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Technologies

When BOM is not BOM

by Oleg on December 17, 2014 · 0 comments

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Bill of Materials (BOM) is a central part of everything in product development. Sometimes, people call it product structure. Manufacturers are using BOM to define list of raw materials, parts and sub-assemblies with corresponded quantities need to manufacture a product. This is over simplistic definition. As usual, devil is details and BOM story is getting quite complex. Depends to whom are you talking, people see a different aspects of bill of materials – sales options, design hierarchy, product configurations, manufacturing process, service parts. Many systems are defining BOM differently. It depends on their roles and functions in overall product lifecycle.

In one of my recent articles – Thoughts about BOM ownership, I discussed some ideas about how BOM can be shared among organizations and enterprise software tools. That was my attempt to think about how to resolve a conflict between two major BOM stakeholder – Product Lifecycle Management and ERP systems. The BOM management landscape in the organization is complex. In my view, companies are not ready for a single BOM management tools - it was my observation 2 years ago.

At the time a major BOM master ownership dispute is between PLM and ERP vendors, I can see an interesting trend which can put some lights on how PLM companies are articulating their BOM strategies.

Dassault Systems ENOVIA is coming with their “zero BOM error” strategy. I posted about it earlier – PLM and Zero BOM errors: the devil is in details. In a nutshell, ENOVIA is trying to improve process of Bill of Material generation by direct connection between CATIA design and product structure. In my view, it might lead to potential formal elimination of EBOM, which will be replaced by a bundle of design and engineering information. Practically, product structure in CATIA/ENOVIA will represent everything that happens on engineering level. According to ENOVIA strategy, it will eliminate errors between design and engineering.

In parallel, I’m observing the way BOM is positioned by Siemens PLM. Teamcenter blog – Introducing BOM management speaks about BOM information as a vital part of many processes supported by PLM. I found interesting how “BOM management” term was replaced by “Product definition”. Here is the passage:

I just noticed that as I am writing this I am using the words “bill of materials” less and “product definition” more. I would go back and correct – I wanted to keep it a surprise!  But I think it’s ok – it helps me get to this next part. To us, it has become abundantly clear that one of the problems that come up when you talk about bill of materials (BOM) management is that the scope of what people might mean is so broad. To call all those things listed above “BOM Management” is not sufficient.  We’ve collected these capabilities into an umbrella we call the Integrated Product Definition. This is an area where we have been leaders, and it continues as a high priority for us – we have the breadth and depth to address these issues like nobody else can.

In both situations, I can see a strategy by PLM vendors to redefine BOM and bring up the extended value PLM environment for customers. This is a very important transformation in my view, since it helps to streamline processes. The problem of synchronization between design and engineering environment is well-known and not solved in many companies. Teamcenter is connecting BOM management into varietly of topics such as part management, master data management, configuration management, coordinate change and variability and others. It helps to create a solid platform to manage product data.

However, the biggest fight over the BOM is between PLM and ERP environments. Engineering.com outlined it in their article – The next big boom in PLM is a battle over MBOM ownership. Muris Capital Advisors outlined the sam conflict in the blog post – The Battle for BOM Control. According to Bruce Boes of Muris Capital, service integrators will play a leading role in making alignment between PLM and ERP and forming BOM master model. Here is an interesting passage:

We predict that System Integrators have a unique opportunity and from our recent experience, the desire to bridge the gap and add value during integration with the BOM as a key point of integration.  In doing so they open the market for process consulting and integration services surrounding the master model concept. 

The last one make sense. In many PLM implementation projects, SI teams are actually leading development of PLM-ERP integration on site or using different middleware or integration toolkits. Unfortunately, the cost of these implementation is high and overall process is very complex.

What is my conclusion? PLM vendors redefining BOM by tight integrating of product information into development processes. From what I can see, both Teamcenter and ENOVIA are trying to redefine Bill of Material (BOM) as a wider topic. This is an interesting strategy to fight over MBOM ownership. Integrated “product definition” can help to streamline processes between engineering and manufacturing. However, the end game should be total BOM experience including all manufacturing aspects – manufacturing process planning, cost and orders. The last one brings PLM-ERP integration topic back on the table. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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There is no shortage of talks about IoT these days. CAD and PLM vendors included. While each company is developing their own approach with regards to PLM and IoT, the overall trend shows growing interest from PLM vendors to see what benefits IoT can bring to their businesses.

Few months ago, I posted about 3 things PLM can do with IoT tomorrow. One of them was related to requirement management. More specifically, I guessed that IoT can become an intelligent approach to validate design hypothesis and get a better perspective on customer needs.

My attention caught by DE article Internet of Things take guesswork from design, which speaks exactly about the same topic. Here is an interesting passage-

Next-generation products outfitted with embedded sensors, actuators and other technologies will be able to detect things about their environment — temperature changes, for example, or an imminent part failure — and communicate that information in real time over the standard Internet Protocol to a database accessible by engineers. From there, engineers could analyze this trove of product-related data as part of their regular workflow to guide future product designs, address persistent quality issues, and inject more realism into verification and testing procedures.

Moreover, article brings examples of prototype application made by PTC based on ThingWorx and Windchill alerting engineers about product failures and providing product performance data.

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These examples made me think about challenges related to growing data complexity of engineering solutions. CAD and PLM applications are not the example of simplest application. The demand for better user experience and simplicity is everywhere these days. IoT brings benefits of additional information, but increases a complexity of data and can be potential overwhelming for engineers.

What is my conclusion? We are overloaded with information these days. Products are getting more complex by adding electronic and software components. Our social interaction online brings even more information to product development, engineering and manufacturing. IoT creates a next wave of data, which in my view will become even bigger than everything we’ve seen until now. The future architectures of CAD and PLM solutions will have to count scale and complexity of future data. This is a note for PLM architects and IT managers. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

 

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cloud-puzzle-integration

Cloud PLM adoption is growing. More PLM vendors these days are re-branding and re-building  product and software architecture to keep up with fast moving cloud trend. This year I can see significant shift towards discussion about technical aspects of cloud implementation. The devils is in details and differentiate between variety of cloud implementation options is very important.

However, regardless on technological options, what do you think holding back all cloud implementations. In the past, the topic of security was one of the most debated among engineering software professionals and customers. Security is important. But what else

Forbes article Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Accelerating In The Enterprise speaks about different aspects of cloud business. I highly recommend you to read it -I’m sure you can find many interesting data points. My attention caught the following chart presenting top disconnects holding SaaS applications adoption:

The three biggest disconnects holding cloud-based infrastructure and applications back from greater adoption from an IT senior management perspective include concerns about the security (61%), integration challenges (46%) and information governance (35%).  IT leaders perceive that line-of-business (LOB) leaders are most concerned about security (52%), difficulty measuring Return on Investment (ROI) and determining the accurate economic value of cloud solutions (37%) and a tie between information governance and cloud-based applications being able to meet enterprise and/or industry standards (32%).

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Security is an obvious suspect. What was very interesting is to find Integration, standards and information governance as #2 and #3. As I posted few weeks ago, integration is one of the major challenges that influence broad PLM adoption and ROI. It looks like cloud applications adoption is even more dependent on the ability to integrate multiple SaaS and on premise applications.

What is my conclusion? Cloud adoption is growing. However, enterprise software landscape is complicated. Integration was always a challenge. However, cloud applications are bringing new type of challenges. PLM is data intensive with a lot of dependencies of data distributed between departments, databases and external companies-suppliers. New cloud technologies can make integration easier by leveraging modern web technologies. However, absence of standard and large amount of legacy software makes it really complex. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: Adam_T4 via photopin cc

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Mobile CAD and PLM development options

December 9, 2014

Mobile PLM is one of the topics I’m following on my blog. You probably remember my post – How PLM vendors can find mobile moments. Today I want to speak about technological aspects of mobile development. For the last few years, mobile development took us into the world of multiple platforms and device compatibility. I […]

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Why graphs are important for social PLM strategy?

December 9, 2014

I want to continue my series of thoughts about PLM and social technologies. If you missed the beginning, you can catch up here – It is not easy to add social to PLM. The topic I want to bring today is graphs. The topic of graphs became popular for the last few years as technology […]

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IBM+Twitter: Social PLM requirement management?

December 8, 2014

To add “social” to PLM is not a simple task. I shared some of my thoughts about it here few days ago. Part of the problem – clear value proposition. To find a single social function is a key thing that can help PLM vendor to provide. Do you think requirement management can be one? Traditional […]

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Identity management in future PLM platforms

December 8, 2014

Identity is a topic that raises lot of attention over the course of last few years. As a number of cloud application is growing, the question of management of identity and access rights online becomes more important. Federation was one of the topics that was discussed in my last posts about future PLM platforms. It […]

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SAP has a magic technology to improve enterprise integration

December 4, 2014

Integration is a big deal. When it comes to enterprise organizations and specifically manufacturing companies of different kinds, enterprise integration is one of the major challenges that influence broad PLM adoption and ROI. Enterprise integration isn’t a simple problem to solve. It requires a diverse set of tools to support data exchange and process orchestration. PLM […]

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Future of design: how to connect physical and digital entities?

December 2, 2014

Technology can help us to expand horizons of possible and impossible. I’ve been experiencing this expansion earlier today while watching AU2014 keynote session online while physically traveling to Denver, CO. Twitter and streaming video are quite efficient way to stay in touch with event virtually everywhere. If you missed AU live streaming earlier today, you […]

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It is not easy to add “social” to PLM

December 1, 2014

My recent post Social PLM: How to pull a trigger? became a trigger for me to think and discuss “social” topic again. I found certain level of disagreement with Jim Brown’s position about how to put social in PLM. Here is Jim’s comment: @jim_techclarity: @olegshilovitsky There is a lot more low hanging fruit elsewhere. Easier to […]

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