September PLM Event, Standards and Synergy, BPM & PLM, Value of PLM/ERP Integration and Collaboration (9)


2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               March 28, 2011 - Vol13 #26

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September PLM Event Planning
by John Stark
Our planning for the The Geneva International Product Lifecycle Management Conference and Exhibition is continuing.

One of the challenges of this event, which will be held at the CERN site in September 2011, is to avoid disturbing the everyday activities of the thousands of people working on the site. Another challenge, since the event is being held in an industrial environment, not a Conference Centre, has been to find enough space for the Conference plenary and parallel sessions, and the Exhibition.

So much for the challenges. What about the opportunities?

As the subject of the Conference on September 6-7 is the implementation of PLM in industry, it's a great opportunity to hold it in an industrial environment. To enable leading-edge research, CERN has to develop and manage millions of items of many types – such as electronic, electrical, software, mechanical, chemical and infrastructure. And this in an environment familiar to most industrial organisations – involvement of many design and supply partners, a need for innovation, compliance with regulations, huge amounts of data, international teamwork, time pressure, cost pressure ....

A second opportunity for the event is to show PLM in practice. On September 5, we plan PLM-oriented visits at CERN. These will enable participants to see PLM in action across the lifecycles of various products.

Another opportunity for the Conference is to have presentations from several speakers from the same organisation. In most Conferences, there's just one speaker from each company. That limits the level of detailed coverage of the product lifecycle. Among the total of thirty to forty speakers at the Conference, we plan to have four or five speakers from CERN.

The Exhibition offers yet another opportunity. As well as highlighting new technology, and showing what they've implemented in other organisations, exhibitors will be encouraged to show what they've implemented, or could implement, at CERN.

The event is planned to help participants learn about PLM, exchange experience, and find out how to apply PLM best in their organisations. It will address PLM experience, best practice and evolution across a wide range of products and industries, and across the product lifecycle.

By the way, how about your planning? Have you planned to be at the The Geneva International PLM Conference and Exhibition on September 5-7, 2011?


If you're interested in participating, please contact John Stark.

Standards and Synergy
by Roger Tempest
As hosts and locations are proposed for the global programme of PLM standards workshops, a natural synergy is starting to appear. The first two events, in the Nordic region and Germany, are strongly user-oriented. They will focus on formalising the best-practice methods that leading companies have developed internally within their own implementations, with the objective of generating new standards that can be applied throughout the extended customer and supply chains.

With two workshops so close together, they will act as a kind of joint entity. The results of the first will form part of the working material of the second, and the results of both will be combined. This is the first synergy, and it will produce a platform of user-based methodologies that will be carried through the rest of the series.

The third location, in the UK, will draw in one of the world's most powerful drivers of PLM standardisation - the Aerospace and Defence industry. There is a continuing debate between procurers, providers and software vendors about how PLM can be applied across the complex and changing landscape of defence contract alliances in a way that will be open and accurate for decades to come. The UK workshop will provide a platform to help resolve this, and will also attract British companies from other industries to their home event.

By now the programme will have embraced the problems of how new PLM standards should relate to existing, more mature standards such as PLCS and S1000D. These issues are just as important in the USA, and a co-hosted event with a US standards organisation will provide the "bridge" across the Atlantic. The American workshop will leverage the UK results, and extend the new standards scenario in a way that can be taken onwards into further US events.

To add to the synergy of the core programme, other features will be added to the mix. The German workshop will include the subject of how the academic community can advance PLM, in support of the PLM scenario of ten years into the future. There will be separate workshops on PLM-ERP and PLM Maturity to formalise the knowledge of these important areas.

Participants at any event get all of the other results from the series, giving them a global picture and, by the end of the year, a completely new toolkit of working standards that address the current problem areas of PLM. The events are completely open, so you can go to any one in the series, whether you are a user, vendor, service provider or academic. To get more information, or to find out how to take part, contact

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

by Scott Cleveland
A product's life begins with an idea and it moves through design, manufacture, customer support and stops with an end of life declaration. This is the most complex [expensive] process that exists in any manufacturing company. The entire process may not be well defined, but Engineering's piece, the engineering change process, will be.

For years, the engineering change process was a paper based process. Today, a large number of companies have embraced PLM software to manage that change process. And a terrific return on investment easily justifies the expenditures.

However, a product lifecycle encompasses more than just engineering.

A typical cycle could start with a customer asking a sales person for a special part or some new part. The sales person will present the request to Marketing. If Marketing thinks this is a good idea, they will talk with Engineering to determine if the new part can be engineered. I would expect 2 other signoffs - Manufacturing to agree that it is manufacturable, and Finance to confirm that they can make money on the new part.

Assuming that everyone agrees, a change request will be written. With the engineering change process well defined, the bill of materials and any supporting documentation will be made available to Manufacturing. The product gets manufactured and goes to Shipping. Finance will do the billing, and Customer Service now owns the responsibility for the product. A customer complaint may start a new change request.

Most companies are not managing their product lifecycle beyond the Engineering department.

If your company already has PLM software in place, the marginal cost of extending its use to manage more of a product's lifecycle can be easily cost justified. Just having visibility into the product lifecycle will provide huge advantages to your company.

Your Thoughts....

Does your company use PLM software to manage their product lifecycles? If so, what was your experience? Have you extended it to more than just Engineering?

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

Maximizing the Value of PLM/ERP Integration and Collaboration (9)
by Dick Bourke
Part 9: MES to the Systems Mix
Past columns identified manufacturing execution systems (MES) in the context of product lifecycle management (PLM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Now, let's explore MES as another major platform in the continuing quest for competitive excellence.

MES is the information technology to help manage manufacturing operations; the term manufacturing operations management (MOM) is also used to identify these applications. The depth and scope of MES/MOM applications can vary broadly, but its core is the detailed planning and execution functions for work-in-process – defining bills of resources (BoR) and data collecting and reporting, including for product genealogy and lifecycle status. Extended capabilities add visual work instructions, quality criteria and connectivity to production equipment for real time monitoring, to cite a few.

MES Arises
Why the increasing interest in MES? The consensus of opinions and surveys indicates two general reasons: 1) continuing competitive pressures driving the call for more efficient operations management, such as reducing scrap and rework, and 2) more MES software with expanded functions.

In the past, usually large companies with demanding requirements for detailed work-in-process information energized the need for comprehensive MES, e.g., in highly complex and regulated companies, for instance, aerospace/defense, automotive and medical.

ERP systems didn't provide sufficient detail to help manage these complex operations efficiently. "Do It Yourself" (DIY) extensions to ERP were the expensive solution because comprehensive MES software was not available. Now, more commercially available MES software negates the DIY approach.

The recent Logica MES Product Survey identified about sixty packages from PLM, ERP and MES software vendors, with wide ranges of industry focus, capabilities and costs. Also, acquisitions and partnerships are a sourcing factor to consider, for instance, Dassault (PLM vendor) just acquired Intercim (MES vendor).

What's more, MES software vendors Apriso, iBaset and CIMx report rising interest for this software in other sectors, such as industrial equipment, and by small/medium business (SMB) companies.

With the escalating interest in MES, however, comes "turf wars". Avoiding these potentially devastating "turf wars" calls for comprehensive implementation planning that embraces healthy doses of cultural change management.

Implementation Planning
An essential step is to gain a fresh – and objective – understanding of the current and probable future roles of each of the three inter-related systems in the total corporate vision: PLM for product innovation, MES for detailed operations planning and execution, and ERP for high-level operations management.

Additionally, all of the elements of comprehensive planning apply, particularly the prerequisite to link the MES vision to corporate goals, as stated in the MESA report, MESA Metrics that Matter Revisited. Two other significant planning considerations include:

  • Achieving product configuration integrity that mandates integrating the total product life cycle "As" statuses: Designed, Planned, Built and Maintained. Presently, neither PLM nor ERP individually can completely meet this need, just pieces. Therefore, integration with MES functions will be required for total integrity.
  • Designating the system of record (SoR), discussed in previous columns regarding PLM and manufacturing process management (MPM). In some circumstances, MES is considered for this purpose, as recognized by Julie Fraser, a noted MES industry analyst: "As-Built is a critical phase of the lifecycle, particularly for products that may require maintenance or have safety implications requiring a recall. MES is usually the system of record for this phase."

Furthermore, planning must be comprehensive; Julie Fraser confirms one of the pitfalls of improper planning: "To speed up implementations, some companies try to focus only on the plant's needs and treat integration as a second step. Because MES/MOM systems often have capabilities that ERP and PLM do also, it is important to at least decide which system will be the master of which data and have a vision. Conducting integration with implementation is the safest approach."

Final Thought
For a significant advance in the quest for competitive excellence, MES can be a major contributor – when properly unified with PLM and ERP.


Contact Dick at

Contact Julie at

For more detail, see Additional Sources of Information

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 Product                         Lifecycle                         Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product                         Realisation

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