Standard for PLM Governance, PLM Conference & Exhibition Geneva, PLM: Not for Engineers?


2PLM Newsletter

John Stark Associates                                                                                                                                               June 6, 2011 - Vol14 #5

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A Standard for PLM Governance
by Roger Tempest
One of the first results of the PLMIG PLM Standardisation series is an international standard for PLM Governance. Participants at the launch workshop in Gothenburg on 24-25 May generated a core framework that can be applied as a standard methodology for integrating board-level and operational PLM.

The surprising thing is that the standard does not rely on restrictive rules, or formalised project management structures such as PRINCE2. It is simply a distillation of best practice management and oversight at all levels of a company. It gives CEOs and VPs clear visibility of PLM throughout the enterprise, without requiring them to deal with technical detail - and it provides the PLM Team with a natural mechanism for presenting PLM problems and issues to the Board in a clear and non-contentious way.

Because the standard is independent of company size, type, industry, or geography, it can be applied internationally. Therefore, whichever country you are based in, you can be sure that your management of PLM is as good as anywhere else in the world. For global corporations it can be used to ensure that PLM is applied equally well in all divisions, and in all of perhaps 30 or 40 worldwide sites. For smaller businesses, it is the start of a 'Path to PLM' that channels effective PLM adoption without re-inventing the wheel.

The breakthrough made by the Gothenburg group was to identify how the PLM Governance Standard can be generated by developing and adding to existing PLM tools, and using them together in a modular and intelligent way.

The core of the standard is the CEO Briefing Document, which not only explains PLM to a Board that does not understand, but shows the Board the documentation and reporting structure that they should expect to see.

For some companies, the Board already has its own view of PLM and would be insulted by the explanation. For others, the briefing will bring them up to speed. Once the Board understands and accepts PLM, it is perfectly reasonable for them to look at PLM progress at certain intervals during the year, and the reporting structure in the Briefing Document still applies for this. When a modified PLM Self-Assessment is added to the reporting requirements that the Board is advised to see, then the monitoring and review process can be extended throughout the enterprise. Advanced companies may enhance this by adding a degree of internal benchmarking.

None of this is onerous - the size of the standard itself is about 10 pages. There is no requirement for approval by ISO committee. The PLM Governance Standard is simply a definition of how to manage PLM well and thoroughly, and in a completely integrated way.

More information is available via


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

PLM Conference & Exhibition, Geneva, September
by John Stark
The PLM Conference and Exhibition will be held at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland on September 6-7, 2011. It will address PLM across the product lifecycle: innovation; development; manufacturing; use/support; retirement/disposal.

The Conference has four parallel tracks. With about 60% of the speakers for the Presentation Tracks now known, the provisional Agenda includes speakers from SMEs as well as from larger organisations such as Bobst, Bombardier Transportation, CERN, EADS, European Commission, Givaudan, Merck Serono, Mettler Toledo, Salomon, Schneider Electric, SR Technics, Synthes and Varian Medical Systems.


The preliminary version of the Conference Brochure (1 MB, PDF) is available for 2PLM readers here.

In mid-May, we started to approach potential exhibitors. We're currently in discussion with about 15 companies, and are already finalising the details of the participation of four exhibitors. If you're interested in exhibiting, or sponsoring the Conference, please review the details here.


If you would like to attend the event, please register here.

PLM: Not for Engineers?
by Henk Jan Pels
To my great surprise, engineers in general aren't interested in PLM.

The main function of PLM is to keep product data accessible. And, since long ago, manufacturing companies have had a special department for that purpose. It's often called "Archiving" or "Technical Product Data". That department issues standards for the formats of drawings, and for the contents of forms that must be completed before a new product can be released to Manufacturing. The people in that department check and archive all that data. Engineers consider that a dull task, but accept that if those people like to use computers for their work, and call that PLM, then that's their business.

Engineers are technical specialists who don't like their creativity to be disturbed by dreary administrative tasks, but are nevertheless willing to upload their CAD files to such a PLM system. However, filling in all kinds of metadata - that can be found in the CAD model by anyone who knows how to read it - is annoying and useless. As an engineer, I can fully understand that. Our challenge is to solve seemingly impossible problems, and our satisfaction is in finding solutions. Of course, you have to document that solution in a language that's understandable for common Production people, but don't ask us to fill in endless tables, because there are administrative people who like to do that much more than we engineers.

For a long time, I didn't understand why Engineering Managers didn't overload me with their thanks when I informed them that, if data was properly managed, the output of their people could be increased by 5 percent. I deliberately didn't say 50%, because I knew they would have taken offence. I learned my lesson when I developed an Engineering Performance Measurement method, and was looking for environments to apply it. The Engineering Managers who I approached always found excellent reasons why it wasn't a good time for such an experiment in their department. The common unspoken reason appeared to be: "Even if there are any inefficiencies in my department, I've no need for an academic report that will give that message, in black and white, to my boss."

I understand that top management only gets interested in PLM on the basis of a project proposal with an impressive ROI. However, already, in the early PDM days, we discovered that ROI calculations, based only on saving engineering hours, weren't convincing. PLM vendors may state that expensive errors are prevented by using their software, but any company will tell you that they never have that kind of error. A reduction of engineering lead time sounds nice for a ROI calculation, but the benefits are always classified as intangible, since it isn't cost reduction. Compared to PLM vendors, ERP vendors are in a much better position. Their system is the toy of the Chief Financial Officer, who needs ERP to control the flow of money and other valuable materials in the company. A proper bookkeeping system doesn't need ROI, it's obviously the first thing you need to run a business. 

If, in a last desperate attempt to show the value of PLM, you argue that it enables you to increase product variety and thus better serve the customer, Management answers that their main policy is product standardisation, since that reduces manufacturing cost. What I never understood is that, at the same time, Management rewards Sales people based on turnover, and not profit, motivating them to offer the most costly customer-specific requirements for the standard price.

PLM doesn't improve the product, but the product development process. PLM isn't a design methodology, but a design process enabler. PLM prevents double work and process delays by enabling better communication and finer coordination of the process. However, if you ask engineers how their process is organised, they answer by explaining their own design and thinking process. If you ask how they coordinate their activities with those of their colleagues, they explain how they define interfaces and resolve clashes. But that isn't what you asked for, because it's still design methodology, and that's not the issue. What you want to know, for the sake of PLM, is how they synchronise their activities. Strangely enough, they don't know themselves, because they leave that to the Project Manager. In other words, engineers aren't aware of any design process at all. And neither are Project Managers! Their task is to control cost and time. Project Managers are deemed successful when the project terminates within plan and budget. For that purpose, they plan sufficient slack to be able to reach the targets, even when engineers spoil the plans. Project Managers aren't interested in reductions of costs and leadtimes, because that implies a reduction of their margin for error, and a higher risk of failure.

So, I still dream of a company with engineers who don't so much want to shape Matter to their wishes, but who want to put Technology to the service of the customer. And I dream of Management that doesn't aim primarily at cost reduction, but that wants to make products for which customers really want to pay. I believe that such a company would embrace PLM to enable the capability to design and manufacture products that fulfil the unique dreams of their customers. The problem is that customers pay for products, and not for PLM, while engineers and their management, who could pay for PLM, aren't aware of the possibilities. As long as this situation continues, PLM remains a solution, searching for a problem.

That, precisely, is the problem with PLM!

To be continued. Henk Jan Pels is Associate Professor, Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, Information Systems, at the Technical University of Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He can be contacted here


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PLM News

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PTC announced it completed its acquisition of MKS Inc. Details  


AVEVA Group plc announced its audited results for the year ended 31 March 2011. Revenues were £174.0 million. Details 


ASCON announced use of KOMPAS-3D by Wolfgang Buscher Metallbau. Details

CCE announced that Magnuson Products uses CAT5Works to collaborate with its OEM. Details

Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. announced that Thule has standardized on SolidWorks software. Details

ICP Solution GmbH announced it will implement Oracle's PLM for Industrial Manufacturing (Agile PLM) at the SGL Group - The Carbon Company. Details

Intergraph announced use of SmartPlant Enterprise by the Kuwait National Petroleum Company. Details


Majenta PLM announced it implemented NX design software at John Shuttleworth Yacht Designs. Details

MathWorks announced that Toyota has transitioned to the MathWorks R2010b release. Details

NGC Software announced that Vesi Incorporated has selected NGC's Extended PLM and ERP software. Details

VISTAGY, Inc. announced that Nordex has purchased FiberSIM software for composite wind turbine blades. Details

VISTAGY, Inc. announced that MBDA has purchased FiberSIM software. Details

Z Corp. announced that Stanley Black & Decker is using 3D printing technology from Z Corp. Details


ASCON Group announced KOMPAS-3D V13. Details

Bentley Systems, Inc. announced it is extending its ProjectWise V8i synchronized collaboration and Bentley Navigator V8i review and markup capabilities to users of mobile devices, such as iPads. Details

CoFluent Design announced the v4.0 of its flagship product, CoFluent Studio. Details

ESI Group announced the release of its PAM-STAMP 2G Version 2011. Details

Formtek announced enhancements to its Engineering Data Management solution for Alfresco, including a new Formtek EDM Connector for AutoCAD. Details

Gerber Technology introduced Yunify. Details

Informative Graphics Corp. announced the launch of two new solutions: Redact-It Enterprise and Net-It Enterprise for Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Details

Kineo CAM announced KWS-HPP. Details

Lectra announced the release of Versalis Fashion. Details

Materialise announced the newest release of the Mimics Innovation Suite. Details

MathWorks announced a new version of SimDriveline. Details

MecSoft Corp. announced the release of VisualXPORT for Autodesk Inventor 2012 software. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced expansion of the company's Capital product suite. Details

ZWSOFT announced the release of ZW3D 2011. Details

3D Systems announced a new desktop 3D Printer; the BfB 3000 plus. Details

3D Systems Corp. announced availability of Accura CastPro. Details 


AVEVA and Logica announced that they have signed a Strategic Alliance agreement. Details

Catalog Data Solutions Inc. and Ecreativeworks announced a partnership. Details

CONTACT Software announced it has intensified its cooperation with the Virtual Vehicle Research Centre (ViF). In April, a joint project on the topic of digital requirements management was launched. Details

Etrage LLC announced that Visible Edge, Inc. has agreed to become a Value Added Reseller of Etrage's products and engineering automation services in New England. Details

 Product                         Lifecycle                         Management: Paradigm for 21st Century Product                         Realisation

Geomagic announced the availability of its Geomagic Wrap OEM Edition software. Details

JETCAM International s.a.r.l. announced the signing of Softprod Tecnologia as a reseller for its aerospace range of products to the Brazilian market. Details

MSC Software Corp. announced that it has entered into a strategic market development partnership with Next Limit Technologies for XFlow. Details

SpaceClaim announced new channel partners. Details


Cadence Design Systems, Inc. announced it has received its 1000th U.S. patent. Details

CENIT AG announced use of CENIT and SAP solutions by Roechling Automotive, the largest business division of Roechling Group. Details

Delcam announced that its FeatureCAM range of software products has been certified by the Autodesk Inventor Certified Application Program for Autodesk Inventor 2012. Details

Eurostep announced that the programme for PDT Europe 2011, which will be held in Vaasa Finland, has been published. On September 19 is the PLM/PLCS/AP233 implementers workshop, on September 20-21 the PDT main conference, and, on September 22, the Share-A-space Forum. Details

Gerber Technology announced it will relocate the manufacture of its computer-automated material spreading systems from Ikast, Denmark to Shanghai, China. Details

Mentor Graphics Corp. announced that a collection of tools have been validated for inclusion in TSMC Analog/Mixed-signal Reference Flow 2.0. Details

MSC Software Corp. announced use of MSC Adams at the Rotorcraft Systems Engineering and Simulation Center at the University of Alabama. Details

OPEN MIND Technologies AG announced the opening of a subsidiary in Spain. Details

Pointwise, Inc. announced it was awarded an SBIR Phase II contract by the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center to streamline overset mesh generation for CFD analysis. Details

RuleDesigner announced that RuleDesigner is certified for use with Autodesk Inventor 2012. Details 


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