PLM for the Great Multitude of Manufacturers

PLM for the Great Multitude of Manufacturers

I’ve been busy earlier this week attending ConX18- an annual symposium hosted by Institute of Process Excellence. Check more about the event here and its agenda here. I found the event to be an amazing experience and great atmosphere of discussion about innovation, change management, digital thread and technology.

My keynote at the event was called – PLM for the Great Multitude of Manufacturers. I shared my perspective on digital transformation on manufacturing, challenges of distributed data management, importance of network platforms. Digital thread is a new catchy name that many people today use to describe PLM (I will talk about it separately) brings lot of questions about organizing of connection between data, people and processes.

In my view, one of the key elements in the digital transformation is to switch from single database model of thinking to a network model. For the last decade many companies succeeded in digital transformation. Just look at this driving transformation:

However, manufacturing environment is not there yet.

Typical challenges of manufacturing environment is represented by multiple representation of companies, data and process. Look at this picture below – you got all connected and disconnected at the same time.

Network platforms are much better than single node solution and actually can be very promising.

This is a slide deck of my presentation

The last part of the slide deck is dedicated to OpenBOM ( (Disclosure: I’m co-founder and CEO). OpenBOM is an example how new technology and connectivity can work together to connect engineers, suppliers, contract manufacturers and everybody else in the process of designing, engineering and manufacturing. OpenBOM is mostly serving small engineering team, contractors and SME manufacturing companies helping to connect dots in their production activity and get rid of Excels.

What is my conclusion? Digital thread is a very powerful concept. Organizing information in the way it can help optimize manufacturing is huge challenge. PLM technologies didn’t deliver what was promised over the course of many years. Most of PLM successes are coming from large OEMs. Network platform can provide a new way to organize information and optimize processes. A combination of new technologies and right processes is needed to succeed. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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


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