Last week I was in Greece together with the Dassault Systems Value Added Reseller OVision. Everyone would expect from the first sentence I was on holiday. Yes I agree, the settings were holiday like always temperatures above 35 C (approx 100 F) and never far from the see.
….we were visiting ENOVIA SmarTeam prospects and discussed existing customer specific implementation wearing business suits – not wearing shorts. However the most interesting issue was, that we were working with companies that were in the early stages of data management.
If you look around the world, to my understanding, and would rank countries on PLM awareness and need for data management, I would rank Western Europe, Scandinavia, Japan as the countries where concepts for PLM are understood, although in many mid-market companies I would still expect on the long term a culture change to real PLM. In my previous posts, I addressed several thoughts on that.
North America and the United Kingdom I rank differently, as somehow, there are big PLM implementations, but the majority of mid-sized companies is supplier of an OEM network or sees no return on investment on a PLM implementation
Then I would rank countries like Turkey, South Africa, India, and China as the next level. As they participate in manufacturing of global companies – mainly automotive and aerospace, they are driven into the basic needs of PDM as requirement from the OEMs. This pushes in parallel the country’s infrastructure – Internet / Intranet availability.
At the fourth position, I would rank a country like Greece. As due to the local economy there is not a focus on manufacturing or a huge participation in a global supply chain, they have to introduce their data management, growing to PDM or PLM slowly on a still developing infrastructure
Disclaimer: Countries not mentioned here can fall in any of the above categories (or even below). The fact that I did not mention them, is because I have not enough experience working with these countries to judge.
Back to Greece
Apparently, due to all the beautiful islands in Greece, there are thousands of ferries traveling from island to island or other Mediterranean destinations. For that reason, there are companies that build ships, companies that refurbish ships and companies that maintain ships.
At the end, a ferryboat can be seen like single process plant. Like in a plant, you have equipment that needs to be operational and maintained during operation.
This requires a well-defined form of data management, often driven by quality processes around ISO 900x.
Companies often consider quality processes as a kind of document management. You have your manuals with procedures, templates spread around the company, and you update them before the next audit. Everyone is supposed to follow the procedures and supposed to know the latest procedures.
This is a labor-intensive activity if you want to execute as best as possible. In companies where the cost of labor is an issue, you will see that most people are loaded with work and usually the quality issue is the last activity these people will execute, first the operational issues then the rest.
In order to improve the quality of the information, document management and workflow processes are functionalities used to address the availability of the documents and the workflow ensures information to be pushed and published in a guaranteed manner.
Instead of pushing the information to all the users, the company is now able to centralize the data and users can pull the latest information from the system. The workflow processes and the document management system guarantee the right steps are followed and you are always looking to the latest versions. Also you are aware of on-going changes.
When it comes to ships however, there is more to address than ISO documentation and procedures. The ship itself has maintenance or refurbishing projects running on certain systems or locations in the ship. Here the advantages of a PDM system like ENOVIA SmarTeam appear. In the ENOVIA SmarTeam data model you are able to manage information (CAD documents and Bills or Materials too) related to a project, to a ship, to a location or system in the specific ship. There is no need for keywords on the document to describe where it applies, or have copies from a document because if applier to several ships. The data model below shows the types of information that can be stored around a ship.
Once the company has the vision, what to achieve in the upcoming years, a roadmap can be defined. Keeping user understanding, flexibility but still a continued move towards the PDM data model are parameters for the management to monitor and drive. Companies that build or refurbish ships of course have even higher needs to integrate their engineering activities with the ships maintenance data. This avoids a costly hand-over of data that already could be available in the right format.
Conclusion: Although Greece is in the fourth rank of PLM needs and awareness, the benefits to gain from PLM are there too, however due to awareness and infrastructure, they are not as visible as in the countries ranked as number one.
As Greece is the birthplace of many sciences, I am sure the awareness for where to apply PLM concepts is for sure something they will achieve.