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Business environment is changing fast these days. For years, enterprise and manufacturing were very slow moving segments. Long production programs, dependencies on costly manufacturing shops, equipment and tools, slow decision process. All these factors together made manufacturing very conservative domain for technological disruption. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) programs took years and cost millions. Although customers were unsatisfied with the status quo, they haven’t seen much alternatives.
Things are starting to change in a modern manufacturing. There are three significant trends that will influence significantly PLM industry – changes in enterprise software, changes in manufacturing technologies and distribution channels, development of web and data management technologies.
You can read more about these trends in my earlier CIO article – PLM and modern enterprise & manufacturing environment.
One of the trends that is particularly interesting is related to distributed systems and complexity of information. Nothing happens these days in a single place. Regardless on what type of company and industry sector are you working, you have to deal with the situation when you customers, partners, suppliers, engineers, manufacturing facilities are located everywhere. This is a new reality and it is getting reflected into enterprise software.
Design News article 6 Reasons Your PLM & PDM Are Getting Smarter Than Ever speaks about a generational shift has come to the software platforms that manage design. And it is including an increased data complexity and information connectivity. Read the article and draw your conclusion.
My favorite passage is actually related to the information connectivity and distributed teams.
The Design Team Is Connected to Every Team. Collaboration has become a must as product development teams move to speed time-to-market. Rather than shifting the product from one team or discipline to another — say from CAD drawings to material analysis to simulation — multiple disciplines can weigh in simultaneously. “Collaboration is one of the main functions of a PDM system now. Many people are working on the same assembly at the same time, and collaborative tools let you see who’s working on what,” said Kurt Lundstedt, product manager at Dassault Systemes’ SolidWorks. “Now you can do texting and [instant messaging], and run real-time meetings through a Web interface and save it as a threaded discussion. Everybody is texting now, and they want that capability to be in their design tools.”
Distributed information, texting and solving the problems in a near real time. It sounds like a transformative shake to slow changing environment driven by emails and processes simulating the flow of paper in large organization? To me it is another confirmation of how to Lego-ize PLM from a complex product suite into agile set of connected tools.
What is my conclusion? Modern manufacturing brings even more challenges. Distributed environment becomes a norm in manufacturing world. Cloud applications are playing an important role in helping engineers to work collaboratively across the globe. The integration of data management and collaboration can provide a significant advantage to engineers in a modern mobile and distributed environment and create a new paradigm in manufacturing collaboration. Connectivity and data integration between tools and people will play a key role in the future transformation of companies into a global manufacturing network. Just my thoughts…