What Is The Future Of CAD and PLM Standards?

June 3, 2010

I had chance to read the following publication on Develop3D – A New Common Data Standard. The author is discussing how life of CAD can be impacted and potentially improved by developing of a single CAD standard. In addition, I figure out that I used word “standard” many times commenting on last posts on my blog. It made me think about standards again. Standards are rising so many questions. It always sounds as beneficial. However, standard related activities create too many political and organizational issues. I decided to make a try and figure out if standards are our future in PLM.

Standards and Users
Companies and Individuals can belong to a group that potential may have huge benefits from standards. Your systems expected to work more smoothly, you can move between applications, you can benefits data sharing, etc .. However, at the same time, standards can stand on the way of innovation. Some of them may really prevent people from innovation.

Standards and Industries
I know many examples of industry oriented standards. In general, industry standards may indicate an industry health. The more standards industry develops- the more additional businesses and solutions can be created on top of that. In general, standards can bring industry on the next level.  In most cases, standards that emerged from industries are very stable.

Standards and Vendors
Do you think vendors need standards? The right answer – it depends, in my view… If it brings economical benefits, it can be really beneficial for a specific vendor. However, it is not clear and in most of the case to support a standard vendor need to put an additional effort. So it means additional expenses. In some cases (i.e. Supply chain), vendors can be interested in standards in order of work simplification between users in a supply chain.

What is my conclusion today? Standards are fascinating. However, standard activity is a very expensive. An additional work need to be done by vendors to support standards. So, behind standards, we can see a very simple economical use case. On the other side, users can have benefits from standards. Maybe we need to think about different business models, that less impacted by lock-in customers on their data? Thinking about pros and cons, I’d like to re-phrase my question as following now- Who Will Pay for future CAD/ PLM standards?

Just my thoughts…
Best, Oleg


How To Fix PLM Industry Dissatisfaction?

March 26, 2010

COFES 2010 is just around the corner, and I had chance to discuss with Brad Holtz of Cyon Research the potential topics to think and discuss towards the event. We touched the issue of the top PLM industry problems and how it comes to the discussion on Daily PLM Think Tank. So, this morning, I made my first BLOG “Better listening on Google” research and shout “PLM dissatisfaction” search. The article with a complete match to my criteria came in the beginning – “Why is Industry Dissatisfied with PLM?” by Frank Lillehagen, and I decided to make a deep dive into this article and to compare it to my thoughts related to the current PLM industry problems.

The main introductory made by Frank is that PLM actually was too late to the “enterprise app dinner” and was built on top of either CAD, CRM, ERP or even PDM. It was interesting to me, since I have never seen PLM system built on top of CRM. However, I think the main point was clear – in the family of the enterprise engineering apps, PLM appears to be a guilty child who needs to explain his rights to exist and prove all the time his organizational and technological ROI. Later in the article divided into sections: 1- What is missed?, 2- PLM capabilities needed, 3- Towards Product Knowledge Architecture, 4- Where do we go from here? Each section presented from 10 to 20 bullets with lists of issues that need to be done or missed. Actually, in my view those are expected to be a single list of issues, but they were presented in different ways.  I made some write up based on the topics that got my special attention:

A PLM architecture should create visual collaborative scenes for proactive behavior and learning-by-doing, enhancing human capabilities and creativity, creating the real-time enterprise, and transforming industrial computing to practical services and work processes.

We need to combine the complementary strengths of computers and humans, in handling and managing data categories, object classes and product families, to provide methods for life-cycle management and reuse.

Huh… It is complex. I must admit, I personally failed to come to the conclusion about the topic after reading this article multiple times. I tried to analyze the list of 20 PLM requirements needs presented by author. However, issue presented there were either completely broad like “Transform IT systems development and industrial computing” or “Support holistic enterprise design of projects, products and work environments” or absolutely theoretical like “Redefine design theory to exploit role-oriented knowledge architectures and product families“.

I almost gave up, nevertheless, the topic of industry dissatisfaction kept me in the focus. Actually, I felt my complete dissatisfaction by my inability to write the conclusion and decided to put my top 3 priority list that can improve the level of PLM Industry Satisfaction. Here we go:

Clean the PLM Language from buzzwords and broad statements. In my view, lack of clarity is absolutely needed as a first step. Customers and industry audience needs to get feeling of simplicity and clarity in definition and implementation.

Open Data Foundation. The main issue here is that currently I observe a huge amount of disruptive data trends in different PLM implementations. Combined with a large amount of legacy data, apps and home grown implementations it created the situation where a significant effort need to move PLM data implementation forward. The potential idea for this foundation is open source data foundation alliance supported by all PLM vendors.

Flexible Integration Capabilities. The integration topic in PLM is currently in the very bad shape. In my view, vendors gave up in their effort to invest into integration. Customers are mostly solving these problems by themselves or by 3rd party products.

An additional issue is social. PLM as an industry needs to come to the level of maturity in their ability to organize PLM events with involvement of multiple mindshare PLM vendors and related to PLM providers and supporters. The understanding of such need is very important. There are an absolute absence of PLM events these days with some small exclusion. The healthy industry needs to be able to consolidate around strong industry leaders and additional technological, vertical, service and other commercial companies.

Just my thoughts… I will continue my “thinking research” and hope to come with some conclusions towards COFES 2010.

Best, Oleg


Manufacturer Priorities and PLM Integration Lock

March 21, 2010

I have chance to listed AMR’s Mike Burket interview during Siemens PLM Innovation Summit. It seems to me as a very interesting talk and slides about current PLM priorities. You can see it on this link. Thanks Dora Smith for this nice blog post, video and slides. One of the key requirements coming from manufacturers today are around cost reduction, better integration operation and product development as well as improvements in a supply value chain.

I counted two issues that, in my view, can be considered as very old requirements and demanded by many customers long time:
1. Design to Manufacturing Processes
2. Supporting of segmentation in Supply Chain.

On the one side, you can think about them as two separate issues. However, these two issues share one common fundamental problem of PLM systems. The problem is how to organize  integrated cross organizational processes. If you will take a look on the following slide presented by Mike, the need for integration is something that I see as a must requirement to link demand insight, product development and supply networks.

Listening Mike it becomes almost clear that process integration will become the next PLM challenge. However, here is my point. Unfortunately, integration is a very expensive job. All integrated projects I know, took a lot of time, resources and, in my view, doesn’t fit IT budgets. The issue of reduced IT budgets makes this problem even more important and critical. Many of today’s PLM integrated projects were possible only due to result of long and dedicated work done by vendors, services providers and organizations.

What is my conclusion? There is no magic outside of powerpoint slides. Integration is hard. Nobody can do it easy today. Big PLM systems provide a comprehensive product development environment, but they are not adaptable for lean cross-organizational process integration. How to find a way to reduce PLM integrated project cost and improve the agility of product development environment? This is sounds as a deadlock and the biggest challenge for manufacturers and PLM vendors in coming future.

Just my opinion.
Best, Oleg


Consolidation in EDA and PLM Pitfalls

March 19, 2010

I was watching Mentor Graphics presentation yesterday about their Valor acquisition. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it, take a look on the following link – Consolidation in EDA and PLM State of Mind. The presentation impressed me by slides and explanations. The acquisition’s target is clear and presenting an interest to create integration between design and manufacturing in the Electronic Design industry domain.

The presentation made me think about some fundamental trend in engineering and product development. This trend is about integrated systems. It seems to me EDA industry is following PLM state of mind in the creation of integrated design to manufacturing systems. PLM leaders – Dassault and UGS (now Siemens), passed exactly the same trends by acquisition of manufacturing software companies (Delmia and Tecnomatix).

Quote from Aberdeen’s Michele Boucher, finally confirmed my thoughts:

“In the mechanical world there have been significant moves by PLM vendors to expand their solutions footprint into manufacturing. The acquisition of Valor by Mentor Graphics is the first such move by a major ECAD vendor and constitutes a substantial step forward in providing end-to-end development solutions for the electronics industry.”

However, there is one thing I wanted to raise and discuss. The following side presented the biggest industry problem and reason for acquisition-  fragmentation. The similar problem was presented by PLM industries during the analyzes of design, engineering, manufacturing and other systems. As a result, the complex integrated PLM systems were created.

My take on this:

1. Integration of the systems is a very complex task
2. PLM systems focused on MCAD mostly, already did it in the past
3. Integrated systems in PLM domain created a huge level of complexity
4. Cost of the system’s lifecycle and changes are growing exponentially with the increased level of integration.

I’m sure Mentor Graphics engineering wizards will create an integrated models and maybe even standards to combine data and process flow between various components of EDA systems. Will they be able to resolve the similar problem created by PLM systems? It seems to me, people less think about a cost of change when creating an integrated system. World “integration” is so positive, then people tend to forget about a possible impact in the future.

Just my thoughts… What is your opinion?
Best, Oleg


How Many Enterprise Backbones Organization Needs?

November 13, 2009

Picture 51Interesting post drove my attention yesterday. Reading about the role of PLM as enterprise backbone, I wanted to raise a question – how many of such “e-bones” do we need? My experience shows that in every enterprise implementation, discussion magically came to the point of “what will serve as a company/organization/product/enterprise or whatever else backbone. And I have to say, that I always got mixed feeling about that. I will try to put my pros and cons in the way enterprise systems can be organized to serve product lifecycle and enterprise resource planning needs.

1. One vs. Many
Thinking about a dream situation when all systems in enterprise will be magically synchronized around a single system (or bone), I came to the conclusion that we need to keep it as a dream. However, practical approach, in my view shows that enterprise organization will continue to have multiple systems serving their needs.

2. Enterprise Platforms
The interoperability between enterprise systems is killing enterprise organizations. Company’s IT is normally trying to develop their strategies around various platforms, but even so, they can rarely reduce the amount of systems and functional needs drive to additional system deployment.

3. Master Data Record
This is another place where “discussion” between enterprise systems becomes critical. Who is controling data and serve as a master? The data synchronization is an expensive. However, decision about master data control comes again and again with each next step of enterprise system development on the functional level.

4. Role of SaaS
In my view, cloud services (or SaaS, if you will) is playing disruptive, but positive role in discussion related to enterprise architecture and various “enterprise bones”. The disruptive role of SaaS is to show to the organization, the reality of no-single system controlling all data and processes in enterprise.

I’m interested to discuss and listen about your experience? What is your opinion on that?
Best, Oleg

Seven Rules Towards Single Bill of Material

October 14, 2009

I’d like to continue discussion around the topic raised yesterday by Jim Brown and this is about “single bill of material”. I was reading Jim’s post and my thoughts was about why managing of single bill of material is questionable? I think the key answer to that is because in a real company we have multiple systems and everybody are touching bill of material. So, since I hardly believe business owners of these systems will agree how to share Bill of Material, we do have a “multiple bill of material” status-quo.

Now, I don’t believe systems like we have in manufacturing companies – all these EDM, PDM, PLM, ERP, CRM, MDM… will be magically agree on how to share bill of material in short term. But at the same time, I think, our industry is spending mega-bucks trying to synchronize all these bill of whatever we have (materials, documents, processes, requirements, configurations etc.). So, since Daily PLM Think Tank is about ideas, I decided to put key seven rules that can bring us to the new status quo of “single bill of material”. May be definition of this bill of material in the beginning will be shared between multiple systems, but even so, it will create movement toward single bill of material.

So, here are my seven rules.

1. Complete Data Representation. Data in Bill of Material starting from Part Number and ending all characteristics need to be complete to satisfy needs on all “company-customers” in every department starting from sales and ending up in manufacturing and services.

2. Unique Part Numbers. We need to establish a central system to maintain by single system. If Part is going to change from Form Fit and Function standpoint, new unique Part Number need to be created.

3. Synchronized Changes. We need to prevent changes that potential can be made on partial data representation. Example could be changes in Design System without appropriated changes in manufacturing and all other systems or data collections.

4. To use Part Numbers only.
Bill of Materials need to be made of Part Numbers only. We need to prevent usage of any alternative identification such as – drawing numbers etc.

5. Include all scheduled items. We need to include all items that need to scheduled for manufacturing and shop-flow. Everything that going to production need to be incuded into bill. There is no item that will be excluded for whatever reason (i.e. non completed assemblies and semi-finished items).

6. Less levels will be better.
The simple solution is the most complicated one. Today manufacturing is struggling to become lean. I think to manage as less as possible levels in Bill of Material will allow to simplify significantly everything we are doing (including way to synchronize or management bill of material).

7. Complete Approval before change. All requested to change need to be approved by all people that are using Bill of Material before bill is going to change. This is will allows trust between users of the bill of materials.

So, in my view, by following such rules we can get much better quality Bill of Material in organization. This is not requires religious discussions about single vs. multiple bill of materials. In the end, nobody cares in how many databases/files/servers we are going to store this (or these) bill of materials.

As usual, I’m very interesting in your feedback. Especially on such non-technological topic. Please, let me know what do you think?

Best, Oleg

Engineering and Manufacturing Data Management back in 1992

October 12, 2009

Reading again some books from 1992. Engineering and Manufacturing Data structures and Engineering Information Management Systems.

eng-manuf-data eng-inf-systems

I’d like to share some mixed feeling. We moved forward in many topics for the last 17 years in CAD/PDM/PLM/…. But some fundamental things remain the same, and we continue to discuss it heavily during implementation with customers.

Multiple Bill of Materials
Relations between Design, Engineering BOM and Routing
Early visibility of design information for manufacturing planning
Maintenance and Repair Bill of Materials
Design to Manufacturing process

So, my conclusion is as following:

1/ We are far from excellence in such implementations.
2/ Reading old books is an interesting exercise allows you to zoom out on what you are doing.

Enjoy Columbus Day holiday!
Best, Oleg


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