Managing Product & Process Record, BPM Project Objectives, Adaptive Automotive Production

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2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               August 2, 2010 - Vol13 #9

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Managing the Product and the Process Record: The Need for PLM in Downstream Processes
by Chuck Cimalore

It is well known that getting a product to market quickly is critical to a company's success. There are many steps involved in this process and manufacturers need to continuously find areas to improve upon in order to meet their product goals. One area that is often overlooked is product test and assembly. Even automated test and assembly processes can take considerable time and effort to prepare, document, and describe all of the required steps and procedures. Since many manufacturers rely on outsourced partners for test and assembly, inherent problems such as lack of access to product data, time zone/availability issues, and language barriers can often lead to delays in product release schedules.

Describing and documenting the procedures involved in a product's test and assembly process are often referred to as BOM Routing. BOM Routing allows the manufacturer to split a product Bill of Material (BOM) into a series of operations and sequences to describe how a particular assembly process/step is to be performed and which materials are consumed by each step. Some refer to such descriptions as recipes, since it draws many parallels to the culinary world.

For many manufacturers, routing information is created in Material Requirement Planning (MRP) systems while others will use custom applications or spreadsheets. Many of these legacy systems lack the ability to link the routing data to engineering information such as CAD drawings, behavioral parameters, and vendor specifications / datasheets. This information is typically stored in a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system. Moreover, manufacturers have begun using graphical depictions (photos, images, and drawings) to further describe complex test and assembly procedures and assist with language barrier / translation issues. The ability to view a picture of a particular procedure along with (or in lieu of) written instructions - a capability not commonly available in MRP/ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems - can help eliminate mistakes and ensure a higher level of quality.

Tying BOM Routing to the Product Record with PLM
PLM systems have traditionally focused on engineering and product data management processes. As PLM has evolved, and its functionality has grown to encompass more information management across an organization, there is an obvious fit for PLM to support downstream processes such as BOM Routing. PLM provides a central location to manage all of the information associated to a product, automates processes, and provides tracking capabilities to easily capture and resolve issues. Because PLM manages information electronically, paper-based, error-prone processes can be eliminated. 

Typically, the PLM system is where BOMs are created and revisions of the BOMs are managed. The natural evolution is to have the PLM system provide the BOM Routing functionality to define test and assembly operations and sequences in order to link these processes back to engineering data stored within the PLM system. This can provide test and assembly personnel with the ability to easily view documents, drawings, and pictures directly from the PLM vault. Using PLM as the source for BOM Routing also offers the ability to validate all Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) and new BOM revisions with the routings/work instructions.

Integrating with ERP/MRP
Integration between PLM and ERP/MRP is still important to effectively manage routings because cost and timeline information is driven from ERP/MRP systems. Most companies with both PLM and ERP/MRP systems in place have established an integration process which passes new and updated BOMs and revisions from PLM to ERP/MRP. Passing routing information is a simple extension of that integration and allows both systems to contain synchronized BOM and routing information.

Key Benefits of Managing BOM Routing with PLM Technology

  1. Link routing information directly to engineering data/product record
  2. Provide graphical depictions for accurate assembly
  3. Revision-based routing to maintain revision history
  4. Automated Change/ECO process to verify/update routing information
  5. Electronic workflow approval process
  6. Dynamic BOM validation to identify inventory issues
  7. Create Corrective Actions dynamically from routing operations
  8. Eliminate paper print outs



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

BPM Project Objectives
by Scott Cleveland

There has to be a reason for a company to embark on a Business Process Management [BPM] project. Otherwise you would never start one.

Tips for starting your BPM Project:

  • Identify the problem. What needs to change so that the problem will either go away or become manageable? Some process either takes too much time or is mistake-prone or is not customer-friendly, etc.
  • Translate those needs into an objective. Maybe shorten the process cycle time by 50%?
  • Identify meaningful metrics so that you can measure your success against your objective
  • Measure the current process to record the "before" baseline
  • Gather metrics to assess your ongoing success
  • Learn from the results
  • Make the necessary process improvements that will help you achieve your objectives

There is virtually no chance that you can achieve process perfection on the first pass, so give that up. Do the best you can and then make the necessary improvements to your process as you go. This "process" will continue indefinitely because "change" happens.

In this uncertain economy, effective process management is a key ingredient to success that allows you to break out as a market leader.

Your Thoughts....

What steps has your company taken to be a market leader?



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

CL2M Case Study 9 : BOL Adaptive Production of Automotive Components
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 enable adaptive production of automotive components.

Malfunctions, premature wear, expensive maintenance, and failures of products during their middle-of-life (MOL) phase are closely connected with the design of the product, its production process and the production system used to carry out this process. These processes can be improved by closely tracking the status of products during their usage. If this information loop is properly closed, the data collected can be transformed into knowledge, useful for identifying product criticalities, their causes and for providing practical guidelines for the product improvement.

This application closes the information loops between the experience gained in the product's middle-of-life (MOL) and end-of-life (EOL) phases and the decisions needed to adapt the production system in the beginning-of-life (BOL) phase.

A car manufacturer buys, from its supplier, the main engine components of its cars, such as the upper and the lower cylinder heads, camshaft carriers and engine blocks. The component of interest in this application is represented by the 4-cylinder engine head of a multi-jet engine. The main goal of the application is to support the component supplier using a DSS (see PROMISE Decision Support System) in the preparation of a more accurate technical/commercial offer to the manufacturer in response to a request for product modification. Such a request implies the modification of the supplier's production systems. The DSS gives support in terms of a cost estimate for the modification and the identification of a robust production system adaptation.

Without this support, many modification requests may not be realised since they were not considered in the design phase of the production system. Often the production system is too rigid, having been conceived on the basis of the product instead of the set of possible product evolutions during the product's life. This is a significant obstacle to the closure of the information loops mentioned above, because it may not be economic to modify the production system. A decision support system is therefore needed in the BOL phase, in order to guide the decisions concerning the adaptation of the production system configuration to these modification needs.

The DSS developed for this application performs the following functions:

  • Analysis of the impact of a modification request on product machining times in order to identify how the modification changes the product manufacturing processes.
  • Analysis of the impact of a modification request on the production rate of the manufacturing system and calculation of the new capacity of the adapted production system.
  • Analysis of the impact of a modification on production cost.
  • Selection of the most effective system adaptation to respond to the current product modification request. This task is very complex and the time available is short, therefore the DSS explores a wider range of possible alternative solutions. Previously, the adoption of a sub-optimal solution may have caused the supplier to run its production system at non-optimal conditions or to lose the bid for the modification.
  • Selection of the most effective system adaptation to respond to predicted future requests for product modification.
  • Shares information and knowledge among all the technicians participating to the adaptation process. This reduces the lead time of the modification request because information is more quickly accessible and concurrent engineering concepts can be fully adopted.

The advantages delivered by the DSS can be translated in the following business benefits for the supplier:

  • Lower production costs owing to the adoption of optimal solutions for adapting production systems.
  • Increased revenue owing to reduced lead times for requests for product modification, which in turn leads to an increase in the number of offers accepted by the supplier's customers.
  • Increased profit owing to improved accuracy in setting the price for a modification.

In principle, the methodologies and tools implemented in this demonstrator are also applicable to many other production scenarios. They can be exploited wherever there is a frequent need of product modification, either in cases where the new product cannot be technically produced by the existing system configuration, or where this can be done only by incurring significant losses in the system performance and quality offered.

Registered users who are logged in to will be able to access the full public text of this PROMISE demonstrator case study by following this link: Case Study 9: BOL Adaptive Production of Automotive Components. There is no charge for registration.

In the next issue of the 2PLM newsletter, I will present the tenth and last in this series of case studies, dealing with the application of PROMISE technologies to support middle-of-life predictive maintenance for white goods.



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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Dassault Systemes reported IFRS unaudited second quarter results. Total IFRS revenue was Euros 385.6 million. Details

EMC reported financial results for Q2 2010. Revenue was $4.02 billion. Details

Geometric Ltd. announced its Q1 FY 2010-2011 financial results. Revenues were USD 29.59 Mn. Details

Lectra announced Q2 revenues of Euro 48.9 millions. Details

PTC reported results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 3, 2010. Revenue was $243.0 million. Details

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Pilgrim Software, Inc. announced that Cubic Corporation will deploy Pilgrim's web-based SmartSolve platform. Details

Planisware announced LG Display selected IFT's solution, based on Planisware, for supporting its entire R&D management process. Details

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Siemens PLM Software announced that Chrysler Group LLC has selected Siemens PLM Software's technology for product design and development. Details

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ANSYS announced the release of Ansoft Designer 6.0. Details

AVEVA announced the latest release of AVEVA Plant. Details

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Kubotek USA announced the Validation Tool ECO product. Details

Lectra announced the launch of the PLH, and the PLF, available in two versions - PLF Auto and PLF Furniture. Details

Lightworks announced the preview of two new products: Lightworks Alto and Lightworks Architect. Details

MSC.Software announced that MD Nastran 2010 is released. Details

ShipConstructor Software Inc. announced the release of ShipConstructor 2011. Details

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Z Corp. announced the ZPrinter 150 and ZPrinter 250. Details



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Celeritive Technologies, Inc. announced the appointment of LCR Sales Associates Inc. as a manufacturer's representative for VoluMill. Details

Cortona3D announced a reseller agreement with DIGINEXT. Details

Cortona3D announced a partnership with Xyltus. Details

Extensible CAD Technologies announced SolidVision Inc. has joined the InspectionXpert and Office2PDM Reseller Program. Details

Lightworks announced the development of their partnership with Caustic Graphics. Details

 Product                         Lifecycle                         Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product                         Realisation

Nikon Metrology and Verisurf Software announced a partnership. Details

PARTsolutions LLC announced that PARTsolutions LLC and DME Company LLC have extended their partnership. Details

Siemens PLM Software and ModuleWorks announced ModuleWorks Bridge for Parasolid. Details

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ANSYS, Inc. announced that Massachusetts-based Terrafugia used ANSYS engineering simulation software. Details

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Catalog Data Solutions announced over 20% increase in revenue for the first half of 2010 over the first half of 2009. Details

Creaform announced that its technology has obtained the National Institute of Metrology certification. Details

INUS Technology, Inc. announced that its worldwide revenue for the first half of 2010 represents a more than 50% jump from the same period in 2009. Details

The Khronos Group announced the release of the OpenGL 4.1 specification. Details

GlobalSpec announced it has been named to the "Top Ten" of the 2010 Media Power 50 list. Details

Informative Graphics Corp. announced it joined the Extensible Markup Language (XML) Project of The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). Details

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