Configurable BOM – an ultimate PLM platform test?

Configurable BOM – an ultimate PLM platform test?


Platformizaiton in PLM is an interesting trend. If this is a first time you hear about “platformization”, you are not alone. The term was “coined” by CIMdata – analytical and consulting outfit focusing of PLM and manufacturing. You can read more here – Platformization: The next step in PLM’s evolution. As I mentioned earlier in my blog, it is hard to understand what specifically CIMdata means by platformization. So, I’m still learning…

In one of my earlier posts I made a guess that that Today’s CAD and PLM tools won’t become future PLM platforms. So, you may ask me – what does it mean with regards to existing PLM platforms provided by top CAD/PLM providers? First of all – relax. Nothing is happening fast in PLM platform world. Large manufacturing companies are running their business in a very conservative way and it takes years until some changes will happen. In my old blog from 2011 – PLM platforms: Who is Right and Who is Left? I touched some aspects of future competition between PLM platforms. Interesting enough, five years after my post, some of these disputes are still very hot.

One of these stories connected to Dassault Systems and 3DEXPERINCE platform. It was called V6 back in 2011, but I don’t think it changed a lot and I’m going to touch it later in my post. My attention was caught by Verdi Ogewell blog post – PLM at Jaguar Land Rover – The Moment of Truth for Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. I found it very interesting and it is absolutely worth reading. It speaks about history of Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform adoption by JLR. The internal JLR’s code name is iPLM. I found a bit funny that Dassault strategy name was called “beyond PLM”. I captured two interesting data points from the article.

The first data point is related to Dassault competition Siemens PLM. Teamcenter is still a production backbone for JLR. Here is a passage that says that:

Siemens was eliminated in JLR’s evaluation – 7 years later, it still uses Teamcenter. Siemens’ Teamcenter (TC) was eliminated as an option due to architectural reasons. TC’s unified architecture wasn’t ready at the time.But here is the paradox; Teamcenter is still a major part of JLR’s product data management backbone, generally used in combination with CATIA V5. Even in the last few years, JLR has bought new TC licenses in anticipation of the new PLM project

Second data point is related to the core element of JLR iPLM implementation – configuration driven BOM. According to the article, this one of the most important components of iPLM and it connects BOM to variety of different BOMs and support change management activities. Here is the passage with some more details.

During 2015 the goal is to establish the fully functional platform through a gradual entry process containing four parts (”P1-P4”), which in turn will make it possible to develop and realize the first vehicle ever (”Vehicle 1”) on the completed iPLM platform.With these platforms in place, iPLM lead at JLR, John Knight-Gregson, claims that ”after four years in [the] making,” it will have the ability to execute on: Milestone driven configuration; Configuration driven BOMs; BOP/BOM/BOI/etc driven CAD; Integrated Change Management.

Dassault Systems has a strategy called “Zero BOM errors”. The article touched BOM story by referencing the conversation with Andy Kalambi, CEO of ENOVIA. It reminded me my article – PLM and Zero BOM errors: the devil is in details. I guess bringing configurable BOM in a data-driven 3DEXPERIENCE environment is a core elements of Dassault System strategy. However, it requires a lot of components inter-playing together for fully configurable view of vehicle with support of change management.

What is my conclusion? To have PLM vision is a great thing. Dassault System certainly has one. “Beyond PLM” vision is even better (note, the name of my blog and Dassault System vision name is an absolute coincidence). But… to make platform successful requires to handle a very basic set of PLM operations. What I learned from JLR story – it is all related to managing of CAD data and configurable BOMs. Without that, all bells and whistles of a new platform are useless. Configurable BOM functionality is needed to move JLR from Teamcenter to ENOVIA and this is one of the most interesting PLM platform validation points. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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