PLM and Scaling Options

I’ve been thinking about how possible to change PLM development trajectory and scale PLM adoption in the market. Thinking about other industries, I came to the conclusion that many of them are locked to scale because of two main reasons: 1/ it was too complex; 2/it was too expensive. It was with internet, mobile, cars, airplanes… Think about that, as soon as was possible to make it simple and cheap we got a different trajectory of scale and adoption. On the other side, scaling up industry can really make industry rich.

PLM Complexity
This topic is always trending in all conversations about PLM. Many people are arguing- PLM is too complex, PLM created a complication that prevents people from using concepts, people dislike PLM systems because they are not useful and hard to implement…. On the other side, when people can see the results of PLM implementation, they are amazed to discover how PLM implementation changed the way organization can design, manufacture, operate and, in the end, make money. So, a complexity is a number one problem that needs to be resolved in PLM. To make things simple is not a simple task. When you will watch a very old Apple’s commercials, you may understand that “thinking simple” is a long and extensive process.

PLM Cost
This is another side of PLM story. The initial PLM ideas and implementations came from the large companies. They have been unique, tailored to the specific needs and… expensive. The cost wasn’t a big issue for these companies back 15 years ago. Today, manufacturing is a different. Manufacturing is optimized. The amount of small suppliers are growing. The smaller suppliers need to optimize the way they can work. To use expensive systems probably won’t be an option to them. How we can make systems cheaper? Open source can be one of the options. I had chance to read the following article in Information Weeks couple of days ago. A very interesting example of scaling down in the cost related to SimpleGeo geographical provider:

It’s running a 50-node cluster, which spans three data centers on Amazon’s EC2 service for about $10,000 a month, says CTO Joe Stump, who previously used Cassandra at Digg. By contrast, MySQL premium support would cost about $5,000 per year per node, or $250,000 per year–more than double the Cassandra setup, Stump says, and Microsoft SQL Server can cost as much as $55,000 per processor per year.

What is my conclusion today? Scale is a hard topic. If something doesn’t work, it will be very hard to scale it up. PLM ideas are awesome. People are getting it pretty well. You can control product lifecycle, connect processes, optimize development and manufacturing, speed up innovation. However, here is the problem. PLM business doesn’t work to scale today. The two main PLM killers , in my view, are complexity and cost. We need to think how to unlock it for manufacturers to make PLM ideas to scale. What is your view on this?

Best, Oleg



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