequate decision. In particular the PDKM handles the following data:
  • Synthesis/statistics related to predictive maintenance
  • Vehicle/component mission profile description information
The Ground Station PC also includes the PROMISE Decision Support System (DSS) algorithms that determine the component performance degradation and the need of a replacement or of a maintenance intervention.
Mission profiles differ greatly from vehicle to vehicle (and component to component) depending on, among other factors, the distance travelled between stops, load, driving style and the terrain. Preliminary results on algorithms developed for Oil Life Management show that it is possible to treble the replacement interval in the most favourable cases compared to the delay prescribed with the fixed mileage coupon. This not only reduces maintenance material costs but also unnecessary vehicle maintenance stops leading to improved availability.
The scenarios studied have shown an increasing trend in the commercial vehicle and fleet market, in particular in the US and UK, towards the emergence of bigger fleets, managed by third-parties. Future opportunities for telemetric systems, remote diagnosis and maintenance management are growing. These are the driving forces which will sustain the growth of the development of continually improved and better performing Fleet Maintenance Systems, constituting an opportunity for companies involved in the production and marketing of FMS.  
Registered users who are logged in to cl2m.com will be able to access the full public text of this PROMISE demonstrator case study by following this link: Case Study 5: MOL Condition-based Predictive Maintenance for Trucks. There is no charge for registration.
In the next issue of the 2PLM newsletter, I will present the sixth in this series of case studies, dealing with the application of PROMISE technologies to end-of-life plastics recycling.

David Potter is Chief Technical Officer, Promise Innovation International Oy, and former Chairman of the Project Steering Board of the EU PROMISE Project.


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 Product                         Lifecycle                         Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product                         Realisation

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