PLM – Clearer Definition or Problem Solving?

PLM – Clearer Definition or Problem Solving?

I’m adding another post to my collection of PLM definitions. Gavlin Quinlan came with the blog post on concurrent-engineering blog earlier this week. Here is the name – A Clearer Definition of PLM. I spent 10 minutes reading the blog and material. It points out to the CIMData Whitepaper 10 Questions to ask PLM Solution supplier from the last year sponsored by PTC. The following passage is presented by the author as a clearer definition of PLM:

PLM is software designed to enhance process efficiencies related to a product’s bill-of-materials (BOM) – the core information that tells manufacturing companies how to design, manufacture, and support products. Specifically, PLM software enables manufacturers to optimise the management and evolution of a BOM throughout a product’s entire lifecycle – from concept to retirement. Any and all activities that affect, change, influence, or finalise a BOM are factors that will drive a manufacturer’s overall operational effectiveness and as such are considered to reside underneath the PLM umbrella.

Also, Gavlin note the following: For clarity’s sake, it’s important to note that it is our perspective that PLM does not include the technologies used to author the information that populate a product’s BOM – such as MCAD/ECAD files and engineering/design calculations.

When talking about PLM ROI, author is coming to the definition of functional areas, but most importantly provides the definition of characteristics for PLM system. Here it is – A single scalable system architecture characterised by high performance, effective data replication, and robust security to support the modern geographically disparate company. The system should be integral, Internet based, and interoperable with other company systems.

Seven functional areas are Document, Visualization, Collaboration, Workflow, MCAD Data Management, BOM Management and Configuration Management.

PLM: Network vs. Single System

I found the definition provided by concurrent engineering interesting and here is why? It represents a very popular for the last 10 years approach on a single large PLM suite (or product) that can solve all product development company problems. Just go for that and all your problems will go away. There is nothing wrong in this approach, in my view. In one of my previous I discussed the “singularity topic in PLM” – PLM Network Effect and Single Point of Truth. My take is the “network” is a more powerful system organization compared to the a single system. The web is the best example, in my view.

What is my conclusion? The run for a completeness in PLM definition, requirements and implementation was, in my view, trendy and popular for the last 10 years of PLM. I think, the vendor’s “me too” and comparison of functional capabilities will go away in coming years. What will come as a replacement? My take is following- the capability of solving a specific business problem with a minimum of effort and in a shortest time period. Does it sounds obvious? Yes, I think so. PLM vendors, service providers, please take a note. This is important, in my view.

Best, Oleg


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