PLM and New Manufacturing in a Networked World

PLM and New Manufacturing in a Networked World


For the last decade, many industries learned lesson or two about disruption and how internet and other technologies can change the reality of their businesses. It happened to publishing and newspapers. The way we consume news is radically different (although we still can see printed newspapers around). Uber and Airbnb are leading the trend of changes transportation and hospitality business.

I think changes are coming to manufacturing too. For the last few decades, manufacturing became global with companies leveraging market, design, engineering and manufacturing facilities located around the globe. The growing specialization in specific manufacturing verticals created industry of contract manufacturers and suppliers. Most of these companies are acting like independent entities, obeying some rules and trying to optimize their behavior.

Small is a new big. You don’t have to be a large company with established manufacturing facilities to manufacture things today. New production technologies and global manufacturing environment created a new opportunity for small teams and companies to innovate to create new products. But these small entities have to be organized in a different way. Hence an increased demand for collaboration, communication and optimization.

Next month, I’m going to learn more about new manufacturing and innovation at CIMdata workshop – A CIMdata Collaborative Innovation & Product Development Workshop. The detailed agenda is here. I’m super excited to join an group of innovation leaders  Taylor Dawson of FirstBuild, John B. “Jay” Rogers of Local Motors and Dr. Svetlana Dimovski of BASF  and to share my thoughts and learn about future of manufacturing in a new connected world.

Here is a short passage from CIMdata workshop introduction:

With rapid advances in digital technology and hyper-connectivity around the globe, the early 21st century has all the signs of a transitional time with no clear pathway to the future. Complexity is increasing as familiar boundaries are being altered forever and information is growing exponentially. While PLM has been embraced by many as a successful business strategy and more recently has emerged as a platform for innovation, significant challenges remain. Companies want to embed business processes with intelligent workflows in the tools to help easily identify experts, get close to customers, collaborate externally with partners, and reduce operational cycles with better internal collaboration, yet they struggle with strategic, cultural, and technology questions.

It made me think about future relation of manufacturing and networks. The dependence on networks in our lives is growing every day and is not just limited to communication. Manufacturing companies are going to have a lesson of networked world. It will be impossible to optimize the performance of single manufacturing entity without relevant network information. It will not happen overnight. Companies will try to get connected and operate more intelligently. Those companies that will be able to transform into new connected reality and leverage the power of network will create a significant competitive differentiation for themselves.

What is my conclusion?  Networks made a transformative influence on the way we live, work, and conduct business. Increasingly manufacturing companies are leveraging market, design, engineering, and facilities located around the globe. The networking paradigm will apply to manufacturing companies and will be transformative. The growing specialization in specific manufacturing verticals will create a new type of manufacturing company, one that is capable of leveraging networks, allowing them to optimize performance, improve collaboration, and reduce cost. Intelligent PLM software with a networked mind can provide a competitive power to future manufacturing. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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  • Colin Bull

    Obviously a product company can leverage specialist manufacturiers to make the product. Many do, A manufacturer in the UK only manufacturs the motors, as they are so unique to them no one else can make them. But the rest are made, assembled and shipped from contract manufacturers. The problem is that these all need to kept relitevely in the dark from each other to aviod the risk of IP infringment. Also they specifiy, design and own all of the tooling so they can pull manufacturing at any time.

    So to enable the networked world the product owner has to ensure the correct collaboration with the supply chain to protect the companies IP, also maybe own the Tooling and Knowledge of manufacture to further protect the quality.

  • beyondplm

    Colin. thanks for mentioned that! I agree absolutely – IP control and security will become top concern (I guess it is already one of the biggest concerns) as companies are moving into connect world. What do you think can help to avoid risk of IP infringement? 3-5 years ago people said – don’t use cloud tools. But while companies prevented people to use cloud tools, engineers used dropbox and similar services to share data.

  • Colin Bull

    You need to impose a culture of only allowing to see what you need to see. Only allow the supply chain to understand what they need to. That means processes and controls be put in place. If the users are using Shadow IT then that is the way of the world today, but you must have tools and processes to ensure that IP data is preserved what ever external tools are used.

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