It is almost a tradition to write a summary of what was popular on the blog for a past year. So, here we go for top 10 Beyond PLM posts. It was a year of growing interest in new technologies and trends such as Internet of Things and cloud. At the same time, I observed a growing interest in core engineering topics such as Bill of Materials and Manufacturing planning. Vendors comparison and software selection posts usually are driving high interest and it happened this year too. With this short intro, here is a list of posts with conclusions I made for each topic.
I can see some infrastructure commonality that can come in the future between PLM and BIM implementations. It will come first from tech and computing infrastructure. As much as we go towards cloud based solution, we might see some re-use of sharing of multidisciplinary solutions for data management, project organization, visualization, mobile access, etc. However, both manufacturing (PLM) and construction (BIM) industries will keep specific data organization, processes and terminological differences that will drive diversity in solution delivery.
Enterprise sales is a special discipline. These days is probably one of the most interesting things in the overall process of technological disruption. Major disruption happened because of internet, cloud, mobile and other technologies. The wave seems to be going to enterprise continent. However, enterprise is first about people and second about technologies. Technologies make sense only after people can understand and use them.
Flexible data model, easy customization and excellent user experience. This is a wining recipe for PLM system to replace spreadsheet nightmare. Unfortunately, it is easy to say, but hard to do. The complexity of PLM development and manufacturing companies make every system complicated. This is a place where future innovation will happen – to find balance between simplicity and complex functional needs.
I think WhatsApp and Facebook story should be red alert for all enterprise vendors mimicking “social collaboration” into enterprise. It finally confirms to me inefficiency of large group message broadcasting and need to find more efficient collaboration principles and user experience.
MBOM is going to be in focus for many manufacturing these days. Efficiency and ability of manufacturing company to execute flawlessly becomes more and more important. Manufacturing environment is highly distributed these days with lots of constraints and dependencies. To design and bring product to market in a short time is a complex task you cannot solve without tools that will help you to synchronize and connect bill of materials.
Vertical (or industry) specialization can become a future goldmine for PLM vendors and solution providers. To develop deeply integrated solution including specific behaviors in data and process management is not a simple task. Customer experience is something that very hard to gain. However, once achieved it can be leveraged for a long time. Industry verticals can become a future differentiation factor for large vendors and startup PLM companies.
Growing complexity of products, move to mass customization, regulatory and cost pressure, global manufacturing – this is a reality of modern manufacturing environments. We need to develop a new approach how to manage product development and manufacturing of these products. Product configurations and BOM is a centerpiece of this approach. A simple 150% BOM spreadsheet will be replaced with new BOM tools.
Despite visible simplicity, it is absolutely important to separate document and part lifecycle in every PDM / PLM implementation. Document number and Part number cannot be identical. The special mechanism allowing linking between specific Part (number) and released document (including revision) should be implemented. It is important to set this rules from the early beginning to prevent future part / documents management mess.
In my view, PLM software domain will be turbulent in 2014. New companies, technologies and business models are coming to disrupt and change existing industry landscape. However, your PLM software buying decision will probably stay with you more than 1-2 years. So, my recommendation is to review available software, make trials, experiment and build use cases. These days software vendors are open to convert customers into their trusted advisers. Don’t afraid to be a part of the PLM vendors’ development process and decision making. In most of cases, it is fun and you will love it.
To create good comparison is an interesting work. Few months ago, I’ve been posted about Crowdsourcing and PLM consultants’ future. For the moment, I feel like this post is making real field test. Again, appreciate all comments that help to make this article better.
What is my conclusion? I want to ask for a favor. New year will bring new topics and ideas. Let me know more about your favorite topics and subjects of your specific interest. I will do my best to cover them in 2015.