The model is such a beautiful word. It can be anything. The word model can be a noun, verb, or adjective. The history of the word comes from the Latin word modulus, which means measure or standard. There are so many definitions of the word model. It can be a miniature representation of something, it can be a type of the design, it can be a system of postulates, data, and inference, it can be a mathematical simulation based on such a system (model), it can be a structured design and many other things….
A few years ago, I wrote an article Model-Based Confusion in 3D CAD and PLM. The article raised a healthy amount of debates- thanks all for your comments. Since then, I’ve seen a trend to use the term “model” as a solution to explain the weakness of existing PLM systems (focusing on documents) and moving towards a model-based or model-driven future. Earlier last week I came to discuss it again and I’ve got even stronger feedback about the recent overuse of the word model and turning it to a buzzword.
It made me think that despite a model is such a good word that provides a broad description of objects, processes and relationships, it is actually damaging the PLM industry and creates a confusing pattern of problem solving using buzzwords.
1- Model Definition Is Too Abstract
The word “model” literally means too much. You can explain so many things and behaviors using this word, so when it comes to specifics, it literally means nothing. It gives too much freedom to debates, misguidance and confusion.
2- Model Word Doesn’t Provide Product Semantics
One of the most important things in engineering and manufacturing software is a specific semantics of product data and processes. Companies are developing different products, but the foundation of these processes is fundamentally the same. The industry can be significantly improved by providing a semantic foundation of data that can be shared by companies and vendors.
3- Used Too Broadly In Connected Industries
PLM and related digital industry are super technological these days. Unfortunately, you can see the word “model” is used too much practically everywhere in technology. It can be a data model, the AI model, machine learning model,. social behavior model and many others. Such usage creates even bigger problems and additional confusion.
What is my conclusion?
Unclear terminology and buzzwords are damaging the industry by confusing customers and providing a platform for PLM vendors to create fake differentiation criterias. Industry standards and clear and simple terminology can be a foundation to fix it. For example, relying on configuration management discipline and simple and powerful engineering and manufacturing methodology and improving customer understanding of what products do and create a foundation for better industry education. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks.