Cloud PLM and Bill of Material Question

by Oleg on March 9, 2012 · 7 comments

Cloud is hyping these days. However, it also becomes real and moving from the state of “think” to “make” something. Navigate to the Jim Brown’s post. One of my favorite passages out of that post is following:

Now there is more to do than talk, something can be done about it. There are real, viable options to consider. In the last month: Nuage launched themselves as a new player in the PLM arena; starting with a cloud-based social business collaboration platform and unveiling a strategy to build in PLM-oriented controls. This week, Autodesk launched PLM 360, a cloud based PLM solution. During an analyst call this week, Dassault Systemes announced that V6 adoption is now over 1,000.

There are lots of presence and visibility of Autodesk PLM online these days. Marketing money Autodesk is spending on Google works just perfect. I was reading the TCT online magazine about software technology for product development and manufacturing. Navigate to the following link to read “Autodesk don’t do PLM – they do cloud PLM” article. I found this passage interesting:

Autodesk also claims that it is the first cloud-based PLM solution focused on business applications beyond engineering and bill of material management. As a result, employees in a range of roles – from planning and product development to quality and compliance to service and more – can better access product and project-related information that helps them continuously improve the products they design and manufacture.

Well, “beyond engineering” statement is clear – Autodesk is promoting their strategy to split Autodesk Vault and Autodesk PLM 360. So, Vault by definition is responsible for “engineering work”. You can read on Autodesk website: Vault is CAD Data Management Software. However, the statement “beyond bill of materials” is actually something that made me think beyond cloud hype. Bill of Material is the essential piece of business for every manufacturing company. At the end of the day, nobody care about 3D models, but you need to have BOM and Drawings to make things work. Without BOM loaded into manufacturing system you production will be stuck.

So, practical question I want to ask today with regards to any cloud PLM system – Where is my Bill of Material? By trying to answer on this question I want to analyze few systems available in the PLM market.

Arena Solution is primarily focused on Bill of Materials. They see a lot of value to bring BOM on the cloud. According to Arena, it resulted in the ability of all people involved in product development, manufacturing and supply chain processes to be “on the same page” about what is the last updated BOM. So, the answer is – BOM in the cloud.

DS Enovia is a backbone for all systems and processes. Dassault made a step future. Enovia Backbone is managing all information starting for 3D CATIA data ending up with Bill of Materials, suppliers and support processes. So, assume DS Enovia runs in the cloud as claimed by DS, the answer is – BOM in the cloud.

Nuage is a new company. Frankly, not much information is available about Nuage these days. In my conversation with Nuage people, they claimed fully-fledged PLM functionality in the cloud. So, my assumption that the answer on my question “where is BOM?” is following – BOM in the cloud.

Now, let me back to Autodesk’s “beyond bill of material management” passage. From my experiment with PLM 360 earlier this week I learned that PLM 360 knows how to manage Bill of Materials. So, I can assume BOM is in the cloud. On the other side, in many situations Bill of Materials is managed by PDM system like Autodesk Vault In one of my previous posts almost a year ago (Autodesk Vault: Enterprise PDM or PLM?) Vault aims to handle CAD data, mostly.

What is my conclusion? I think, time comes to start asking simple questions about “where is my stuff”? Where is my CAD drawing? Where is my BOM? Where is my ECO? How all these elements can play together, since I need’em to feed my manufacturing/ ERP system and go to production. I believe we need to get better understanding about how Autodesk Vault interplay with PLM 360. I hope Autodesk will demo it soon. The same question goes to all cloud PLM providers. How to integrate data between existing and news systems will become a key question to make cloud PLM successful. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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