To sell PLM to small and medium enterprise (SME) companies is a challenging tasks. I guess many of my readers will agree with me. I expressed some of my thoughts here – Why PLM stuck to provide solutions for SME? Opposite to that, large manufacturing companies, especially in aerospace, automotive and defense industries, were always a sweet spot to sell PLM solutions. Actually not any more…
Earlier this week, my attention was caught by CIMdata article – CIMdata Announces the Formation of an Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group. Here is how CIMdata President, Peter Bilello defines the objective of the group:
“PLM solution providers continually deliver new products, architectures, and solutions to market, while industrial customers must cope with previous product launches, attempting to realize the value from existing PLM investments. The Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group will define and direct the research efforts on key areas needed to meet future challenges. Current experiences with PLM-related implementations, best practice research, and close examination of emerging technologies will help define what the PLM solution providers should be offering
Another article by ConnectPress speaks about top three challenges of PLM in A&D industry – Global collaboration, Integration and obsolescence management.
Integration is a topic that near and dear my heart. In my view, the future of manufacturing will be heavy dependent on the solving of old integration problems. Multiple enterprise software systems is a reality of all large manufacturing companies. I guess aerospace and defense companies are an absolutely extreme case of multiple systems integrated together. This is a place where existing PLM system might have a challenge. Here is my favorite passage from ConnectPress article:
According to Roche, most major aerospace companies make a major investment in PLM, either changing to a new system or upgrading their current system, roughly every five to 10 years. But in more recent iterations of this cycle aerospace companies have been spending more money and seeing smaller returns on their investments. The reason for this appears to be because the traditional PLM components have reached the limits of what they can offer.
The following areas mentioned are expecting to bring maximum ROI from PLM investment – non-core PLM domains such as requirements management, configuration management, change management, service lifecycle, etc.
It made me think, the integration of these solutions to core PLM modules can introduce a significant problem. For most of PLM systems, the architecture and technologies of core functions such as CAD data management and BOM management were designed back 10-15 years ago. To connect and interplay between heavily customized core PLM modules and expanded PLM solutions can bring significant service and implementation expenses.
In my view the following four major paradigms used by existing core PLM modules will require some sort of architectural upgrade to take them to the next level of integration in large global companies: 1. Global data management; 2. Concurrent design and related content access; 3. Management of multiple Bill of Materials; 4. Cross system data federation and integration.
What is my conclusion? Redesign the core PLM functions can be an interesting challenge for major PLM suppliers. In my view, this is something that will require a significant revamp in existing platforms and data management paradigms. Cloud can help to solve global collaboration challenge. Will cloud help vendors to solve a problem of multiple system integration? It looks to me a good topic to discuss. Just my thoughts…