PLM was never an easy domain to explain. For the last 10-15 years, marketing tried multiple approaches positioning PLM in a variety of forms. PLM was always a vague place between edges of design (CAD) and manufacturing (ERP). Depends on a vendor, PLM solution are closer to one of these edges You might think that PLM is going through identity crisis. At the same time some other people are thinking that PLM definition is evolving as manufacturing companies are discovering new complex problems.
Aras was always a company that pushing the limits of PLM definition in every sense. One of the most favorite is an innovative approach in the definition of Aras as Enterprise Open Source – a unique business model that can give you PLM without upfront license cost.
Few months ago, I picked up a nice catchy phrase created by Aras – Business of Engineering. My initial question was – is it just another PLM blunt marketing? Navigate to my previous blog to read more – Business of Engineering: Buzzword of New Domain.
I was following Aras ACE 2016 conference yesterday online via twitter. Peter Schroer, Aras CEO and founder provided few interesting slides that future expanded my understanding of what is behind of new definition of Business of Engineering.
According to few slides and comments online, Aras is going after a massive amount of problems in every manufacturing organizations – management of Bills of Materials, Engineering Change Processes, Quality, Compliance, Regulation, etc. These problems have no agreed name in a lexicon of manufacturing companies. Everyone calls it different. But here is the problem for most of PLM vendors – majority of companies are in agreement that Excel is the best solution to solve these problems.
CIMdata just published a commentary about Business of Engineering. Navigate here to read more. It speaks about inefficiency of existing PLM implementations and about the need to pull together multiple silos of decision processes. The following passages is explaining that:
Aras Innovator case studies show its ability to fill in PLM process gaps and tie disparate product definition silos together, and according to their clients, has the platform capabilities needed to help them achieve their PLM vision.
And the following passage gives you an example of problems Aras is solving for companies.
In both cases Magna GETRAG and Xerox products have complex BOMs that include mechanical, electronic, and software components that have complex configuration rules. Product data is leveraged across diverse groups including finance, production, and service while engineering gets access to finance and field service data. While each company had unique issues to solve both used a similar methodology of connecting existing solutions and enhancing information flow through processes.
What is my conclusion? You might think, Business of Engineering is all about how to teach MBA to STEM students. Think again… Aras is taking a bunch of problems in non-integrated space between PDM and ERP and put “Business of Engineering” tag on them. So, if you are working on ECOs, cloud, connected cars, Industry 4.0, MBSE, bill of materials, continues improvement, etc.- all you do is Business of Engineering. In my view, these problems are real. By solving these problems Aras is clearly on the right path of delivering solution to customers. I’m not sure all customers and vendors will agree with “Business of Engineering” name, but hey…. this is just a marketing game. Aras can try it and, if it sticks, to use it as a differentiation from other PLM vendors solving these problems in a different way. Just my thoughts…
Photo credit University of Notre Dame