Configurable BOM – an ultimate PLM platform test?

June 10, 2015

bom-car-configurations

Platformizaiton in PLM is an interesting trend. If this is a first time you hear about "platformization", you are not alone. The term was "coined" by CIMdata – analytical and consulting outfit focusing of PLM and manufacturing. You can read more here – Platformization: The next step in PLM’s evolution. As I mentioned earlier in my blog, it is hard to understand what specifically CIMdata means by platformization. So, I’m still learning…

In one of my earlier posts I made a guess that that Today’s CAD and PLM tools won’t become future PLM platforms. So, you may ask me – what does it mean with regards to existing PLM platforms provided by top CAD/PLM providers? First of all – relax. Nothing is happening fast in PLM platform world. Large manufacturing companies are running their business in a very conservative way and it takes years until some changes will happen. In my old blog from 2011 – PLM platforms: Who is Right and Who is Left? I touched some aspects of future competition between PLM platforms. Interesting enough, five years after my post, some of these disputes are still very hot.

One of these stories connected to Dassault Systems and 3DEXPERINCE platform. It was called V6 back in 2011, but I don’t think it changed a lot and I’m going to touch it later in my post. My attention was caught by Verdi Ogewell blog post – PLM at Jaguar Land Rover – The Moment of Truth for Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. I found it very interesting and it is absolutely worth reading. It speaks about history of Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform adoption by JLR. The internal JLR’s code name is iPLM. I found a bit funny that Dassault strategy name was called "beyond PLM". I captured two interesting data points from the article.

The first data point is related to Dassault competition Siemens PLM. Teamcenter is still a production backbone for JLR. Here is a passage that says that:

Siemens was eliminated in JLR’s evaluation – 7 years later, it still uses Teamcenter. Siemens’ Teamcenter (TC) was eliminated as an option due to architectural reasons. TC’s unified architecture wasn’t ready at the time.But here is the paradox; Teamcenter is still a major part of JLR’s product data management backbone, generally used in combination with CATIA V5. Even in the last few years, JLR has bought new TC licenses in anticipation of the new PLM project

Second data point is related to the core element of JLR iPLM implementation – configuration driven BOM. According to the article, this one of the most important components of iPLM and it connects BOM to variety of different BOMs and support change management activities. Here is the passage with some more details.

During 2015 the goal is to establish the fully functional platform through a gradual entry process containing four parts (”P1-P4”), which in turn will make it possible to develop and realize the first vehicle ever (”Vehicle 1”) on the completed iPLM platform.With these platforms in place, iPLM lead at JLR, John Knight-Gregson, claims that ”after four years in [the] making,” it will have the ability to execute on: Milestone driven configuration; Configuration driven BOMs; BOP/BOM/BOI/etc driven CAD; Integrated Change Management.

Dassault Systems has a strategy called "Zero BOM errors". The article touched BOM story by referencing the conversation with Andy Kalambi, CEO of ENOVIA. It reminded me my article – PLM and Zero BOM errors: the devil is in details. I guess bringing configurable BOM in a data-driven 3DEXPERIENCE environment is a core elements of Dassault System strategy. However, it requires a lot of components inter-playing together for fully configurable view of vehicle with support of change management.

What is my conclusion? To have PLM vision is a great thing. Dassault System certainly has one. "Beyond PLM" vision is even better (note, the name of my blog and Dassault System vision name is an absolute coincidence). But… to make platform successful requires to handle a very basic set of PLM operations. What I learned from Engineering.com JLR story – it is all related to managing of CAD data and configurable BOMs. Without that, all bells and whistles of a new platform are useless. Configurable BOM functionality is needed to move JLR from Teamcenter to ENOVIA and this is one of the most interesting PLM platform validation points. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of ammer at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Why PLM is failing to manage multi-disciplinary BOM?

May 21, 2015

high-tech-electronic

Products are getting complex these days. Look on every small electronic gadget in your hands. It is actually combined from multiple pieces – mechanical parts, plastics, electronic and software. Traditionally you are using separate tools to design these parts – MCAD, PCB design, software tools. Then it gets tricky a bit – you need to put together right information about the product, manage changes, coordinate with suppliers, etc. PLM tools are here to help. But, for some reasons, it is a difficult problem to handle.

Engineering.com article In High-Tech Electronics, Managing Three Lifecycles As One is a New Key to Product Development by Laila Hirr speaks exactly about that problem. Here is my favorite passage from the article explaining the problem:

HTE’s need for PLM is straightforward—a firmer grasp of the information generated before and during product development and subsequently “in the field.” Many information needs go unmet when products go into assembly operations of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and built into other manufacturers’ components in complex supply chains. Users and system integrators may also be slow to share information.

For many reasons, PLM has repeatedly fallen short in this industrial sector. At CIMdata, the reason we see most often is a lack of integration with the full information set that defines the product. Achieving this integration is a multidisciplinary challenge and in PLM’s twenty-plus year history with the high tech industry, the challenge has yet to be resolved. This largely accounts for the scarcity of compelling PLM successes in HTE and the ongoing skepticism about PLM.

Article speaks about absence of integration between tools and dependencies on homegrown spreadsheets to manage bill of materials and change. Which made me think about core problem in PLM tools – management of multi-disciplinary BOM. I addressed this problem in the keynote presentation at ProSTEP iViP Symposium few weeks ago – PLM and ERP: separated by a common Bill of Materials (BOM). PLM systems today are addressing BOM management. Most of them are taking an approach to manage multiple bill of materials view. However, these tools are not efficient enough to manage a BOM which contains mechanical, electronic and software pieces together. The complexity of BOM is driven by multiple disciplines, change management and product lifecycle as I presented on the following slide

bom-complexity-1

What is my conclusion? Technical difficulties and disagreement between people often can lead to problems in establishment of cohesive BOM management solutions. PLM fails to provide a way to manage multi-disciplinary BOM and changes. High-tech and electronic industry is specific because of high diversity of design tools – mechanical, electronic, software. PLM tools are not integrated well with design tool, which leads to poor BOM management. There are several reasons why it happens – limits of BOM management tools, complexity of integrations between design tools provided by multiple suppliers, UI complexity. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


Bill of Materials (BOM) and product lifecycle open loops

May 19, 2015

integration-loop-bom

It is hard overestimate the importance of Bill of Materials for product development. In my keynote at ProSTEP iViP symposium in Stuttgart earlier this month I’ve been sharing my thoughts why developing of single BOM across multiple disciplines in critical for organization. I wanted to bring few examples that can demonstrate why having a single BOM strategy can bring benefits to product development and manufacturing organization.

Earlier today, at Siemens PLM connection event in Dallas, I captured the following slide demonstrating an integrated approach in design, manufacturing, planning and production. What is really interesting is how as-design, as-planned and as-build views in PLM are integrated with design, manufacturing, planning and production.

integrated-bom-plm-mes-mom

Few days ago, I the following article by 3D CAD World article caught my attention – Progress in closing the product lifecycle’s loops  by Peter Bilello, president of CIMdata. The article speaks about the importance of collaboration across diverse enterprise groups.

For many years, the PLM industry has greatly benefited from a steady stream of improvements in collaboration among ever more diverse enterprise groups—in data interoperability, for example, and in the transparency of workflows and processes. The development, manufacture and support of globally competitive new products are, however, still hamstrung by the remaining open loops new and old.

Later in the article it came to the topic I was looking for – Bill of Materials. According to article, BOM is a biggest remaining challenge to make integration running smooth. Here is the passage, which explains that.

Between engineering, manufacturing and finance, a big remaining challenge is the bill of materials (BOM) in its many forms—the as-designed BOM, the as-engineered BOM, the as-manufactured BOM, and so on. Generated and managed with PLM and often executed by enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, BOMs themselves are loop closers. PLM-ERP connectivity and interoperability are steadily improving, but some open-loop issues are resolved only after time consuming face-to-face meetings.

What is my conclusion? Single BOM could be a great thing if vendors will figure out how to implement that. As you can learn from Biello’s article, PLM-ERP has open-loop issue and BOM is a tool to close that. However, companies are concerned about bringing single BOM strategy since it can raise lot of organizational challenges for them. At the same time, the demand for better integration and collaboration can put companies in front of decision to bring single BOM to close open loops between engineering, manufacturing and production anyway. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


BOM and roadblocks for Product-as-a-Service in manufacturing

May 12, 2015

manufacturing-as-a-service

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model in which you are buying software subscription and software is typically centrally hosted. Here is a potentially big news – SaaS model is proliferating into manufacturing. Welcome Product-as-a-Service (don’t be confused with PaaS- Platform as a service). According to IDC report, manufacturing companies have seen some potential in after sales services and support. There is a good chance soon we will be buying services and not manufactured product. Here is a passage from IDC article to explain more.

By 2018, 40% of Top 100 discrete manufacturers and 20% of Top 100 process manufacturers will provide Product-as-a-Service platforms. Leading manufacturers have seen the potential that after-sales service revenues hold, with some generating up to 50% of their profits from after-sales sources. As manufacturers apply service innovation to their efforts, the product becomes a platform to deliver business outcomes and tangible value. IDC Manufacturing Insights defines product-as-a-service as the transformation of service from a standalone function within a manufacturing organization into an integrated product and service offering that delivers value in use. Manufacturers transition from selling physical products to selling the business outcomes the products will deliver.

Among the IT impacts we see as a result of product-as-a-service are the need for IT to support a global service delivery network with systems that enable the process flow for this new business model. Major systems, from customer management to service parts planning to finance and accounting will need to be altered and brought in alignment with how the product-service is brought to market. The change necessary is not to be underestimated, which is why we see approximately 40% of manufacturing reaching out to external IT service providers to assist with the implementation of product-service systems.

idc-manufacturing-innovation

To transform organization to sell services from selling products is a big deal. As it was mentioned above, it will bring significant challenges to transform existing IT systems. However, it made me think about challenges it can also bring to product lifecycle management environment and its core – BOM management.

The article Bill of Materials (BOM): Necessary or Just Nice to Have? from SparePartsKnowHow blog speaks about the role of Bill of Materials in services and spare part management. The article brings some interesting controversy around the need to have an up-to-date bill of materials in service. The article is very practical and I specially liked some examples. Here is my favorite passage:

If you choose to go down the path of software optimization (a theoretical approach) you probably do need to ensure that your BOMS are up to date. However, if you apply a pragmatic and process based approach such as the Inventory Cash Release process then the BOMS are less important. This type of approach forces you to look at the issues that drive your spare parts holdings.

These issues are not related to how many machines you have that use the part, they are almost universally related to the processes in place for spare parts management. These include: the basis of decision making (emotional, logical or data based), supplier relations, commercial arrangements, supply chain, procurement, planning, team behavior, and accountability. These are the most obvious examples.

From direct experience I can say that without a doubt these issues have far greater effect on your spare parts holdings than knowing whether you have X machines that use part Y. Of course the number of machines requiring a part will be an influence on the required holding levels, as it impacts demand, however, for the vast majority of companies their spare parts levels are far more influenced by the issues listed above and addressing these is the best approach for reviews and optimization.

That discussion reminded me very old disputes between Order Point and MRP strategies. It is clearly better to manage inventory by knowing what organization is manufacturing rather than maintaining a specific level of inventories. Moving into modern IoT era, I can see even more potential to correspond to a specific product requirements and needs to manage services and maintenance operation.

To have exact BOM of products in service can be tricky. This type of information is not well maintained by manufacturing organizations (especially, it is related to manufacturers that not using Serial Number BOM). It can be a challenge for this organization to move into more intelligent BOM management practices to bring up-to-date BOM in service management.

What is my conclusion? Manufacturing organizations will have to transform to support "Product-as-a-Service" model. It might create some significant IT challenges. One of potential challenges is the need to manage bill of materials for physical products in service and operation. The importance of BOM management will depend on specific "service management practices". We are going to see the evolution of these practices and related PLM technologies in coming years. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


PLM and ERP: Separated by a common Bill of Materials (BOM)

May 6, 2015

bom-lifecycle

Yesterday, I had a privilege to share my thoughts about Bill of Materials and BOM management during my keynote at ProSTEP iViP Symposium in Stuttgart. That was my first time at ProSTEP conference. The first day is over. I will be publishing  updates in my live blog here.

The discussion about Bill of Materials is always interesting and entertaining. BOM is a centerpiece of every engineering solution. As an organization you have to manage different aspects of Bill of Materials during design, engineering, manufacturing and support stages. These days, as companies are moving from selling products into services, support and maintenance BOM is getting more into the focus of discussions. After all, Bill of Materials is complex topic. On the following picture you can see multiple dimensions of BOM complexity:

bom-complexity-1

In every organization, Bill of Materials has two notions  – technical and political. The first one is absolutely important. The following three characteristics are absolutely important if you think about reliable BOM management solution: 1/ ability to manage multi-disciplinary data; 2/ scalability; 3/ user acceptance. User acceptance is a tricky thing. The demands of people in an organization about BOM are different. Engineering, manufacturing, support, supply chain, sales – these organizations have want to see BOM differently.

enterprise-bom

However, regardless on the role of a person in organization, the following demands are absolutely critical: 1/ No errors (each mistake in BOM is painful and can lead to significant problems in an organization ; 2/ No painful date re-entry (nobody wants to enter information into BOM multiple times); 3/ No painful synchronization of data between PLM, ERP and other systems.

bom-management-demands

Below you can find a full deck of my presentation:

PLM and ERP: Separated by a common Bill of Materials (BOM) from Oleg Shilovitsky

What is my conclusion? Bill of Materials and BOM is a very interesting topic. My hunch, it is getting even more in the focus of people as products are getting more complex. These days every single product is a combination of mechanical, electronics and software. Manufacturing companies are selling it as a services. Customers are demanding configurability, high quality and low cost. How to manage all these things together? The following three questions are absolutely important when you think about BOM management – 1/ How to support connected processes in an organization? 2/ How to stop synchronizing BOM between silos (PLM, ERP and others)? 3/ How PLM and ERP can support a concept of “single BOM”? Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

PS. If you want to discuss more about BOM management, please feel free to contact me directly.

 


The role of Bill of Materials (BOM) in PLM competition

April 21, 2015

trucks-scania-man-vw

It is hard to overestimate the value of bill of materials (BOM) in product design, engineering and manufacturing. It is everywhere – product design and configuration, engineering, manufacturing, operation, etc. BOM is equally important and complex. In my earlier articles, I touched multiple dimensions of BOM complexity – disciplines, product lifecycle, changes. PLM vendors are focusing on high level of integration of product information into development process. Few months ago in my article When BOM is not BOM, I touched some of aspects of BOM complexity and how it related to BOM ownership, BOM errors and future battle for MBOM ownership between PLM and ERP.

Actually, the battle between PLM vendors for superior BOM solution can be even more interesting. Engineering.com article – Volkswagen’s Epic Challenge to synchronize PLM for its Truck Brands brings a very interesting story about German automotive giant trying to unify PLM solution across its commercial vehicle brands. Take some of your lunch or evening time and read the article.

The example of Scania brings up the value of well integrated PLM solution to support vehicle configuration and manufacturing.

The secret to Scania’s success is a sales model where product development and modular manufacturing processes are interwoven with sales into a holistic system. The company is known for its tailor-made vehicles. Scania’s PLM plays a big role in its business model. Scania uses Dassault’s (DS) CATIA V5 while ENOVIA V5 serves as the CAD vault. PDM functionality is handled via Scania’s proprietary OAS platform which defines the rules for how the components can be assembled. The OAS works as a product database, configuration and structural control solution. CAD geometries are downloaded from the ENOVIA CAD vault in accordance with the configurations delivered by OAS. In terms of the eBOM and the mBOM, it’s once again about OAS and its couplings to ENOVIA. The company’s manufacturing solutions can’t handle many variations; you have to prepare one at a time and make them individually for each truck.

For some your it might be a big surprise, but according to the article, Excel is a key element of PLM solution used by another vehicle manufacturer. MAN is using Excel based technology to work with EBOM and MBOM.

MAN uses both Dassault’s CATIA V5 and PTC’s ProEngineer/CREO. After a succesful pilot last year that considered product development (ie, not production), the company chose PTC’s PDMLink (part of Windchill) for their CAD vault and PDM system. Configuration and structural control is principally handled via an Excel Integration with PDM Link. The eBOM (engineering BOM) and the mBOM (manufacturing BOM) are produced by PDM Link via the Excel integration, picking up the parts from the CAD vault. The implementation of PDM Link is under way but at a low speed in anticipation of a final PLM decision.

The story of MAN and Scania made me think about importance of BOM management in complex product configurations and vertical integration with manufacturing. Build to order or engineering to order environments are extremely complex and require fine tuned integration between engineering bills, configuration parameters (features) and ability to translate it into manufacturing and as-built environment.

Here is my favorite passage from engineering.com article which put nail in the head of BOM importance.

BOM management issues will be the most crucial and will determine the direction the company takes. Regardless of what VAG decides to do, the gains that can be made through sharp, highly automated BOM creation and MDM (Master Data Management) solutions is significant. The advanatge of an MDM solution is that it connects the PLM, MES and ERP systems into seamlessly functioning IT units for the shop floor and manufacturing.

What is my conclusion? Platformization is one of the trends in modern PLM according to CIMdata. The example of VW shows an importance of BOM management in order to provide robust and scalable PLM solution for complex automotive manufacturing. My hunch BOM will become one of the most important weapons PLM vendors will be using to differentiate future PLM platforms. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


PLM and contract manufacturing processes

April 7, 2015

contract-manufacturing-collaboration

Globalization and contract manufacturing are two important trends that shaping modern manufacturing. Companies are using contract manufacturers (CM) for different purposes – design, component supply, assembly, fabrication, etc. In some industries such as electronic, contract manufacturing is an absolutely vital part of your product success. My attention caught by EE Times article: 5 Don’ts and Do’s for Working with a Contract Manufacturer. It is short and sweet – I certainly recommend you to have a read.

Here are my favorite two recommendations – prepare detailed documentation and design for manufacturing.

Prepare Detailed Documentation — I don’t think it’s possible to under-communicate when it comes to providing instructions to a CEM. The more CAD files, schematics and specs you deliver with your design the better, from our perspective. And don’t forget to provide a comprehensive bill of materials with alternate part numbers – or have your CEM do this for you.

Design for Manufacture — DFM essentially means considering how easy and cost-effective it is to manufacture an assembly, and designing to reduce those costs. You need a manufacturing mindset to do this well, so leave room for a DFM review and adjustments in your plans.

Thinking about contract manufacturing processes took me back to my 3 modern BOM management challenges. Bill of Material is an important key element in both – documentation and design for manufacture. Very often contract manufacturing work is focused on processes management by ERP system. However, you need to have solid PLM foundation to start thinking about CM work earlier in the process.

So, what are critical elements of PLM system to support your CM processes:

1- Access to component libraries. To have information about components, availability, cost and other parameters such as regulation is critical. To replicate this information into your PLM system is possible, but not reliable and not scalable. Check how PLM system can access this information online or federate it with ERP system you have.

2- Flexible and granular BOM management. You need to organize bill of materials in the way engineering and CM will be able to access it. By doing that you will allow early access to all parties involved into design and manufacturing to access product information.

3- Change management. Everything is changing. It will happen to your design and manufacturing plan too. Find a tool that allows you to manage traceability of changes alongside to bill of material and manufacturing plans.

4- Security. You need to have right technology in place to isolate information that belonging to different CM and subcontractors. It is important to maintain your business relationships and not to disclose sensitive information.

What is my conclusion? Globalization and cost competition leads companies to find somebody else to produce components and outsource specialized work. In many domains, CM is a way to structure industry (think about fabrication and electronic manufacturing as best examples). It leads to outsourcing, offshore and many other options to make the same work in a different places. Bill of materials (BOM) is a critical element in supporting of contract manufacturing. You need to have an ability to organize BOM in a way that allows to all involved organizations to access and make changes in the controlled way. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 281 other followers