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How PLM will catch the wave of analytics

by Oleg on October 31, 2014 · 1 comment

plm-analytic-salesforce-wave

Data has tremendous value for any manufacturing organization. Nobody can dispute that. One of value propositions of PLM is to have an access about product data and process information in a meaningful form. You can find lot of information about it online. Here is just one example. Navigate to Tech Clarity report – Business Intelligence extending PLM value by Jim Brown. I liked the following passage from the blog post introducing the report:

The perfect storm of application and implementation maturity has set the table for significant value to be unleashed from PLM. The data currently buried in PLM systems is an untapped source of value for manufacturers. Now, companies are turning to Business Intelligence (BI) in order to tap into the wealth of product knowledge generated and available in PLM repositories. And like ERP, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and other enterprise applications have proven in the past, there is strategic and tactical business value waiting to be delivered.

However, not much was done to bring it into reality. Most of reporting functionality of PLM products is clunky. Significant effort needed to bring right data in the right form. In many situations, customers are using services to generate and run reports. I touched the topic of PLM analytics a year ago – What is the future of PLM data analytics? My main point back one year ago was about speed of report generating and analytic processing. I can see some changes in the recent time. PLM vendors are starting to focus on how to improve data access user experience and speed of reporting.

PLM vendors are not alone in the hunt for data analytics these days. Few weeks ago, Salesforce.com announced about their plans to democratize analytics and bring it to every user in a simple way. Navigate your browser to the following link to learn more about Salesforce Analytics Cloud powered by Wave technologies.

The following  screenshot captured from Salesforce Analytics cloud website made me think Salesforce is not limiting analytics to CRM data. The vision of Salesforce Wave is much beyond – the plan is to reach out to data located on the desktop, public internet, social networks and enterprise applications. It includes partnership with other vendors too.  Sort of grand vision…

sf-wave-cloud

It made me think about the role PLM vendors and PLM products will play in new analytics wave plans. My attention caught by PTC announcement – PTC Joins New Salesforce Analytics Cloud Ecosystem to Extend Internet of Things Technology.

PTC will use its PTC ThingWorx and PTC Axeda Machine Cloud® technology to extend Wave by providing access to streaming Internet of Things (IoT) data from smart, connected products. Specifically, the integration will empower PTC and Salesforce customers to view data generated in a unified experience. The insights gained from the data will allow business units across an organization to more easily develop data analytic strategies that deliver stronger business value to their customers.

CIMdata provided an additional insight on PTC and Salesforce partnership here. To me, the key thing is related to unified experience. That was the key missing part in business intelligence, reporting and other data extraction technologies developed in the past.

What is my conclusion? Salesforce made a huge platform step by introducing Salesforce Wave. However, the future success of Wave is dependent on data availability. How fast Salesforce will be able to provide access to data locked in other enterprise platforms? The value of mixing CRM and PLM data can be significant and it can help PLM vendors to bring customers to their platforms. However, to catch the wave can be a tricky part for PLM platforms. It will require significant shift in openness and state of mind. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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plm-for-xtreme-manufacturing

I’m sure most of you are familiar with XP (Extreme Programming) – software development methodology, which intent to improve software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements. The history of XP goes back in the end of 90s. Despite very short history XP is very popular and it is hard to find a respectful software development team not adopting at least part of principles of XP.

Earlier this week, I learned about XM (eXtreme manufacturing) inspired by Scrum and Kanban. XM named after XP and it takes some principles of eXtreme Programming such as agile, communication, user stories and more. According to Wikipedia article, XM is interactive and incremental development framework. It combines best practices of project management and focused on holistic approach in goal achievement. The same wikipedia article quotes and example of experimental car that was developed just in 3 months. Few other examples are available. Here is the passage from wikipedia speaking about that:

In 2008, Joe Justice entered the Automotive X Prize, and achieved with XM what Fortune Magazine called the “seemingly impossible;” he and his team developed a functional prototype of an ultra-efficient automobile in three months time.[4] Even more remarkably the 100 mpg car has an impressive 0-60: < 5 seconds [1].[5] A number of prototype cars have been developed by separate companies using the XM process. Companies use XM as a way to challenge their employees to develop new skills and learn the power of teamwork to solve complex problems. For example, Lockheed Martin(Sunnyvale, CA) challenged 200 of its engineers to build a 100 mpg car in a single day; the challenge was met and the team’s car was sold for $25,000.[6] Another such example isopensourceecology.org,[7] whose Global Village Construction kit is bringing affordable industrial farming techniques to the small scale farm.

If you are familiar with XP, you may find some of XM methods very similar. Here is a very short explanation:

XM uses a prioritized product backlog as the primary work input queue. Work is visualized in an open area generally on a single team Kanban Board. Every XM team has a Scrum Master and also a Product Owner, who together with the team help to ensure that Agile/Lean principles are followed.

I found some additional materials about XML here and here. The last one is Kickstarter project by Joe Justice who coined XM term – Develop eXtreme Manufacturing class and curriculum.

Learning about XM made me think about possible intersection of PLM and XM. It seems to me PLM vendors are not very focused on this space today. There are lots of tools for XP and Agile development. These tools are helping to support development teams to achieve goals, work on user stories, log issues and control projects. Some of these tools are very successful. These tools such as Jira by Atlassian successfully developed large software communities. I’m sure rethinking some of existing XP tools can be a good starting points to develop PLM for XM.

What is my conclusion? Manufacturing space is changing. New type of manufacturing companies are coming. My hunch, these companies will adopt agile and XM type of work and will change traditional working methods. These companies will develop new world of manufacturing (similar to the revolution that was made by Henry Ford back 100 years ago). It looks like an interesting opportunity to look what type of software tools these companies will require. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

picture credit scruminc

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plm-manufacturing-bom-boom

I’ve been doing data management system for the last 20 years. The one thing you learn very fast – 3D and visualization are cool. Data is boring. So, if you want to impress somebody (journalist, analyst, your boss… whoever else)  you need to create realistic representation of your future product. And show how to can turn it on the screen of your computer or better on mobile device (the reality of last 3 years). I agree, to see what you mean is cool, especially if you can make it before it will be manufactured. Awesome stuff. It can sell your product before it even exists. CAD/ PLM companies made lots of money selling visualization and rendering products. These days you almost cannot differentiate the video or photo of real car from realistic visualization.

Forget about it, for the moment… Design can be cool. However, important question these days is that – can you really make this product? If yes, than how? How fast? Or even more – can you make a profit after you design, visualize, manufacture and sell your product?

Engineering.com articleThe Next Big Boom in PLM and ERP and the Battle Over mBOM Ownership announced “war alarm” between PLM and ERP companies around manufacturing BOM (MBOM). Article speaks about how important MBOM and Master data management in solving problems such as cost, quality, tooling and many others.

I made me think again about how future of manufacturing will be dependent on solving of old PLM/ERP integration problem. In my view, complicated data synchronization is really bad thing. It leads to complex behavior, user experience and, after all, to product data errors. The question of product data errors is one the disturbs manufacturing companies. Emailing spreadsheet with bill of material won’t make your product development and manufacturing process more efficient. The following passage from engineering.com article is my favorite:

Ashley Morris, a researcher at Cardiff University in the UK, has identified seven root causes of product data errors. The three most important ones are 1/ Inaccurate data entry; 2/ Incorrect data flow between applications; 3/ Duplicate data between systems. Product development teams are all-too-familiar with how these errors occur given the various systems that manage the data. Generally cBOMs (configuration BOMs) and eBOMs (engineering BOMs) are created in the PLM systems, whereas mBOMs (manufacturing BOMs) and sBOMs (service BOMs) emanate from ERP or/and MES systems. But there’s no rule here.  Several variants and combinations are “on the map”.

MBOM is tough problem. I identified 4 main reasons why MBOM is hard for PLM. Read my previous article here. In a nutshell, here are four main reasons why MBOM solution is not simple for PLM vendors and service providers:

1- Most PLM systems starts from CAD and Engineering BOM.

2- Engineering and manufacturing people live in different worlds.

3- Synchronization of BOMs is messy by default.

4- For PLM to get data about manufacturing parts is painful.

Despite all these complexities and difficulties, PLM vendors is pushing towards better integration with manufacturing. I really liked the following quote explaining the objective of Bill of Material module by Siemens PLM:

“The objective of this BOM module (TC PMM) is to provide an integrated BOM foundation spanning Engineering, Manufacturing, Prototype and Service domains.” The tight integration to design and manufacturing processes can drive virtual validation of both these process types from a BOM point of view. “With our approach the BOM is documented once and various other BOM’s like mBOM, sBOM, pBOM etc are derived from this core eBOM, without re-documentation.”

So, what it all means for PLM? Bill of Materials (BOM) was always the apple of discord between PLM and ERP. Large companies these days cannot live with PLM and ERP systems. While engineering part of product information resides in PLM system, manufacturing part is managed by ERP. Product cost and quality can often fail between chairs and this situation disturbs manufacturing companies. This is the simplest possible configuration. Sometimes, design and engineering product even more distributed (look on Airbus’ case) – design (CATIA), product configuration (Windchill), manufacturing BOM (SAP). Which brings me back to my thoughts about why companies are not ready for single BOM? Main reasons – specialized tools used by different departments, no agreement between organizations how to manage data in a consistent way, absence of ‘universal’ tools.

What is my conclusion? 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. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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How to Dogfooding PLM in your Family Inc.

February 10, 2013

Dogfooding or “eating your dog food” is a fascinating topic. It came to us from computer software company. This slang word means use what you do in your own company. I know many people that passionate about PLM and trying to use it in many situation that going much beyond traditional concepts of design, engineering […]

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Thoughts before ACE 2012: Why Aras PLM is different?

May 1, 2012

I’m in Detroit today to attend Aras PLM user conference – ACE 2012. I’ve heard in the halls before conference that the theme of the conference – “Aras is different”. Few months before, Aras blogged about the same topic here. You can learn about the conference agenda by navigating to the following link. I wanted to give my […]

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PLM and My Reading List

November 26, 2011

It is a long weekend in US. Even if my day-to-day business activities are not completely US oriented, I can feel some relaxing moments since yesterday. I was sorting out my bookshelf today. Since 3 months ago, I made myself switching completely to digital reading. Nevertheless, I found quite many books that were on my […]

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Electric Design and PLM Roadmap

June 29, 2011

In the early beginning, solutions for manufacturing were focusing primarily on machinery and mechanical design. The historical reason here is simple – mechanical design was a key element of manufacturing for many years. However, the era of ‘mechanical design only’ ends. We can hear more and more about various aspects of combined solutions – Siemens […]

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COFES 2011 Rountable Discussions

April 13, 2011

I’m out for COFES this week. It will start tomorrow. My blog and COFES have some common roots. COFES is an annual think tank event that brings executives design, engineering, manufacturing, architecture and construction industry to think and discuss the role of engineering technology in the future of their business. My blog started as a […]

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PLM Definition – Corporate vs. Consumer Style?

March 22, 2011

It is seems to me PLM definition is a trending topic these days . Few hours ago, I posted my “PLM Definition – Next Round?” which is referencing the refreshing PLM definition coming  from PTC. What I found is that Dassault Systems have been decided to refresh their PLM definition as well, by publishing the […]

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PTC, SolidWorks and Windchill PLM Success.

February 28, 2011

I read Martyn Day article The Jim Heppelmann Interview. Mr. Heppelmann shared his thoughts about different aspects related to PTC, CAD, PLM and competitors. Read this interview and make your opinion. Here my favorite passage from this interview related to comparison between Windchill and SolidWorks: “Windchill is doing exceptionally well and just to put it […]

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