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PLM

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Few months ago, I speculated if Box can become a platform for PLM. Navigate to my previous article to read more details. In a nutshell, it was about aligning Box industry strategies with the opportunity to use Box cloud storage for engineering data.

Business insider article yesterday Box and VCs have created a $40 million fund for startups building on Box’s platform made me think again about the potential opportunity for Box to be a platform for engineering applications. The article is stressing the point of use storage for business applications. Here is the passage from article explaining why Box is looking for startups.

If Box wants to rule the business software market, it needs a lot of people using it. To get a lot of people using it, it needs apps that use it as the storage service on the backend. To get apps that use the service, it needs more startups willing to do it.

So, how to start? Navigate to the following TechCrunch article to learn more about Box development edition. The cost of storage is decreasing and companies like Box are looking how to create future business differentiations.

Box has recognized for some time that cloud storage is a commodity. Knowing that and noting it on stage, the company pressed its various services that it has built on top of storage, like permissions, access statistics and content management. Box Developer Edition is a bet that developers want to integrate storage and file management into their apps, but don’t want to bother with all the hassling details, something that Box has spent significant time and resources figuring out.

More details about Box development edition is here. On the following picture, you can see a possible template for enterprise application on top of Box platform.

box-enterprise-app-pattern-2

Take a look on many enterprise PLM applications and you can recognize similar pattern – groups, folders, content, permissions, collaboration.

What is my conclusion? I like the idea of turning Box towards a platform to build enterprise applications. The barrier to get in the market of enterprise applications is high. Enterprises’ preference to work with large trusted companies is well known in the market. And most of startups are dying because they cannot reach customers. Having investors and neutral horizontal service like Box as a foundation can be an interesting start for new PLM company. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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It is hard to overestimate the value of bill of materials (BOM) in product design, engineering and manufacturing. It is everywhere – product design and configuration, engineering, manufacturing, operation, etc. BOM is equally important and complex. In my earlier articles, I touched multiple dimensions of BOM complexity - disciplines, product lifecycle, changes. PLM vendors are focusing on high level of integration of product information into development process. Few months ago in my article When BOM is not BOM, I touched some of aspects of BOM complexity and how it related to BOM ownership, BOM errors and future battle for MBOM ownership between PLM and ERP.

Actually, the battle between PLM vendors for superior BOM solution can be even more interesting. Engineering.com article – Volkswagen’s Epic Challenge to synchronize PLM for its Truck Brands brings a very interesting story about German automotive giant trying to unify PLM solution across its commercial vehicle brands. Take some of your lunch or evening time and read the article.

The example of Scania brings up the value of well integrated PLM solution to support vehicle configuration and manufacturing.

The secret to Scania’s success is a sales model where product development and modular manufacturing processes are interwoven with sales into a holistic system. The company is known for its tailor-made vehicles. Scania’s PLM plays a big role in its business model. Scania uses Dassault’s (DS) CATIA V5 while ENOVIA V5 serves as the CAD vault. PDM functionality is handled via Scania’s proprietary OAS platform which defines the rules for how the components can be assembled. The OAS works as a product database, configuration and structural control solution. CAD geometries are downloaded from the ENOVIA CAD vault in accordance with the configurations delivered by OAS. In terms of the eBOM and the mBOM, it’s once again about OAS and its couplings to ENOVIA. The company’s manufacturing solutions can’t handle many variations; you have to prepare one at a time and make them individually for each truck.

For some your it might be a big surprise, but according to the article, Excel is a key element of PLM solution used by another vehicle manufacturer. MAN is using Excel based technology to work with EBOM and MBOM.

MAN uses both Dassault’s CATIA V5 and PTC’s ProEngineer/CREO. After a succesful pilot last year that considered product development (ie, not production), the company chose PTC’s PDMLink (part of Windchill) for their CAD vault and PDM system. Configuration and structural control is principally handled via an Excel Integration with PDM Link. The eBOM (engineering BOM) and the mBOM (manufacturing BOM) are produced by PDM Link via the Excel integration, picking up the parts from the CAD vault. The implementation of PDM Link is under way but at a low speed in anticipation of a final PLM decision.

The story of MAN and Scania made me think about importance of BOM management in complex product configurations and vertical integration with manufacturing. Build to order or engineering to order environments are extremely complex and require fine tuned integration between engineering bills, configuration parameters (features) and ability to translate it into manufacturing and as-built environment.

Here is my favorite passage from engineering.com article which put nail in the head of BOM importance.

BOM management issues will be the most crucial and will determine the direction the company takes. Regardless of what VAG decides to do, the gains that can be made through sharp, highly automated BOM creation and MDM (Master Data Management) solutions is significant. The advanatge of an MDM solution is that it connects the PLM, MES and ERP systems into seamlessly functioning IT units for the shop floor and manufacturing.

What is my conclusion? Platformization is one of the trends in modern PLM according to CIMdata. The example of VW shows an importance of BOM management in order to provide robust and scalable PLM solution for complex automotive manufacturing. My hunch BOM will become one of the most important weapons PLM vendors will be using to differentiate future PLM platforms. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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COFES 2015: PLM and the cloud briefing

by Oleg on April 20, 2015 · 4 comments

plm-cloud-adoption

Last week at COFES 2015, I shared my thoughts and opinion about what happens between PLM and the cloud for the last few years. That was a teaser of my COFES session in the agenda:

As recently as three years ago, the cloud was viewed as a differentiator for some PLM vendors. The PLM world was divided between those who viewed the cloud as “the future” and those who viewed it as a fad. Today, most PLM vendors touch the cloud or engage with it in some way. But… what has really changed? Where do we stand with the big questions/challenges with PLM? Can the cloud still be the source of a competitive differentiator for PLM vendors?

Cloud is an outcome of web technological revolution of 2000s. Consumer web applications and social networks provided great user experience, open source technology and taste of new business models. In many situations, we experienced better performance, usability and robustness of consumer applications compared to our business solutions. Which basically set all enterprise CIOs on fire from 2010 to deliver new enterprise solutions.

But cloud is not only about technologies. It is also about transformation in business models. We can see a shift towards SaaS applications with subscription models and variety of innovation in different business models – pay for storage, pay for use, references, etc.

Manufacturing companies are looking for new PLM business models, which can allow them to have sustainable licensing mechanism to grow, remove upfront cost and deliver “less expensive PLM” to existing and new users.

Enterprise software discovered SaaS applications and cloud too. Salesforce.com was pioneering so called “no software” paradigm from early 2000s. In manufacturing and enterprise, Netsuite is another example of software vendor using cloud as a strategy. Bom.com (later transformed into Arena Solutions) was a first on-demand application providing PLM related functionality. Windchill and Agile PLM software are also examples of PLM products experimenting with hosting and on-demand delivery.

plm-cloud-history-2015

The revolutionary step was done by Autodesk PLM360 in 2012. Autodesk was not engaged with PLM activity until that time. It was even famous for anti-PLM rants. However, in 2012, Autodesk introduced PLM 360 (built on top of Datastay acquisition), which became a game changing trigger for PLM industry. Since 2012, we can see an increased trend among PLM vendors to adopt cloud strategy.

Below is a slide deck summarizing my PLM and the cloud briefing. It provides few more details, so take a look.

What is my conclusion? Few things are clear today about PLM and the cloud. It is obvious that cloud is not fad and it removes significant IT headache to install, configure and maintain PLM. With cloud option, you can start PLM development almost instantaneously. However, PLM implementations are still hard. What is not clear is the future cloud PLM adoption trajectory. Manufacturing companies made significant investments in existing PLM installations and implementations. What ROI can trigger their decision to move into cloud PLM? There is an opportunity for companies that never engaged in PLM, to start with cloud PLM as a more efficient and easy way to adopt PLM. However, the implementation phase is still painful for many customers. Therefore the main question for me is what can bend future a curve of cloud PLM adoption. Just my thought…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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Can we see CAD-PLM unicorns on a horizon?

April 16, 2015

I’m on my way to COFES 2015 - annual gathering of people discussing a future of engineering software in Scottsdale, Arizona. It made me think about an intersection of startup and engineering software world. Last year I shared my thoughts about a potential surge of CAD / PLM startups driven by new cloud technologies, web, open source and […]

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Personal SWOT for PLM professionals

April 15, 2015

Engineering and manufacturing software industry is well known by very high barrier to entry. It is related to specific professional manufacturing knowledge as well as experience with software products – CAD, PDM, PLM, etc. It is not easy to make a decision about what tools to learn and what job to accept. I’m getting requests […]

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How to sell PLM to big companies

April 14, 2015

PLM sales is not an easy job. PLM is usually “sold” to companies… or actually sold to people running product development and manufacturing in these companies. I shared some of my thoughts about PLM sales in my previous posts – PLM Sales Cheat Sheet and Why hard to sell PLM ROI? However, I want specially reference […]

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PLM PaaS may not happen after all

April 13, 2015

Platform is such a lovely word. Software vendors like platforms because it gives them an additional capability to partner with a community of developers. In cloud era, platform is often associated with PaaS (platform as a service). For the last few years, PaaS was mentioned as a next step in developing of cloud platforms. PaaS […]

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Why 2015 will be the year for PLM to rethink cloud?

April 10, 2015

I’m coming to COFES 2015 next week, which will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona. PLM and the cloud is one of the topic I’m planing to discuss during the analyst and user briefing sessions. I’ve been thinking to beat a schedule and share some of my thoughts on blog before to spark a conversation. The […]

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Where to host my cloud CAD and PLM?

April 8, 2015

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 […]

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PLM and contract manufacturing processes

April 7, 2015

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 […]

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