Manufacturer Priorities and PLM Integration Lock

I have chance to listed AMR’s Mike Burket interview during Siemens PLM Innovation Summit. It seems to me as a very interesting talk and slides about current PLM priorities. You can see it on this link. Thanks Dora Smith for this nice blog post, video and slides. One of the key requirements coming from manufacturers today are around cost reduction, better integration operation and product development as well as improvements in a supply value chain.

I counted two issues that, in my view, can be considered as very old requirements and demanded by many customers long time:
1. Design to Manufacturing Processes
2. Supporting of segmentation in Supply Chain.

On the one side, you can think about them as two separate issues. However, these two issues share one common fundamental problem of PLM systems. The problem is how to organize  integrated cross organizational processes. If you will take a look on the following slide presented by Mike, the need for integration is something that I see as a must requirement to link demand insight, product development and supply networks.

Listening Mike it becomes almost clear that process integration will become the next PLM challenge. However, here is my point. Unfortunately, integration is a very expensive job. All integrated projects I know, took a lot of time, resources and, in my view, doesn’t fit IT budgets. The issue of reduced IT budgets makes this problem even more important and critical. Many of today’s PLM integrated projects were possible only due to result of long and dedicated work done by vendors, services providers and organizations.

What is my conclusion? There is no magic outside of powerpoint slides. Integration is hard. Nobody can do it easy today. Big PLM systems provide a comprehensive product development environment, but they are not adaptable for lean cross-organizational process integration. How to find a way to reduce PLM integrated project cost and improve the agility of product development environment? This is sounds as a deadlock and the biggest challenge for manufacturers and PLM vendors in coming future.

Just my opinion.
Best, Oleg



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  • Thanks for the post. Agree that process integration is a challenge & a kind of deadlock situation while implementation. I think to overcome, manufacturers have to think of open platform to develop legacy systems to integrate with PLM or may be One vendor enterprise solutions will work to have seamless integration in some cases, but this leads to other challenges as well.

    Another issue, I think all most all legacy system(developed internally by manufacturers) were developed long back (with older technologies not much updates will be done by manufacturers apart from small enhancements) & PLM solutions are based on latest technologies – I think that’s why its becoming difficult to integrate.

    next issue, I can see in process integration is lack of documentation from manufacturers.
    Again, process integration depends on the how flexible the PLM solution is.

    So, I think issues will be based on case to case basis, some times integration is quite straight forward, but at time its complex in nature.

    One more fact, I think worth to mention, “we cannot automate/system driven all the processes”, so while PLM implementation manufacturers have to think & should have clear picture as what to integrate – to what extent. This will address most of the issues .. I think so….
    Just my thoughts….!

  • Chadrajit, Thanks for your comment! I think, you are exactly explained why integration is very complicated and expensive. This is deadlock I’m talking about. Best, Oleg

  • DJ

    I think there is another view to be had here = deeper examination of the gaps between your process and the OOTB processes that come embedded in the software you purchase. So, here we go. You have a business process; the software you purchase has a business process. Which do you use? Almost inevitably you will use your own and thus start down the path to integrations. So, here is just a thought? How about using the process that is in the software you purchase? Not a fit? How about driving the vendor until it is a fit either through productizing it or allowing a template or config based approach. Anyway, as software becomes more capable the issue now moves to process based issues. Interestingly though I see few (maybe none?) companies that have business process transformation skills anywhere in the company but every IT org spews the spin = “we are business transformation agents”. Oh well, I suspect this will kick off a chewy debate…

  • DJ, Thanks for your comment! The “examination” you mentioned is actually ‘PLM best practices torpedo” I had chance to write before – This process is very costly. The biggest problem I see is that enterprise apps (PLM, ERP etc.) are trying to change organizational business process without prior aggregation of existing state. Multiplied by extremely high cost of change, it creates the situation of stagnation. I’d like to encourage you to take a look on my today post – The New Normal Wake Up Call for Enterprise PLM ( Best, Oleg