Preface to a New Series, Product Data: Finding It - Using It with Search Engine Solutions, Getting Leaner with a PLM Project, PLM Success Tips

   

2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               June 18, 2012 - Vol15 #6

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Preface to a New Series  
Over the past decade, Dick Bourke of Bourke Consulting Associates has been a frequent contributor to 2PLM, writing on a wide variety of subjects such as: Maximizing the Value of PLM and ERP: Integration and Collaboration ; Product & Portfolio Management ; Configurability Strategy: A Competitive Advantage ; Product Configurators; and systems planning, selection and implementation.

It's a pleasure to welcome him back for a new multi-part series titled, "Product Data: Finding It - Using It by Deploying a Search Engine Solution." The series will address subjects such as "Search Engine Solutions - How They Work, What is the Value?" and "How do SESs Relate to PLM and Other Systems".

 

There'll be several articles, and a Q&A session or two, depending on reader response.

The content and level of this series is primarily intended for any reader looking for a brief introduction to the basic concepts and the key issues. More experienced practitioners may benefit from the opportunity to "stand back from the trees to look at the forest."


 
Product Data: Finding It - Using It with Search Engine Solutions
by Dick Bourke
 
Part One: Introduction

Why this Series?

With a vast amount of product data existing in engineering and manufacturing companies, a critical concern is how to find specific data for fully informed decision-making – in a timely manner.

The list of problem symptoms seems endless. Readers may easily recognize such frantic expressions as:

  • "Where, oh where did I file those documents?"
  • "What, another part number? Don't we already have one that can be used or modified?"
  • "I found the CAD drawing, but I need all related documentation – now!"

Surveys abound attesting to the wasted time of knowledge workers, particularly design and development personnel, constantly seeking needed data – often a frustrating or futile effort. CIMdata estimates engineers spend up to 30% of their time searching for data; then they spend up to 50% total time including validation.

To tackle the problems of product data accessibility, companies can now deploy technology-based applications that quickly find this data stored in its many forms throughout the enterprise's Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. I call these applications Search Engine Solutions (SESs).

Thus, the purpose of this series is to introduce these searching solutions and their importance to engineering and manufacturing companies. Some readers might like to jump immediately for answers to some important questions, such as, "What's in it for my company and me?" First, though, some background must be established about them.


Background
To start, I'll give a brief description of some basic terms and capabilities. A key point: SESs use semantic technology. Semantics is the study of the relationship of words in order to understand their meaning. Suffice to say, elements of semantics are a fundamental building block for SESs.

Google and Bing are well-known search engines – computer programs (algorithms) to search files and documents for keywords that meet search criteria – quickly. Search engines proliferate; currently there are more than 70 of them. They are general purpose, however, and most are not suitable – as is – for engineering and manufacturing search applications.

IDC (International Data Corporation) asserts:

"Search-based applications combine search and/or text analytics with collaborative technologies, workflow, domain knowledge, business intelligence, or relevant Web services. They deliver a purpose-designed user interface tailored to support a particular task or workflow." (Underlines are mine.)

Therefore, developing purpose-designed solutions appropriate for engineering and manufacturing enterprises is a significant step forward. Their core is a powerful general-purpose search engine enhanced to create a focused solution. These necessary and vital enhancements include a tailored user interface (UI), an array of connectors to provide widespread searching, and security controls. Other mandatory capabilities are thumbnail (visual) previews of CAD files, and the ability to display relationships among all entities in the enterprise databases and to navigate between them.

Initial enterprise semantic search solutions include Autonomy, Endeca (Oracle), Exalead (Dassault) and Goldfire (Invention Machine). Recently announced solutions are Actify, ActiveWorkspace (Siemens), Alcove9, Inforbix and VisiQuity (Novaquest). Geolus (Siemens) and ShapeSpace are specialized solutions based on geometric searching to identify similar parts.

Are There Issues?
Of course, there are issues to consider – later, but one perspective needs highlighting now: the relationship of SES to PLM. Already, there is a bit of confusion because some have identified data management as an SES function.But, an SES does not do data management (a function of the PDM component of PLM). Its strength is finding and using product data, not organizing and maintaining it. SES and PLM are complementary.

Additional issues and questions will be tackled later, for instance, to cite a few:

  • How should an SES coexist with PLM?
  • How do SESs relate to other product data-oriented systems, such as Master Data Management?
  • How do SESs negate costly and time-consuming data repurposing and migrating efforts to obtain search results?

As this series unfolds, I'll describe in more detail the "how" of purpose-designed search solutions and their importance to the entire knowledge worker community, comprising more than just the product development community. To accept the value (benefit) propositions for an SES compels more understanding of how these systems work and what they do – and, for the sake of clarity and understanding – what they can't do. In other words, let's have clear expectations.

What's Next?
In future columns, I'll continue with more detail on the capabilities, issues and values of SESs.

Questions are welcome.

You can contact Dick Bourke at dickb@bourkeconsulting.com.
 


Getting Leaner with a PLM Project
by John Stark
 
One of the objectives of a PLM Project may be to get leaner across the product lifecycle. There are usually opportunities for improvement in many areas. Below are typical examples of waste related to product data that shouldn't exist in the to-be environment. More examples can be found in Product Lifecycle Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product Realisation.

Overproduction
  • Creating data/documents that will never be used
  • Recreating data/documents that exist elsewhere
  • Producing drawings of a family of 12 parts, when a customer asks for 2

Excess transportation

  • Pushing information to everyone on a list, even if they don't need it
  • Unnecessary transportation of documents around the shop floor
  • Excessive use of cc: on e-mails with long attachments

Over-processing

  • Too much detail in a report
  • Too much detail on a design drawing
  • Creating data that has no effect on the product

Inventory
  • Building an inventory of unused information
  • Creating speculative part numbers that are never used
  • Creating data just-in-case

Movement
  • Walking around the office looking for drawings and other information
  • Travelling to a customer site to collect data
  • Attending status review meetings

Defects

  • Writing reports that contain errors
  • Entering incorrect numbers and incomplete information
  • Using an erroneous data model

Waiting

  • Waiting for sign-offs
  • Waiting to read a report
  • Waiting for a document that is in a bottleneck

As part of the PLM Project, procedures can be put in place to avoid such waste reappearing in the future environment.
 


PLM Success Tips
by Scott Cleveland
 
Alan Earls, ebizQ contributor, posted his tips for BPM [business process management] project success. His list follows....

- Engage your stakeholders
- Address both human and BPMS blind spots
- Tie BPMS to branding and communication
- Figure out how to integrate BPMS, SOA, and other infrastructure elements
- Start with manageable goals
- Lock in management support
- Have a plan for granularity and analytics

My Thoughts....
BPM projects and PLM [product lifecycle management] projects have a lot in common. From my first hand experience, I can attest that the tips in the above list also apply to a PLM project.

However, whether we are talking BPM or PLM, an internal Champion is missing from this list.

PLM projects begin with the internal Champion. The Champion engages the stakeholders and locks in management support. 

 

The Champion sets up manageable goals, addresses blind spots and has a plan for analytics. The Champion makes sure that the solution incorporates the key values and principles of the company - those that differentiate it from its competitors.

A great 'roll out' plan smoothes adoption. No one likes change and the easiest path for the user community is to complain about this project. It is the Champion who executes a plan that elicits excitement in the user community. Branding and Communication - it is the job of the Champion to package up the solution in such a way that the user community can't wait to get their hands on it.

As you can tell, the more successful the Champion is at their job - the easier it is to roll the solution out company wide.

Your Thoughts....
But, that is just my opinion and I could be wrong - what's your experience been?

 

 

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

 

 


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PLM News

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Corporate

Autodesk, Inc. announced the acquisition of Vela Systems. Details 

Financial

ESI Group announced that revenue in the 1st quarter of 2012/13 was Euro 21.2 million. Details

IGE+XAO Group announced, for the third quarter of the 2011/2012 financial period, consolidated turnover at 5,990,414 euros. Details

 

People

CONTACT Software announced a new general sales manager, Stephan Roth. Details 

Implementations

Altair announced that Creation UK deployed Altair's HyperWorks simulation tools. Details

ANSYS announced use of its software by Speedo. Details

Aras announced that SUB10 Systems Limited has selected the Aras PLM solution suite. Details 

CADENAS PARTsolutions, LLC announced the launch of Universal Air Filter's online 3D CAD configuration modeling tool. Details

Intergraph announced that PTTME has implemented a combination of SmartPlant Enterprise and Leica Geosystems laser scanning solutions for the operations and maintenance of its existing plants. Details

MSC Software Corp. announced that Design Manufacturing SpA utilized MSC Nastran. Details

NGC Software announced that Excelled Sheepskin & Leather Coat Corporation has completed rolling out NGC's Extended PLM software. Details

NGC Software announced that Alberto Makali has selected NGC's Global Enterprise Suite as an integrated solution for PLM and ERP. Details 

Developments

Accept Software announced Accept360 7.3. Details

AutoForm Engineering GmbH announced AutoFormplus R4. Details

CONTACT Software announced that CONTACT's Project Management synchronizes with SAP's Project System. Details

EON Reality announced the release of EON Creator 4.8. Details

Fishbowl Solutions, Inc. announced linkAccess, linkTuner and linkLoader for Windchill 10.1 and Creo 2.0. Details

Geometric Limited announced the release of CAMWorks Nesting. Details

Intergraph announced the release of Smart 3D 2011 R1. Details

IronCAD, LLC announced IRONCAD COMPOSE. Details

Kenesto Corp. announced Kenesto 2012. Details

Kubotek USA announced KeyCreator 2012. Details

Kubotek USA announced the new KeyCreator Analysis multiphysics simulation software. Details

Lattice Technology announced the release of XVL Studio Ver. 11.0a. Details

Lectra announced Lectra Fashion PLM V3. Details

LMS International announced it developed a hydraulic exciter to break down HVAC noise on a vehicle. Details

LMS International announced the release of LMS Virtual.Lab Rev 11. Details

MasterControl Inc. announced the release of MasterControl Mobile. Details

MathWorks announced a new version of SimMechanics. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced FloEFD v11.3. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced the Flowmaster Power and Energy product. Details

RTT announced the release of DeltaGen 11. Details

Siemens PLM Software introduced the Insight XT design data management solution. Details

Siemens PLM Software announced the release of Solid Edge software ST5. Details

Theorem Solutions announced CATIA V6 JT CADverter. Details 

Relationships

Actify Inc. announced that the company has become a founding member of the 3D PDF Consortium. Details

Altair announced the addition of Anaglyph's software LAP and CoDA tools to the applications available through the HyperWorks Partner Alliance. Details

Aras announced that PROLIM Corporation is a member of the Aras Partner Program. Details

Aras announced that Lattice Technology has joined the Aras Partner Program. Details

ASCON and LEDAS Ltd. announced a new distribution agreement. Details 

 Product                         Lifecycle                         Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product                         Realisation

Celeritive Technologies, Inc. announced that it has joined the PTC PartnerAdvantage Program. Details

Delcam and Spring Technologies announced a direct interface between PowerMILL and NC-SIMUL. Details

EOS and Cookson Precious Metals announced a partnership. Details

GoEngineer announced a partnership with Anark Corp. Details

OptiTex announced a new partnership with McNeel. Details

Smartscape Inc. announced that it has joined the 3D PDF Consortium as a governing member. Details

Zuken announced that it named Quadra Solutions as European CADSTAR Distributor of the Year. Details 

Other

AVEVA announced that it is celebrating its 45th anniversary. Details

CDS announced the extension of 3DModelSpace.com with a new Supplier Directory. Details

Delcam announced that it has expanded the range of equipment within the Advanced Manufacturing Facility at the company's Birmingham headquarters. Details

IndustryPigeon, Inc. announced the launch of IndustryPigeon.com, a Social Trade Network designed for industrial trade professionals. Details

Knovel announced that Siemens now provides access to Knovel's Web-based technical references to its 30,000 engineers and scientists worldwide. Details

LMS International announced it has joined the French Research Project AGeSys. Details

Missler Software announced that it has recently created Missler Software Inc. Details

MSC Software Corp. announced that the South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences will be using Adams. Details

ShipConstructor Software Inc. announced a new Knowledge Base. Details

Siemens PLM Software announced that the University of Tokyo won the NHK Robocon University Robot Contest using robots designed with Solid Edge software. Details

Sopheon plc, at its Annual General Meeting, reported 2011 revenues at £10.3m. Details

SPEC's Application Performance Characterization project group announced that it has released a new standard benchmark for evaluating the performance of systems running PTC's Creo 2.0 product design software. Details

Stratasys announced that CEO Scott Crump has been voted one of the Top 20 most influential people in the rapid technologies industry by TCT Magazine. Details

ZWCAD Design announced that the new APIs on ZWCAD+ are code level compatible with other mainstream CAD software. Details

3Dconnexion announced certified 3Dconnexion 3D mouse support in Inventor 2013. Details

3D Systems Corp. announced that its Cube 3D printer received the American Technology Award for outstanding achievement in Technology Manufacturing. Details 

 

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