From the category archives:

Technologies

complexity-product-data-supply-chain

I had a chance to share my thoughts about complexity of product lifecycle in supply chain at COFES 2015 Design and Sustainability symposium. Manufacturing companies and software vendors are facing new enterprise reality these days – distributed environment, connected work and cloud software. On the other side we have skyrocketing complexity of products. Each product is a system these days. Think about simple activity tracking device. It is a combination of hardware, mobile application, cloud data services, big data analytics and API to work with partners. The complexity of modern luxury car is 100M line of software code. Think about product information changes in the system which is combined from engineering, customer, field support and connected devices working together.

Product data complexity is introducing new level of challenge in front of software vendors. I think it is a time for software vendors to think how to break limits of existing PLM architecture to support a level of complexity demanded by manufacturing environment and complexity of products.

So, what to do if a single database approach is dead? Federated architecture was one of the approaches PLM vendors used in the past (Actually, I think, this is probably the only one that works in production for very large enterprises). But this approach is expensive in implementation and requires too much “data pumping” between silos. Opposite to that, an experience of some companies with network based data architectures shows some promising results.

What is my conclusion? The growing complexity of manufacturing environment and products creates the demand for new product lifecycle architectures. These architectures will be able to support management of multidisciplinary product data (mechanical, electronic, software) and will operate as a global distributed data network. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Where to host my cloud CAD and PLM?

by Oleg on April 8, 2015 · 0 comments

cad-plm-hosting-options

Cloud adoption is growing. There is almost a synergy about cloud and PLM. All PLM vendors are signaling about leveraging various pieces of cloud technologies in their business. Now, the time is coming for CAD. Last few months were sparked by multiple debates around future of cloud CAD technologies. Onshape was a resonating factor of these discussions. However, other companies such as Autodesk and Dassault Systems/Solidworks are also demonstrating their commitments for future cloud development.

Cloud is a pain relief for your company IT. You shouldn’t worry about servers, communication infrastructure and other IT resources. However, as you can imagine, cloud infrastructure is located on the ground and in many situations you want to know where is it located, how is that protected and secured. Users can be happy to have all CAD documents to be located in a “single cloud place” together with the last version of the software. However, you want to know how reliable is this single place and who is taking care of cloud operation.

Few months ago, I shared some of thoughts and references about pubic cloud and the way it will influence large manufacturing companies. Navigate to these two post to refresh your memories – PLM vendors, large manufacturers and public cloud and Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

My attention caught another article – Predicting The Future Of Cloud Service Providers by Louis Columbus. The article provides a a very interesting set of information about where future cloud investment will go and what cloud service providers are going to support it. Here is an interesting snippet of data:

7% of marketing departments will have 60% or more of their applications on a cloud platform in two years. When asked which Value-Added Reseller (VAR) is most likely to win their enterprises’ business for a significant hosting project, the majority said IBM IBM +0.46% (18%) followed by Microsoft MSFT -0.43% (11%), Amazon (8%) and Dell (7%). Database (57%), e-mail (54%) and business applications (ERP, CRM & industry-specific apps) (49%) are the three leading application hosting investments enterprises will be making in the next two years.

The following chart can give some insight on priority of investments:

application-hosting-spending

As you can see, business applications, virtual desktop hosting and productivity tools are in the top part of the list. The following chart can demonstrate some hosting preferences between large providers.

significant-hosting-resellers

Manufacturing companies will have to take critical decisions about their cloud strategy. Most of them are using technology and applications that will have a difficulties to move into cloud as a services. The question how to balance between existing authoring and productivtiy tools and new SaaS applications is the most interesting.

What is my conclusion? Engineering and manufacturing companies won’t be able to abandon the existing ship and magically move from existing set of application into a future cloud world. It will be a journey, which will involve existing software vendors, newcomers and new SaaS application, cloud service providers and service companies. How to pickup a right partners? This is a note to CEOs, CIO, IT infrastructure managers and many others. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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contract-manufacturing-collaboration

Globalization and contract manufacturing are two important trends that shaping modern manufacturing. Companies are using contract manufacturers (CM) for different purposes – design, component supply, assembly, fabrication, etc. In some industries such as electronic, contract manufacturing is an absolutely vital part of your product success. My attention caught by EE Times article: 5 Don’ts and Do’s for Working with a Contract Manufacturer. It is short and sweet – I certainly recommend you to have a read.

Here are my favorite two recommendations – prepare detailed documentation and design for manufacturing.

Prepare Detailed Documentation — I don’t think it’s possible to under-communicate when it comes to providing instructions to a CEM. The more CAD files, schematics and specs you deliver with your design the better, from our perspective. And don’t forget to provide a comprehensive bill of materials with alternate part numbers – or have your CEM do this for you.

Design for Manufacture — DFM essentially means considering how easy and cost-effective it is to manufacture an assembly, and designing to reduce those costs. You need a manufacturing mindset to do this well, so leave room for a DFM review and adjustments in your plans.

Thinking about contract manufacturing processes took me back to my 3 modern BOM management challenges. Bill of Material is an important key element in both – documentation and design for manufacture. Very often contract manufacturing work is focused on processes management by ERP system. However, you need to have solid PLM foundation to start thinking about CM work earlier in the process.

So, what are critical elements of PLM system to support your CM processes:

1- Access to component libraries. To have information about components, availability, cost and other parameters such as regulation is critical. To replicate this information into your PLM system is possible, but not reliable and not scalable. Check how PLM system can access this information online or federate it with ERP system you have.

2- Flexible and granular BOM management. You need to organize bill of materials in the way engineering and CM will be able to access it. By doing that you will allow early access to all parties involved into design and manufacturing to access product information.

3- Change management. Everything is changing. It will happen to your design and manufacturing plan too. Find a tool that allows you to manage traceability of changes alongside to bill of material and manufacturing plans.

4- Security. You need to have right technology in place to isolate information that belonging to different CM and subcontractors. It is important to maintain your business relationships and not to disclose sensitive information.

What is my conclusion? Globalization and cost competition leads companies to find somebody else to produce components and outsource specialized work. In many domains, CM is a way to structure industry (think about fabrication and electronic manufacturing as best examples). It leads to outsourcing, offshore and many other options to make the same work in a different places. Bill of materials (BOM) is a critical element in supporting of contract manufacturing. You need to have an ability to organize BOM in a way that allows to all involved organizations to access and make changes in the controlled way. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Cloud CAD can solve hardest PDM problem

April 3, 2015

  Document management is hard if you do it manually. To manage versions of documents requires you to follow some rules or naming conventions. I remember one of my first lessons in configuration management many years ago. It was about how to use file names in versions. Simple rule for starters – never ever use […]

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Do we need super cloud PDM? But wait, we already have PLM…

March 30, 2015

Cloud is transforming businesses and technologies. CAD and PDM are going to be transformed too. If you had a chance to follow my blog last week, you probably read my thoughts from Develop3D LIVE conference in Warwick, England. If you missed, navigate to my previous post – Develop3D LIVE set the stage for cloud CAD […]

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How to break limits of existing PLM architectures

March 13, 2015

The conventional opinion of many people in PLM domain is that technology is not a main problem in PLM industry. At the same time, PLM vendors having significant challenges to convince customers to adopt new versions of their products. Manufacturing companies are replacing PLM platforms every 10 years (some people can even come with 20 […]

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PLM and Apple Watch: uncharted territory?

March 11, 2015

It looks like CAD industry was too busy with Onshape for the last two days and forgot about Apple Watch event that actually happened almost at the same day and time. It took me some time to get up to speed with all publications about Apple Watch. Full disclosure – I didn’t buy Apple Watch […]

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Is public cloud reshaping PLM landscape? Time to re-check…

March 6, 2015

The question how to implement PLM cloud is one of the most confusing when it comes to the decision about choosing one of available PLM solutions on the market today. The time when PLM vendors used “cloud” as a differentiation is over. Most of PLM vendors are comfortable with “cloud” word and the number of companies […]

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Rethinking PLM ROI in cloud era

March 5, 2015

To measure ROI is important part of PLM implementation decision. These days companies are less interested in 3-5 years implementation roadmaps. Therefore, discussion about PLM ROI can be very painful. It is better to get prepared upfront. PLM ROI is not a simplest thing to get into.  I put some of my thoughts why hard […]

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How cloud CAD can avoid “double PDM tax”

March 4, 2015

  My yesterday post – Will cloud CAD inherit data interoperability problem? raised few interesting discussion about cloud data management in PDM/PLM implementations. How cloud CAD/PDM will make our life simpler? In my view, the most important part is to exclude files from data management chain. By doing that, new cloud based CAD systems are […]

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