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PDM ROI: Myths or Reality?

by Oleg on May 24, 2012 · 0 comments

In personal life, the justification of your buying decision is simple. You want to have the next cool device, period. In business, it is different. The magic acronym ROI (Return on Investment) will be the first question you need to answer. Cost is real thing. Benefits must be real too. Last year, I posted about PDM ROI Calculator for SolidWorks. It generated interesting discussion about how possible to create a calculator to measure investment in PDM.

Few days ago, I bumped into another SolidWorks article – Top Five Return on Investment Areas for EPDM. According to is a Product Group Manager at Javelin Technologies, the areas include – productivity, error reduction, team growth management and training, sales and distribution. The picture from the article is convincing that cumulative benefits of CAD 1.5M after 3 years.

One of the key areas of saving according to PDM ROI calculator is risk reduction saving. I assume it translates into error reduction described by article. The following passage presents 4 questions that can lead us to the right measurement of error reduction.

1. How often do we accidentally manufacture to the incorrect revision?

2. What is the potential cost if we do manufacture to the wrong revision?

3. How many change orders are created a year and how many of them could have been avoided if proper collaboration processes were in place?

4. What is the cost of processing a change order?

The questions represent problems in a very clear way. To have answers to the question is the key. To spot industry numbers providing answers on the question above can be an interesting exercise.

What is my conclusion? The question of ROI and PDM is fascinating.  It is well-know fact that 60-70% of MCAD seats in the industry is not managed by PDM and use files or alternative solutions (excel, etc.) to manage data. If ROI is obvious as we can see from examples, why 60-70% of MCAD customers are still not running to buy PDM solutions. Just my thoughts. YMMV.

Best, Oleg



BAM! Aras just announced Enterprise PLM for SolidWorks. Here is the new article – Enterprise PLM for Enterprise PDM. Navigate to the following article to read more – Open Source Aras Releases Commercial PLM Solution for SolidWorks. Here is the short conclusion made by Randall Newton: Our assessment: Aras just plugged a huge hole in the SolidWorks marketplace, one as big as the product name is long.

Fast rewind back in 2010. SolidWorks World 2010. Anaheim, CA. SolidWorks is announcing about their future products on top of Enovia V6 platform. During that event SolidWorks made multiple mentioning of Enovia V6 to be used as a platform for future enhancements of SolidWorks. Here is the passage from razorleaf’s blog summarizing SolidWorks World 2010:

SolidWorks has a new product line, SolidWorks PLM.  This line will include a number of offerings, thefirst of which is cloud-based data management named SolidWorks Product Data Sharing (PDS).  This software was demonstrated on the last day of the show, operating right inside of SolidWorks.  For those paying close attention, the PDS plug-in showed a label, “powered by ENOVIA V6.”

Now rewind seven month ago. SolidWorks 2011. I posted – Integrated PDM and PLM: Wrong Question? This blog was a follow up on the conversation and presentation made by Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf about SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and ENOVIA V6 integration. Slides are still here.

The interesting comment to this post was made by Marc Lind of Aras:

My sense is that the future will be about leveraging existing systems / data, like legacy PDMs, with more modern technologies to enable global processes, cross-functional collaboration and new ways of doing business. Our “view” at Aras is: Use the latest PLM technology to automate what makes economic sense, gets results quickly and gives you control over your own destiny.

I had a chance to meet Aras booth during SWW 2011. Aras presented a co-existance between Open Source Enterprise PLM and EPDM (see photo in the beginning of the post)

Another rewind. April 2011. ACE 2011 (Aras Community Event). After digesting all ACE 2011 materials and presentations, my clear conclusion was – Aras PLM lines up against Windchill, Enovia and TeamCenter. Navigate to my earlier blog to see slides presented Aras. The integration capabilities of Aras were clearly outlined and existing PLMs were presented as “PLM Legacy”.

Here is the quote from my blog post:

Integration is an important element of every PLM strategy and implementation. There are multiple aspects of integrations – desktops, CADs, PLM systems and ERP systems. Aras presented a very broad scope of integrations and integration technologies. (note: I was a bit surprised to see existing PLM systems defined as “legacy”)..

Aras Enterprise PLM vs. Enovia V6

The Enterprise PLM offering by Aras is pretty straightforward. Aras is going after 3 key areas – Engineering Bill of Material management, Change Management and Project/Portfolio Management.

All these modules are available in Enovia V6 portfolio - Enovia Engineering Central and Enovia Program Central. Now, customer can make a decision.

What is my conclusion? Aras is clearly playing a role of a disrupter on PLM market. Back in 2007, Aras disrupted PLM first time by introducing Open Source PLM. It looks like Aras is on the way to make a second disruption among large companies using SolidWorks and taking a role of Enovia V6 in a bundle EPDM / EPLM. Enovia clearly has a technological advantage of having unified development forces in their new Dassault facilities in Waltham, MA to develop “best in class” Enovia V6 / SolidWorks EPDM integration. The speed of customer adoption will be a key factor for Aras. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg



Integrate PDM and PLM: Wrong Question?

by Oleg on February 8, 2011 · 1 comment

Two weeks ago, during SolidWorks World 2011, I had a chance to talk with Jonathan Scott of Razorleaf about different aspects of integration between SolidWorks Enterprise PDM and Enovia V6. Navigate to the following link to see Jonathan’s presentation online. These slides as well our conversation made me think about trajectories of different product data management systems and environments in the context of the overall software lifecycle in manufacturing organization.

PDM as a PLM Foundation

Few years ago, I had a chance to read SolidWorks White Paper about PLM. You can navigate to the following link to retrieve this document. The concept of “PLM: It starts from PDM” was crafted very well in this paper. Thinking more about this concept I can see a very interesting approach of PLM implementation- to start from existing PDM solution. The potential advantages of this approach can be to prevent unnecessarily migrations between systems and shorten implementation cycle. PLM system connected to PDM system can re-use data foundation to manage CAD files lifecycle, Bill of Materials, change management.

CAD Files and BOMs

These are two entities that always raises lots of discussion during PLM implementations. Multiple CAD systems create significant difficulties for PLM implementation and making ROI much longer than expected. Management of multiple Bill of Materials, tracking changes between different BOM views can be an additional complication in front of PLM. What if product data management system, which already in place (from CAD vendors, homegrown or any other) can provide this solution? The starting point of PLM implementation will not be anymore to start managing CAD files.

Collaboration and Process Foundation

A significant portion of a product lifecycle is to support people in their way to run product development, exchange information and making decision. Most of this work today relies on IT infrastructure available in the organization – mail, shared workspaces, instant messenger and more. Business process management software (if any in place) rarely covers product development processes. Companies thinking about product development process improvements have a very long way to go until PLM implementation actually coming to the stage of quality management, cost management, compliance, regulatory and more.  A new approach in PLM implementations can be to start from this stage and leveraging existing PDM infrastructure.

What is my conclusion? Software has a long lifecycle in manufacturing companies. I found the lifecycle of PDM/PLM software systems is very complicated. Actually, it is as complicated as the product lifecycle they are managing. To change existing systems in a company can be a very costly decision. To re-use existing systems can be a complicated from the technical standpoint, but can lead to a faster ROI. It makes sense to me. The cost of integration can be a key in this story. So, a potentially “wrong question” can lead to the right answer. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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