Holiday season brings PLM funny songbook and implementation thriller

Holiday season brings PLM funny songbook and implementation thriller


Holiday season is here. It is a time for swinging, jingle belling, xmas fairy tales and sometimes even scary thrillers. My long time blogging buddy Jos Voskuil came with a funny blog – The PLM songbook (7 songs + one bonus). Jos is actually bringing a very interesting perspective on a lifecycle of every PLM implementation:

One Vision. No more heroes. Let’s do it together. Say NO at the right time. Eight days a week. We are the champions.

I like it very much. It is like a nice Xmas fairy tail with a happy end. I wish every PLM implementation in the world will follow a playbook book described by Jos. To me, the following 2 recommendations is a key in every PLM implementation.

PLM implementations are not IT-projects, where you install, configure and roll out an infrastructure based on one or more systems. Like a music band, it should be a well-orchestrated project between business experts and IT. Here´s a song to make your project swing. When implementing PLM, the software geeks can do everything for you: Customize the system, create a complete new environment looking like the old environment, and more. Of course, you will pay for it. Not only for the extra services, but also in the long-term to support all these customizations. Always try to find a balance between the standard functionality and infrastructure of the PLM system and the company´s vision.

But PLM implementation is not always a fairy tale and can be a bumpy ride. It seems to JLR PLM implementation is the one. article – Is Jaguar Land Rover About to Stumble on the Final iPLM Stretch? written by Verdi Ogewell brings a writeup about JLR and its PLM implementation. Take a long weekend to read the story and draw your conclusion. The story is a mix topics JLR PLM history, Dassault Systemes, Beyond PLM vision from Bernard Charles, competition between Dassault Systemes and Siemens PLM, history of CATIA to NX transformation in Daimler including references to former Dailmer’s PLM chief Alfred Katzenbach and lot of quotes, pictures and statements.

The main drama is summarized as following –  Teamcenter is coming to save JLR from slow migration to iPLM (3DEXPERIENCE) platform which is not ready yet. In a world of PLM, it is like a thriller. Dassault Systemes and Siemens PLM are two major competitors. Each story like that is a big news in a world of PLM.

During the summer and fall, Jaguar Land Rover reorganized the entire venture and appointed new managers to the key PLM positions. The unusual thing here is that this was done during what, according to earlier plans, was supposed to be the global roll-out phase of iPLM.

However, instead of fully using the new 3DEXPERIENCE’s data backbone ENOVIA V6, my sources at JLR said that, “due to iPLM not being ready, new vehicle programmers generally are now starting in the old way, such as using Teamcenter.” The latter is Siemens PLM’s solution, which was to have been phased out years ago.

My special attention was caught by the following passage about development of configuration driven BOM – it easier said than get it done.

The scope of iPLM covers the end-to-end product life cycle process. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, the promise was to cover the entire vehicle definition across 14 domains, including Bill of Materials, parts and assembly, requirements and verification. The platform will also be able to deal with electrical design, styling and CAE capabilities such as multiphysics and FEA, as well as embedded software.

According to Knight-Gregson, JLR had these objectives within reach during 2015: “For the first time for us,” he said, “We have genuinely started with a milestone-driven configuration platform, which in turn will drive the BOM’s.” My take on the case of JLR and Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE/ENOVIA is that it was easier said than done to have the configuration drive the Bill of Materials, which was Knight-Gregson’s original intention. That the configuration was to additionally have, “The Bill of Materials to drive the CAD, and effectively give the geometry somewhere to be hung,” didn’t make life easier. Furthermore, the former head of PLM at JLR said, “Around that, we have an integrated Change Management System, which means that because we have a single source of truth, we can allow people to manage the changes and have complete visibility of every aspect of the change.” These are all great ideas, but are extremely hard to realize in a vast organization.

While PLM is always speaking about single point of truth, to find that truth in a very large organization is not a simple thing. In reality the organization is distributed. 80% of work is actually done by supplier. While core JLR organization is relying on iPLM, suppliers are using Teamcenter.

A JLR employee I spoke to said, “How far have we come? It’s hard to say. The supplier network is generally still working with Teamcenter to exchange the data. The BIW structure (Body in white) will be 100 percent iPLM, as it’s the only area 100 percent designed in-house. The rest of the vehicle is 80 percent designed by external suppliers utilizing Teamcenter; so in which system does the vehicle reside?”

We can dream about happy songbooks, but in reality PLM implementations can be scary. With the cost heading towards  $200 million, JLR PLM implementation story mixing 3DEXPERIENCE and Teamcenter technology and products can give a lot of topics to think about. It took me back to some of my earlier articles – Traditional PLM have reached their limits and How to break limits of existing PLM architectures. It seems to me JLR implementation is struggling to scale. Big bang doesn’t work and dependencies and problems are piling together.

Redesign the core PLM functions can be an interesting challenge for major PLM suppliers. In my view, this is something that will require a significant revamp in existing platforms and data management paradigms. How to solve a problem of global collaboration and distributed data management challenges. How to deal with a very complex multi-system and multi-disciplinary data integration? The conventional wisdom of PLM architectures and implementation is to put information in a single database. In my view, it must change. Modern engineering and manufacturing environments are different. It is more likely network of scattered resources rather than single PLM database.

What is my conclusion? It is hard to understand a full story from article. My hunch is that level of complexity is skyrocketing in every corner of JLR implementation. Unexpected complexity and data integration scale bring many questions about how to manage future global PLM implementations. Multiple systems, distributed data, locations and complexity of integration will knock out existing data management paradigms and technologies developed 20 years ago. This is just my thoughts… We will talk more about that in the next year. Meantime Happy Holiday!

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased



Share This Post