How collaborative economy will change PLM

by Oleg on December 19, 2014 · 0 comments

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Have you heard about collaborative economy? If you are not familiar with the term, it is a time to get up to speed. I’m sure you are familiar with many examples of collaborative economy or so-called economy of share. Here is Wikipedia definition, which I found pretty accurate:

The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.[1] These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.[2] A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.[3]

The economy of share is growing. You can find an interesting perspective on presenting of collaboration economy in the following article by Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies – The collaborative economy honeycomb.

Reading about growing collaborative economy made me think about significant influence on a world of things and the way people and companies are interacting during the process of designing, engineering, manufacturing and servicing products. It comes across many aspects of business and can fundamentally change business relationships and, as a result, influence product lifecycle.

Remember, existing PLM paradigms and fundamental ways companies are using engineering and manufacturing software were established back 40-50 years ago. The model CAD/PLM companies used for that came from large aerospace, automotive and defense companies. World we live in today is changing. So, how it will change product lifecycle management environment?

I captured few bold examples that can give you an idea of that change. Sharing economy environment is growing and evolving. Some of these examples can be transformed in the future or dissapear at all. But, in my view, it won’t change a trend of changes in manufacturing.

Distributed manufacturing and material production

Large companies that used to build existing PLM models already had distributed infrastructure. This infrastructure was centrally controlled and managed. It includes systems and infra to manage IP, transportation, etc. All together, it presented economically feasible model for manufacturing and distribution. Existing PLM system helped to execute elements of this model – design, engineering, services and others.

The emerging sharing economy model is different. It introduced new type of intellectual property management (including IP cooperation) and leverage a network of smaller players connected around the world leading technology innovation. This ecosystem made of network of workshops that can produce things locally. However, this model requires global physical coordination between players that located around the world. The demand for infrastructure and tools to support such type of model will be growing.

Peer production in manufacturing

Peer-to-peer is a form allowing connection between individuals and organizations and aggregate around the creation of common value. Building blocks of this model are cooperation, common knowledge, shared resources and open distribution. Open source software demonstrated a power of peer-to-peer production. Modern web was significantly influenced by this software creation model.

The model of peer production is now going beyond software in many domains. Manufacturing clearly will be impacted by introducing of new forms of relationships and production. Open source software created many tools that served needs of FOSS community. We might see similar situation in software for engineering and manufacturing.

Personal manufacturing

Manufacturing is transforming. What was before only possible for large companies and government is now scaling down to one. Regular people and small manufacturing shops with small investment capital are able to setup and grow up as their business will be growing. We know many examples of successful digital fabrication and personal manufacturing. Just go on Kickstarter and watch companies there.

However, most of Kickstarter projects are failing to deliver on time. They are facing problems with scaling their product development and manufacturing processes without right tools. I covered it in my blog – Why Kickstarter need PLM.

What is my conclusion? I only mentioned few examples of how economy of share is going to transform manufacturing. Future manufacturing processes will be network driven, which will introduce a complete new model for product lfiecycle management tools. This is where cloud PLM and other SaaS tools will have significant advantage. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Kenesto cloud PDM hybrid

by Oleg on December 18, 2014 · 0 comments

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Few months ago, I posted about latest development of Kenesto cloud data management solutions – Kenesto revamp: does it change cloud PLM game? I saw it as a sharp turn for Kenesto from focusing on collaboration towards engineering and product data management business. From earlier comments made by Steve Bodnar of Kenesto here, I’ve learned Kenesto is developing technology to synchronize CAD data between desktops and cloud locations. Here is the comment made back in October:

…automatic synchronization maintains appropriate version control as well as permissions. This way, if you have “download only” permission, as an example, you can synchronize to one or more of your locations, and any updates will automatically be synchronized to those locations for you (in addition to notifications being sent).

CIMdata recent publication about Kenesto Collaboration Platform made me think again about what it does and how it might be different from other cloud PDM products available now or soon become available on the market. What caught my special attention in CIMdata publication is related to so called “innovative intersection of cloud-based file management and data sharing with traditional PDM vaulting”. A massive amount of CAD data is stored on corporate networks and just CAD desktops. It made me think Kenesto is trying to bring solution to customers that already have traditional PDM systems and extend it with a better collaborative option. The following passage from CIMdata commentary provides more explanations:

The Kenesto solution is a secure, hybrid, cloud-desktop collaboration platform where product development and delivery teams can collaborate using discussion threads, or by co-authoring documents and design files, with anytime, anywhere access. Kenesto puts a broad range of capabilities at the fingertips of product delivery teams to organize and manage their programs, products, and projects. Teams can create their workspaces with people, workflow, forms, data, and reports—including bills of materials, change requests, and purchasing forms—and be kept on the same page with Kenesto’s proprietary intelligent synchronization approach. Each user is provided with a dashboard that can be customized to personal preferences. An important feature in Kenesto is that users are always in full control of their documents and designs. A user can permit their teammates to view, mark-up, or edit their documents and designs and can collaborate with them in real time or asynchronously.

Many of features such as project, workspaces, workflow, forms, bill of materials, change requests etc. are not new in PDM industry. However, “cloud-desktop” hybrid sounds like a new buzzword. Does it mean Kenesto found something unique in terms how to bring desktop CAD users to the cloud? It hard to say based on a commentary, but it might go that way.

What is my conclusion? Market dynamics are bringing more engineering and manufacturing companies to the cloud. It gives more opportunities to cloud PDM/PLM vendors. At the same time, it raises more questions how existing environment and data assets will be managed and how people will collaborate in a hybrid environment. Kenesto might solve an interesting problem here and compete with other vendors in the same domain – Autodesk, SolidWorks, GrabCAD and others. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: ukCWCS via photopin cc

Photo is an illustration only and does not reflect Kenesto architecture.

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When BOM is not BOM

by Oleg on December 17, 2014 · 0 comments

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Bill of Materials (BOM) is a central part of everything in product development. Sometimes, people call it product structure. Manufacturers are using BOM to define list of raw materials, parts and sub-assemblies with corresponded quantities need to manufacture a product. This is over simplistic definition. As usual, devil is details and BOM story is getting quite complex. Depends to whom are you talking, people see a different aspects of bill of materials – sales options, design hierarchy, product configurations, manufacturing process, service parts. Many systems are defining BOM differently. It depends on their roles and functions in overall product lifecycle.

In one of my recent articles – Thoughts about BOM ownership, I discussed some ideas about how BOM can be shared among organizations and enterprise software tools. That was my attempt to think about how to resolve a conflict between two major BOM stakeholder – Product Lifecycle Management and ERP systems. The BOM management landscape in the organization is complex. In my view, companies are not ready for a single BOM management tools - it was my observation 2 years ago.

At the time a major BOM master ownership dispute is between PLM and ERP vendors, I can see an interesting trend which can put some lights on how PLM companies are articulating their BOM strategies.

Dassault Systems ENOVIA is coming with their “zero BOM error” strategy. I posted about it earlier – PLM and Zero BOM errors: the devil is in details. In a nutshell, ENOVIA is trying to improve process of Bill of Material generation by direct connection between CATIA design and product structure. In my view, it might lead to potential formal elimination of EBOM, which will be replaced by a bundle of design and engineering information. Practically, product structure in CATIA/ENOVIA will represent everything that happens on engineering level. According to ENOVIA strategy, it will eliminate errors between design and engineering.

In parallel, I’m observing the way BOM is positioned by Siemens PLM. Teamcenter blog – Introducing BOM management speaks about BOM information as a vital part of many processes supported by PLM. I found interesting how “BOM management” term was replaced by “Product definition”. Here is the passage:

I just noticed that as I am writing this I am using the words “bill of materials” less and “product definition” more. I would go back and correct – I wanted to keep it a surprise!  But I think it’s ok – it helps me get to this next part. To us, it has become abundantly clear that one of the problems that come up when you talk about bill of materials (BOM) management is that the scope of what people might mean is so broad. To call all those things listed above “BOM Management” is not sufficient.  We’ve collected these capabilities into an umbrella we call the Integrated Product Definition. This is an area where we have been leaders, and it continues as a high priority for us – we have the breadth and depth to address these issues like nobody else can.

In both situations, I can see a strategy by PLM vendors to redefine BOM and bring up the extended value PLM environment for customers. This is a very important transformation in my view, since it helps to streamline processes. The problem of synchronization between design and engineering environment is well-known and not solved in many companies. Teamcenter is connecting BOM management into varietly of topics such as part management, master data management, configuration management, coordinate change and variability and others. It helps to create a solid platform to manage product data.

However, the biggest fight over the BOM is between PLM and ERP environments. Engineering.com outlined it in their article – The next big boom in PLM is a battle over MBOM ownership. Muris Capital Advisors outlined the sam conflict in the blog post – The Battle for BOM Control. According to Bruce Boes of Muris Capital, service integrators will play a leading role in making alignment between PLM and ERP and forming BOM master model. Here is an interesting passage:

We predict that System Integrators have a unique opportunity and from our recent experience, the desire to bridge the gap and add value during integration with the BOM as a key point of integration.  In doing so they open the market for process consulting and integration services surrounding the master model concept. 

The last one make sense. In many PLM implementation projects, SI teams are actually leading development of PLM-ERP integration on site or using different middleware or integration toolkits. Unfortunately, the cost of these implementation is high and overall process is very complex.

What is my conclusion? PLM vendors redefining BOM by tight integrating of product information into development processes. From what I can see, both Teamcenter and ENOVIA are trying to redefine Bill of Material (BOM) as a wider topic. This is an interesting strategy to fight over MBOM ownership. Integrated “product definition” can help to streamline processes between engineering and manufacturing. However, the end game should be total BOM experience including all manufacturing aspects – manufacturing process planning, cost and orders. The last one brings PLM-ERP integration topic back on the table. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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PLM software lifecycle and social development roadmaps

December 16, 2014

My post few days about PLM software replacement cycle turned into discussion about the way companies are implementing and maintaining PLM software, upgrades, new versions and planning investments into infrastructure and enterprise software. My attention caught Technia on demand webinar – The future of SmarTeam. It is an example of long software development cycle, maintenance, support […]

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IoT closes design loop, but can overwhelm engineers by data

December 15, 2014

There is no shortage of talks about IoT these days. CAD and PLM vendors included. While each company is developing their own approach with regards to PLM and IoT, the overall trend shows growing interest from PLM vendors to see what benefits IoT can bring to their businesses. Few months ago, I posted about 3 […]

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What is PLM software replacement cycle?

December 12, 2014

PLM selection is complex process. It takes time to make a decision, evaluate, build a pilot and implement PLM system. I’ve been thinking about how this process can change in the future. Navigate to my Future PLM selection post to catch up. One of my discoveries was the following data point about age of ERP system. […]

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Cloud is an opportunity to set open standards for PLM

December 11, 2014

One of the topic that usually drives lot of attention in engineering software is standards. Or absence of standards. The story of standards goes back long way to CAD formats and multi-CAD universe. I’ve been touching topic of standards and PLM earlier. Catch up on my posts – CAD/PLM standards and toothbrush problem and PLM standards: […]

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Integration is holding back PLM cloud adoption

December 10, 2014

Cloud PLM adoption is growing. More PLM vendors these days are re-branding and re-building  product and software architecture to keep up with fast moving cloud trend. This year I can see significant shift towards discussion about technical aspects of cloud implementation. The devils is in details and differentiate between variety of cloud implementation options is […]

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More cloud PLM from Oracle and Aras. Are we in cloud rush?

December 10, 2014

Cloud PLM is a trending topic among software vendors these days. As I mentioned earlier in my post, the question these days is not why should we do cloud PLM, but “how” to make it happen. PLM vendors are choosing different strategies and technologies for their cloud PLM solutions. My attention was caught by two […]

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Mobile CAD and PLM development options

December 9, 2014

Mobile PLM is one of the topics I’m following on my blog. You probably remember my post – How PLM vendors can find mobile moments. Today I want to speak about technological aspects of mobile development. For the last few years, mobile development took us into the world of multiple platforms and device compatibility. I […]

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