PLM Workshop, Nordic and German Collaborative Events, Value of PLM/ERP Integration and Collaboration (7)


2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               February 14, 2011 - Vol13 #23

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PLM Workshop
by John Stark
Our PLM 2011 State-of-the-Art Workshop was announced last month. Although it was designed as a one-day Workshop, so far it's been presented as a two-day on-site Workshop and as a 4-hour Webinar. The two-day Workshop was for four PLM Team members in Europe. The Webinar was for a group of ten participants in the US.

Fortunately, the modular design of the Workshop allows it to be presented in different formats. There are four parts to the Workshop: The Evolution of PLM (2001-2011) ; PLM in 2011 ; Typical PLM Strategies and Activities in 2011 ; and Progressing with PLM in 2011. The first two sessions address "What is PLM?" and "Why PLM?". The other two sessions address "What should we do next in PLM?" and "How to Implement PLM?"

In the two presentations of the Workshop in January, the main interest of the participants was different. In each case, about one-third of the Workshop was customised to meet specific requirements. The resulting Workshops were rated "Excellent" and "Awesome".

Consider the PLM 2011 State-of-the-Art Workshop if your PLM Team, or another group of people in your company, wants to get a quick, concise overview of PLM.

To find out how the Workshop helps you understand the PLM State of the Art, identify high potential areas of PLM that are key to achievement of business benefits, and plan the next steps of your PLM project, contact John Stark at

Nordic and German Collaborative Events
by Roger Tempest
The global PLM Formalisation and PLM Showcase programme starts with two collaborative working events, one in the Nordic region and the other in Germany. PLM managers from different user companies will get together for 2 days to share their views and experiences in implementing PLM.

Every PLM team in a national or multinational company learns lessons about how to apply PLM well, and develops its own set of rules, methodologies and best practices so that everyone can work in an effective way. These are sometimes formalised to become internal corporate standards. However, because they are developed internally they are difficult to apply across the customer and supply chains, and because every company faces slightly different challenges - each company's standards are different.

We need to simplify PLM. The best way of doing this is to combine the knowledge from many implementations, and to shape the results into effective standards that everyone can use. By enabling users to share their experience directly, it will be possible to build a much greater PLM understanding than by working separately. New methods and tools can be developed which, in turn, can be used within future implementations to generate even better results.

The good news is that collaboration brings its own rewards. PLM managers like to share ideas, and the PLMIG events let you do this in detail for two uninterrupted days. The Nordic workshop aims to have about 10 user companies working together, with one or two delegates each. It is an open workshop, so that should attract some vendors or integrators into the mix, and we should achieve a working group of about 25 enthusiastic people.

This will create a landmark PLM discussion, and the structured format means that formal deliverables will be published after the event. The German workshop is being organised in parallel, and should be held soon afterwards. This will build on the Nordic results, and generate its own material. The series of events will continue in other countries during the year, and Nordic and German participants will receive ongoing summaries as the programme develops.

PLMIG events are open to participants from all areas of the PLM industry, and from any country. We are now in a short discussion phase to establish the workshop locations and the details of the agenda. If you would like to know more information, or to add your input, then contact

Roger Tempest is co-founder of the PLMIG. Membership of the PLMIG is available via


Maximizing the Value of PLM/ERP Integration and Collaboration (7)
by Dick Bourke
Part 7: Introduction to PLM as the System of Record

Before We Move Forward
The past columns in this series defined and discussed some highlights of best practice collaboration and integration of product lifecycle management (PLM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems - and recognized the emerging interest in manufacturing execution systems (MES).

Recall that this series is intended to be an introduction/ review of the concepts of PLM/ERP systems collaboration and integration. The "Additional Sources," cited at the end of this column, can provide you with numerous ways to gain further understanding.

Even with the economy rebounding, cost reduction is still a high priority. So is coping with relentless competitive pressures, such as reducing time-to-market that fuels the need for more efficient Collaborative Product Development (CPD) processes.

Now is the time, therefore, to explore using PLM as the System of Record (SoR). It is an expanded vision for unifying PLM/ERP - plus MES in some industry sectors. SoR is based on manufacturing process management (MPM) processes aided by software capabilities.

PLM as the System of Record - An Overview
At this time, there is no known industry-wide accepted definition/scope of PLM as the SoR. For this column, an SoR is the authoritative data source for a given data element. It is also known as the "single source of truth," storing the authorized version only once for use by all systems and all users.

The scope of SoR implementation, however, must be clarified relevant to an individual company's needs and ambitions. An Aberdeen report (2008) stated that scope could include many data elements/files of product definition: lifecycle stages, parts, routings, assembly instructions, labor and equipment resources, specifications, costs, quality, computer-aided-design (CAD) data and more.

When did the quest for PLM as the SoR begin? Since the days when engineering parts lists (EPL) on blueprints were "thrown over the wall" to manufacturing.

One result has been the constant concern to maintain product configuration integrity - acutely painful to achieve with non-integrated software systems and processes. 

Also, manufacturing had to restructure the EPL to meet its requirements for ERP processing, often different from the engineering view of the product structure. Alas, data "silos" were created, and the heated discussions began, "Who owns the BOM?"

Collaborative Product Development Associates (CPDA) nailed the issue in 1997: "But, the right way to approach the PLM/ERP integration problem is not to write costly integrations - the right way is "to change the way the product is represented, until it is represented in a form that an ERP system can interpret easily."

In other words - use MPM processes.

MPM in PLM as the System of Record: Introduction
MPM is the heart of PLM as the SoR concept. It is the collection of processes and technologies used to define how products are to be manufactured. It is an approach for unifying the eBOM/mBOM processes, and creating and maintaining the related information for bill-of-processes (BOP) for making parts.

Currently, both PLM and ERP systems have product definition functions - some similar by name, but not by capability. Both PLM and ERP have bill-of-material (BOM) management capabilities, yet with distinct differences:

  • The engineering version (eBOM) is the "As-Designed" view, as the engineer sees the product structure
  • The manufacturing version (mBOM) is the "As-Planned" view, the way manufacturing needs to structure the product for ERP in order to plan material requirements

What's more, the differences between the two versions must be recognized and accounted for to achieve complete product configuration integrity over the lifecycle of the product.

Final Thought
The potential strategic value of PLM as the SoR, with MPM processes, suggests a thoughtful evaluation of its use to boost a company's CPD environment. Some consulting firms, e.g., Gartner/AMR and CIMdata, among others, have endorsed the SoR vision. But, not all PLM/ERP system users see eye to eye on this issue.

In the next part, I will continue to examine this subject.

For more detail, see Additional Sources of Information

Contact Dick at


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