3D Perspectives: How To Create Products for Our Digital Future

November 12, 2009

My new post on 3D PERSPECTIVES.

Picture 47

Best, Oleg




GPS, PLM, BIM: Plan the Next Leapfrog?

November 4, 2009

Picture 37You probably wonder – GPS, PLM, BIM… What do they have in common today? In my view, the common is their relationship with real objects of a physical world around us. GPS can position us and give us a direction in surrounding world, CAD/PLM is the universal mechanism to design everything, PLM and BIM respectfully are set of product and tools to organize processes around product design, manufacturing, building etc.

For years engineering and building systems like CAD, PLM, BIM was completely disconnected from a real world. I always had the feeling of separation. This is like a wall between engineering and rest of the company. You (engineers) can use any systems you want, design and plan whatever you want… The real things will be disconnected from this virtual engineering world. Not anymore in my view. Few announcements and publications drove me to think about future leapfrog in this space.

Google’s announced first Droid phone with Google Navigation System. You will ask me how it related to PLM? Not as much, for the moment. However, thinking in deep and applying some PLMish language you can see Google providing 3D application connecting physical driving experience and virtual world model based on Google Maps.

Another one – Google SketchUp. On the surface, there is nothing special. I used to hear from many engineers their opinion about this product as a toy, far from “Real CAD” systems. Slow down, please. Keep your engineering ego for the future. Google is using SketchUp to re-create the world in 3D on top of Google Map. Google 3D Warehouse is a very good example of building blocks in this 3D universe. Read more in about Google Building Maker in Google official blog.

Some business thoughts. You need to see the following article: Google Redefines Disruption: The “Less than Free” business model. This is not the first time when we see the power of free products. I’m almost hearing engineers that saying – but this is not for the real enterprise world, this is on the different planet. Not anymore, in my view. Connection between real and virtual happens much faster that you can think about it.

So, conclusion for today. I’m thinking about immersive world where design, engineering and real people are all connected to dream, design, plan, build and manufacture life around us. And, in my view, this is a perfect time for today’s CAD/PLM/BIM vendors to think about a future of their products. How to catch up before Google’s next leapfrog? Just not to find themselves in place of GPS manufacturers today.

Picture 35

Just my thoughts.
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

PLM Prompt: Enterprise Buzzwords or How Many Applications Do We Need?

September 28, 2009

Picture 2Interesting post few days ago. What is very annoying is the number of buzzwords growing in the enterprise system world. Do we really need all of them? Is there overlap? How many times you faced situation when you and your colleagues are using different words for the same thing?

Here is the short list (thanks to Improve Process Blog)

• CAD (Computer aided design) to support modeling of hardware and electrical/electronics
• PDM (Product data management) systems to support data management
• PLM (Product lifecycle management) systems to support workflow, engineering change, bill of material management, release to manufacturing etc.
• MES (Manufacturing execution systems) to manage work in progress on the manufacturing floor
• CRM (Customer relationship management) systems manage, track and organize its data / contacts with its current and prospective customers
• BPM (Business process management) systems provide process management capability with workflows
• SCM (Supply chain management) systems provide the ability to manage the entire supply chain and support planning, sourcing, manufacturing, delivery and return logistics.
• KM (Knowledge management) to support knowledge sharing of best practices and lessons learned.
• SRM (Supplier relationship management) to support managing vendor relations and lifecycle.
• PPM (Project Portfolio Management) systems used for analyzing and collectively managing a group of current or proposed projects.
• BI (Business intelligence) systems help the business acquire a better understanding of its commercial context.
• EMM (Enterprise Marketing Management) systems manage marketing’s end-to-end internal processes including Web Analytics, Campaign Management, Digital Asset Management, Web Content Management, Marketing Resource Management, Marketing Dashboards, Lead Management, Event-driven Marketing, Predictive Modeling etc.
• HRMS (Human resource management system) or HRIS (Human resource information system) manage all processes within human resources.

Best, Oleg

PLM Prompt: Non-PLM as an opposite to PLM?

September 7, 2009

Picture 10Reading Vuuch post “Do Opposite Attract in Business Process?”, I decided to go future and think about opposites in PLM. And I have to acknowledge, this is hot topic, especially when you come to sales point, cost and ROI. I want to come later with more detailed analyzes of what non-PLM can do different, in my view and opposite to PLM.

My today, prompt is just initial set of questions to you:

1. What is opposite to PLM and how do you see it in the market (I believe non-PLM is not very attractive)?
2. Do you think companies that distant their offering from PLM strategies doing something different?
3. Can we make PLM from non-PLM pieces?

I’m coming with longer post on this later this week and meanwhile will be looking forward to your comments and thoughts.

Best, Oleg

Can we scale PLM down?

September 1, 2009

Picture 1Originally, PLM was born to provide solution for big enterprise customers. Aerospace, Defense, Automotive… these are original roots of today PLM kings. But, since we are moving forward many companies started to investigate in possibility to take PLM ideas to different domains, industries as well as apply it to be used for smaller customers and not only to industrial behemoths like  aerospace and automotive OEMs. In your comments, I got few requests to raise this topic on blog and discuss, so here we go. I don’t expect to finish this topic in one post, so today I want to talk about fundamental grounds behind topic of PLM for different company sizes. I’d like to put few buckets to make our discussion more structured.

Marketing. Just to make things clear. We live in dynamic world that creates multiple opportunity for product marketing. I believe marketing around PLM is very strong and interesting. One day we discuss it too, but not today. I think customer’s demands are similar if we talk to them about their needs such as product cost, regulation needs and distributed development and manufacturing. PLM marketing is focusing on explaining how PLM can solve these problems, but won’t be the only solution for these problems and needs solving. I raised these issues multiple times before discussing how different product and technologies can be positioned to solve the same (or similar needs).  

Company IT. When I think about PLM of different scales and different organizations, the first thing come to my mind is what IT organization company have. Obviously IT of big enterprise won’t be equivalent of small business IT combined from very few people. So, ability of IT to handle operational and technological issues are crucial to understand what type of PLM technology we need to come with.

Technology. So, we agreed – we need different PLM technologies. In my view, these days we are facing a very significant wave or technology and business/technology combination. Microsoft is coming up to enterprise very actively. Traditional big-IT focused companies like IBM, Oracle and others are trying to establish their strategic position. On opposite side, SaaS and Cloud technologies becomes more mature and attractive for enterprises. I think, companies of different sizes will be deciding also based on technological choice. So, PLM companies need to be prepared to multiple offering or understand niches of technological marketplaces

Company Processes and Organization. When IT abilities and Technological preferences are fundamental things companies will analyze, issue such as company processes are definitely need to be taken into account when you come with PLM-bag to organization. What is good for big companies won’t fit way smaller customers are doing their business. Smaller organization are always will be more agile, connected and open compared to bigger enterprise and therefore, will be focusing on different priorities and needs.  So, don’t develop very complex ECO for the company of 100 people and 5 engineers.

So, what is my conclusion today? Different companies are doing business in different way. There is strong influence of IT, Technologies and Organization processes on the way product development and manufacturing systems need to be established, implemented in supported. I’d be thinking about next discussion with more specific themes and looking forward for your comments.

Best, Oleg.

6 factors impacting PLM industry today

July 28, 2009

I think, PLM evolved for the last few years to become accepted by many companies. Started from bigger auto- and aero- companies and finally coming to smaller manufacturers, supply chain and various industry verticals. Today, I want to discuss top factors that influence PLM. These factors are combination of technologies, economical situation and people demands.

Complexity in Manufacturing

I’d like to start from this one. Our life becomes more complex and manufacturing becomes complex. Lots of constraints, economical situation, business model changes, globalization, energy constraints, industry re-structuring. Our life is much more dynamic in comparison to what we had 10 years ago. So, how to help manufacturing companies to manage their digital life around all these things? Product Lifecycle Management is one of the answers. To establish control and lifecycle of all product IP, to connect to other enterprise applications, to enable social networking, to allow to potential consumers to touch future products… This is the only partial list of what PLM can do. The most important, in my view, for the future is that PLM will provide simple solution for this complex problem.

Compliance and Regulation

Next big thing in manufacturing in my view. Multiple compliance and regulation acts came to the game and impacting manufacturing in very severe way. Multiple new compliance requirements and regulation needs is additional cost manufacturers need to pay. Their product development, supply chain and other systems are not ready to provide answer to all these regulations. This is definite opportunity for Product Lifecycle Management. PLM should come as solution to solve these problems and change business processes in organizations.

Collaboration Software

A lot of things PLM is doing are related to ability to multiple participants of product development, manufacturing, supply chain to collaborate. At the same time, I’m observing significant changes in ways collaborative software came to our regular consumer-oriented life. Internet, Google, iPhone, Laptops, Twitter, Facebook etc. This is only short list of players and influencers. All of them make our life more digital, but at the same time introduce different standards for “collaboration”. In my view, consumer market will impact significantly business software. And PLM, with needs to collaborate, probably will be one of the first in the list to be impacted. We cannot collaborate on digital representation of a product which will not be as cool as iPhone based and manage processes with software much more complex than Facebook/Twitter. In addition to consumer impact on Collaboration, new collaborative features came to the portfolios of big platform providers. Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and others have collaborative and social software in their bags. PLM needs to take it into account and jump over, to take advantages of them.

Content Management

Big IT providers and additional specialized companies put significant focus to improve capabilities of content management software. It started as software to manage documents, today, content management provides wide range of capacities to manage content and processes in the company. Enterprise Content Management created a significant overlap with Product Lifecycle Management on the level of digital content. Future development of ECM and their belonging to big IT portfolios will be additional impact on PLM roadmaps.

SaaS / On Demand

I don’t need to talk and explain SaaS and On Demand models. Many people today are asking how possible to introduce these technologies and business models to product development and more specifically to PLM. After few initial tries, we can see multiple big IT, ERP and PLM players are coming to this space. The biggest challenge for PLM companies in SaaS and On Demand that I see is potential disassembly of PLM portfolios to many small services that companies will use. When it is definitely good for customers, it will be business challenge for today’s providers selling big portfolio on premise. Additional challenge related to SaaS and On-Demand is to provide answer for IP protection and security.

Low cost solutions and Future Challengers

This is last, but definitely not least. MS Office, SharePoint, PDM Collaboration, Content Management on demand, Open source… These and many other solutions are a threat for PLM exclusivity and ability to support product development collaboration and product IP management. PLM better be aware about these solutions and build PLM strategy that will allow to provide right answer at the right time. Future coming free MS Office 2010 Online, and Google Wave will become next PLM challengers in the organizations.

So, to conclude, I think PLM has a lot of challenges to find a right way to their existing and future customers in the context of these trends. The right balance of solution/values will be key to succeed. I’m looking forward to your comments and discussions.

Best, Oleg


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