PLM Downstream – Sent from my iPad?

PLM Downstream – Sent from my iPad?

I had a chance to read “Sent from my iPad”  on VEKTORRM last week. Dave Angelotti discussed an option to use iPad as a field device. It seems interesting. It made me think about lots of un-realized options for PLM innovation in downstream. Last year, I wrote – PLM content downstream usage, Googlenomic and Futuristic Search. Looking now on this post it seems to me much less futuristic. iPad experience helps… I decided to put few “downstream scenarios” and hope to get more ideas from you.

PLM Downstream Scenarios

(1) Sales. I can see many scenarios where sales-people will be able to have an access to configured catalog of products to facilitate sales. This is a dumb simple scenario. However, the complexity of the scenario is to have it well integrated with other systems.

(2) Manufacturing Shopfloor. In my view, there is an opportunity to use it to replace printed documents on the shopfloor. Do you think it may work? I talked to few people about this option last week. They told that iPad screen size is probably too small. Or maybe we need to wait for iBoard (you can take a look on the following joke about iPhone-iPad-iBoard-iMat)?

(3) Maintenance Operation. This is another similar to manufacturing shopfloor situation. The accessibility of the device may play a key role in getting an access to the right information during maintenance procedures.

The Missing Part of Puzzle?

Do you think device is important? My bet is yes. Sometime, innovative ideas have a very long path to people. To make them possible the unique combination of events needs to happen. It might be cost of components, environment or just device or available technology. The ultimate goal is to get rid of paper from downstream. This is a real innovative goal, in my view. It makes a lot of sense from various standpoints – information access, ecology, etc. Don’t you think iPad is the missing part of Puzzle to make it happen?

What is my conclusion? From my experience, the following three iPad characteristics ultimately help to iPad proliferation in downstream – (1) Lightweight; (2) Connectivity; (3) Power consumption. I think iPad creates a significant option for PLM (and BIM) innovation in the downstream applications- sales, manufacturing facilities, field operations, etc. What I like in iPad is an ability to create a platform for lots of powerful and focused applications. Not a big PLM show, focus matters!

Best, Oleg


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  • Watching this chart ( makes me want to wait for a tablet running with android.
    And this is just for fun but very true:

  • Avinash Durge

    I think iPad ( anf why only iPad any business phone) can be used for PLM tools. Take a simple example of change approval in workflow. In the absence of chnage approvar right now we have to do tranfer authority to some one else or wait for the approvar to come back. Why not to use these devices so that approvar can use small mobile or iPad application to approve the change.

  • Ralphgrabowski

    “Sent from my iPad” first published in upFront.eZine, and then reprinted with permission by vektorrum.

  • beyondplm

    Yoann, thanks for the comments and shares. The problem of Android is an absence of a single device, in my view. However, it may work similar to PC in the past. Market of mobile OS reminding me old 80s-90s with multiple OS available. Watching on this chart makes me remember all ups and downs in the past. The following one is prob. the best if you want to see it as a single review of MS vs. Apple history Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Avinash, I agree. Mobile option is an important one for PLM (still undervalued and under-delivered, in my view). My main point is that a balance between size/weight/power of iPad gives him a unique position to win in downstream apps. Thanks for your comments and ideas! Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Ralph, thanks for note. I missed the original one on upFront.eZine. Best, Oleg

  • Alaine

    Hello Oleg,
    I think you are on target. I thought this article on John Stark might be of interest to you…..Managing the Product and Process Record:The Need for PLM in Downstream Processes. We are seeing a shift among our customers to want to encompass more downstream process within their PLM system, specifically Manufacturing/BOM Routing processes. We are also seeing a shift towards using mobile/handheld devices on the manufacturing floor to access documents, drawings,etc.. stored in the PLM vault and help to eliminate paper printouts that you mention. I am not sure if they are using iPads for their devices yet, but I think there is an opportunity. -Alaine

  • Ken

    Oleg, check this out. iPDM is already here!


  • beyondplm

    Ken, thanks for sharing this link. Actually, I already had a chance to point on your apps –, Best, Oleg

  • beyondplm

    Alaine, thanks for your comment and link! I’m familiar with John Stark work. The article is actually very on target. Nevertheless, this is the biggest problem of PLM – to proliferate downstream. The main reasons are complexity of PLM and data locking strategies. I had a chance to write about various aspects related to PLM downstream applications and data usage. Check this –, Best, Oleg

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