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Manufacturing

How collaborative economy will change PLM

by Oleg on December 19, 2014 · 0 comments

plm-collaborative-economy

Have you heard about collaborative economy? If you are not familiar with the term, it is a time to get up to speed. I’m sure you are familiar with many examples of collaborative economy or so-called economy of share. Here is Wikipedia definition, which I found pretty accurate:

The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organisations.[1] These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services.[2] A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.[3]

The economy of share is growing. You can find an interesting perspective on presenting of collaboration economy in the following article by Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies – The collaborative economy honeycomb.

Reading about growing collaborative economy made me think about significant influence on a world of things and the way people and companies are interacting during the process of designing, engineering, manufacturing and servicing products. It comes across many aspects of business and can fundamentally change business relationships and, as a result, influence product lifecycle.

Remember, existing PLM paradigms and fundamental ways companies are using engineering and manufacturing software were established back 40-50 years ago. The model CAD/PLM companies used for that came from large aerospace, automotive and defense companies. World we live in today is changing. So, how it will change product lifecycle management environment?

I captured few bold examples that can give you an idea of that change. Sharing economy environment is growing and evolving. Some of these examples can be transformed in the future or dissapear at all. But, in my view, it won’t change a trend of changes in manufacturing.

Distributed manufacturing and material production

Large companies that used to build existing PLM models already had distributed infrastructure. This infrastructure was centrally controlled and managed. It includes systems and infra to manage IP, transportation, etc. All together, it presented economically feasible model for manufacturing and distribution. Existing PLM system helped to execute elements of this model – design, engineering, services and others.

The emerging sharing economy model is different. It introduced new type of intellectual property management (including IP cooperation) and leverage a network of smaller players connected around the world leading technology innovation. This ecosystem made of network of workshops that can produce things locally. However, this model requires global physical coordination between players that located around the world. The demand for infrastructure and tools to support such type of model will be growing.

Peer production in manufacturing

Peer-to-peer is a form allowing connection between individuals and organizations and aggregate around the creation of common value. Building blocks of this model are cooperation, common knowledge, shared resources and open distribution. Open source software demonstrated a power of peer-to-peer production. Modern web was significantly influenced by this software creation model.

The model of peer production is now going beyond software in many domains. Manufacturing clearly will be impacted by introducing of new forms of relationships and production. Open source software created many tools that served needs of FOSS community. We might see similar situation in software for engineering and manufacturing.

Personal manufacturing

Manufacturing is transforming. What was before only possible for large companies and government is now scaling down to one. Regular people and small manufacturing shops with small investment capital are able to setup and grow up as their business will be growing. We know many examples of successful digital fabrication and personal manufacturing. Just go on Kickstarter and watch companies there.

However, most of Kickstarter projects are failing to deliver on time. They are facing problems with scaling their product development and manufacturing processes without right tools. I covered it in my blog – Why Kickstarter need PLM.

What is my conclusion? I only mentioned few examples of how economy of share is going to transform manufacturing. Future manufacturing processes will be network driven, which will introduce a complete new model for product lfiecycle management tools. This is where cloud PLM and other SaaS tools will have significant advantage. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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Thoughts about BOM ownership

by Oleg on November 20, 2014 · 2 comments

data-shared-instead-of-plm-erp

The Engineering.com publication about PLM taking ownership of MBOM ignited few discussions online about Bill of Materials, BOM Management and co-existence of multiple enterprise systems. My first thought was that all of them will have to rethink the way BOM is synchronized between systems. This is not a new problem. Any implementation of enterprise PLM is facing this challenge. Pumping BOM between PLM, ERP and other systems is costly and complex process. But the reality – this is the only practical way to do so.

I went back in my old writing to find some recommendation how to make it easier. My old blog post five years ago, speaks about Seven Rules Towards Single Bill of Materials. To me, all recommendations are still very relevant. Following them can make your “BOM synchronization” problem less painful. Almost at the same time, Jim Brown of Tech-Clarity also shared his thoughts about single BOM: Single Bill of Material – Holy Grail or Pipe Dream? I liked Jim’s thought about Single BOM vs. Associated BOM. Here is a passage I liked:

Companies have spent a lot of time and effort making logical connections between different BOMs, and developing tools to help develop and synchronize different BOMs. For example, PLM, MPM, and Digital Manufacturing software helps companies translate an engineering BOM into a manufacturing BOM and then further into a BOP. In fact, they have gone further upstream to match conceptual BOMs and requirement structures downstream to BOMs. Maybe you would call these “workarounds” to the real answer of a single BOM. But I would propose a different view based on history and my observations. Perhaps engineers have done what we do best – addressed the problem in the most practical way as opposed to the most elegant way to solve a problem.

At the same time, single BOM or Associated BOM is hard. It requires many points of synchronization between departments and processes. Therefore, I still keep my opinion that most of companies today are still Not Ready for Single Bill of Materials.

So, what to do? How to make an improvement? Do you think fight for MBOM as it mentioned in Engineering.com article is the only way? I tried to visualize the picture of different BOMs and present it together with how PLM and ERP ownership is distributed. Take a look on the picture below.

PLM-ERP-BOM-Ownership

There are paces where each systems claims their benefits. At the same time, there are places where ownership of bill of materials and related product information can be different. The touch point is manufacturing BOM. I still believe, this is the next cool thing in PLM – how to manage MBOM.

What is my conclusion? I think both ERP and PLM vendors need to take a step back. Data ownership was a fundamental part of any enterprise business strategy for the last 20 years. Maybe, this is a time to change data ownership approach? Maybe it is a time to think about better data synchronization and transparency. How we can help people to collaborate alongside the product development process from design to management and to support and services? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

photo credit: mrxstitch via photopin cc

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Tesla-model-s-infotainment-beyondplm

The complexity of manufacturing is skyrocketing these days. It sounds reasonable for many of us when it comes to spaceships, jetliners and defense systems. You can think about car as something much simpler. Navigate to Ford Heritage website article – Ford Celebrates 100 Years of the Moving Assembly Line. The complexity of Ford Model T just about 100 years ago was few thousands parts:

One hundred years ago today, Henry Ford and his team at Highland Park assembly plant launched the world’s greatest contribution to manufacturing – the first moving assembly line. It simplified assembly of the Ford Model T’s 3,000 parts by breaking it into 84 distinct steps performed by groups of workers as a rope pulled the vehicle chassis down the line.

ford-t-manufacturing

The situation is completely different these days and it raises concerns of cars reliability because of design complexity. My attention was caught Business Insider article – Consumer Reports Says Infotainment Systems Are Ruining Car Reliability. Picture in the article shows central computing unit of Tesla Model S. I’m not sure the concern of authors was specifically about Tesla, but I noticed the following passage:

“Of the 17 problem areas CR asks about in its survey, the category including in-car electronics generated more complaints from owners of 2014 models than for any other category.” Automakers have invested heavily in infotainment systems since consumers began demanding them in a wide variety of vehicles. Furthermore, the entire auto industry is looking forward to a future in which in-car electronics, displays, related infotainment systems, and advanced self-driving features will be increasingly prevalent, if not dominant. It can be difficult enough to engineer a highly reliable car from a strictly mechanical standpoint. There are quite literally a lot of moving parts. Bringing a whole new cluster of technologies into the picture has created additional pressures — and to a certain extent given Consumer Reports’ testers more to find wrong.

This article reminded me few topics I touched before on my blog. One of them is related to some of my speculation about future plans of Tesla to build their own PLM system. Another one is related to future need to combine engineering and software BOMs. I think, these are very critical elements of modern PLM system to serve the needs of many manufacturing companies. Tesla is probably an extreme case. But the question is for how long.

Here are some interesting examples about Tesla electronic and software. Navigate to Autoconnectcar article – Telsa S super connected car is a giant iPad on wheels? The article speaks about some interesting tear-down project made by IHS, which is known for tearing down smartphones and tables. IHS recently tore apart 2013 Tesla Model S. Read the article and watch few videos. The following passage gives you an impression of Tesla media control unit (the hub of infotainment and everything else in Tesla)

The Premium Media Control Unit is gigantic as compared to other cars with a 17″ diagonal display that controls the whole car with a NVIDA Tegra 3 1.4-gigahertz quad-core processor. It’s large, with ten printed circuit boards with wireless communications (Sierra Wireless 3G HSPA+ cellular module), GPS, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi (Parrot), a visual computing modual, DRAM, supporting components, touchscreen controller,  display controller and motherboard. The instrument cluster is NVIDIA Tegra 2 based

The complexity of bill of material just for this unit goes beyond average smart TV set. Which can give you an impression of overall complexity. The article briefly mentioned future connected telematics with internet access. Which connects to even more complex topic of IoT complexity and scale I posted before – IoT data will blow up traditional PLM databases.

What is my conclusion? The challenges and complexity of product development and manufacturing are real. The wide spread of electronic and software in modern manufacturing products and the overall complexity level is growing up. While all eyes are now following Tesla, my hunch other cars are not much different and modern product development trends will not make car simpler. It raises many questions about requirements to PLM software capable to manage such level of complexity. PLM vendors and engineering IT architects can take a note and do some homework. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Pictures credit Business Insider article and Ford Heritage website.

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MBOM collaboration and cost of change

October 9, 2014

The only thing that is constant is change. This is very much applies to everything we do around BOM. Engineering and manufacturing eco-system are full of jokes about engineering changes. You maybe heard about renaming “engineering change order” into “engineering mistake order” as well as the correlation between number of engineers and number of ECOs […]

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Manufacturing BOM dilemma

October 8, 2014

Manufacturing process optimization is one of the biggest challenges in product development these days. Companies are looking how to low the cost, optimize manufacturing process for speed and to deliver large variety of product configurations. The demand for these improvements is very high. The time when engineering were throwing design”over the wall of engineering“ is over. […]

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Accelerate 2014: PLM360 and the state of manufacturing industry

September 17, 2014

I’m attending Accelerate 2014 PLM360 event these days in Boston. This is the first ever live gathering of Autodesk PLM360 community. According to Ron Locking who kicked the event yesterday, it comes to a total number of about 200 attendees combined of customers, partners and industry analysts. So, why Boston? The welcome joke triggered by […]

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Will future PLM order parts for makers?

September 9, 2014

Have you heard about “makers”? If you are in manufacturing business, you probably should pay attention to that. You may hear about “makers movement” these days as a new industrial revolution changing the way people are making stuff. I can recommend you Chris Anderson’s book to read more about that. New digital technologies are going to change […]

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Existing data prevents companies to improve Part Numbers?

August 15, 2014

Part Numbers is a fascinating topic. I’m coming back to blog about what is the best approach to manage Part Numbers. My last post about it was – Part Numbers are hard. How to think about data first? was just few weeks ago. In that article, I outlined few principles how to keep PN separate from […]

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Will public clouds help enterprises to crunch engineering data?

August 6, 2014

The scale and complexity of the data is growing tremendously these days. If you go back 20 years, the challenge for PDM / PLM companies was how to manage revisions CAD files. Now we have much more data coming into engineering department. Data about simulations and analysis, information about supply chain, online catalog parts and […]

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PLM, ERP and the death of over the wall engineering

July 31, 2014

Do you remember “throw over the wall of manufacturing” statement? This is a traditional engineering world. Pretty much sequential. Engineers are doing their job and throw it over the wall to the next stage. Traditional manufacturing was driven by sales forecast. This is was the world that formed a traditional domains of PDM/PLM and ERP. […]

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