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I was planning to complete the model-based series with a post related to the digital twin. However, I did not find the time to structure my thoughts to write it up in a structured story. Therefore, this time some topics I am working on that I would like to share.

Executive days at CADCAM Group

Last week I supported the executive days organized by the CADCAM Group in Ljubljana and Zagreb. The CADCAM is a large PLM Solution and Services Provider (60+ employees) in the region of South-East Europe with offices in Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are operating in a challenging region, four relative young countries with historically more an inside focus than a global focus. Many of CADCAM Group customers are in the automotive supply chain and to stay significant for the future they need to understand and develop a strategy that will help them to move forward.

My presentation was related to the learning path each company has to go through to understand the power of digital combined with the observation that current and future ways of working are not compatible therefore requiring a scaled and bimodal approach (see also PDT Europe further down this post).

This presentation matched nicely with Oscar Torres’s presentation related to strategy. You need to decide on the new things you are going to do, what to keep and what to stop. Sounds easy and of course the challenge is to define the what to start, stop and keep. There you need good insights into your current and future business.

Pierre Aumont completed the inspiring session by explaining how the automotive industry is being disrupted and it is not only Tesla. So many other companies are challenging the current status quo for the big automotive OEMs. Croatia has their innovator for electrical vehicles too, i.e. Rimac. Have a look here.

The presentations were followed by a (long) panel discussion. The common theme in both discussions is that companies need to educate and organize themselves to become educated for the future. New technologies, new ways of working need time and resources which small and medium enterprises often do not have. Therefore, universities, governments and interest groups are crucial.

A real challenge for countries that do not have an industrial innovation culture (yet).

CADCAM Group as a catalyst for these countries understands this need by organizing these executive days. Now the challenge is after these inspiring days to find the people and energy to follow-up.

Note: CADCAM Group graciously covered my expenses associated with my participation in these events but did not in any way influence the content of this paragraph.

 

The MBD/MBE discussion

In my earlier post, Model-Based: Connecting Engineering and Manufacturing,  I went deeper into the MBD/MBE topic and its potential benefits, closing with the request to readers to add their experiences and/or comments to MBD/MBE. Luckily there was one comment from Paul van der Ree, who had challenging experiences with MBD in the Netherlands. Together with Paul and a MBD-advocate (to be named) I will try to have discussion analyzing pro’s and con’s from all viewpoints and hopefully come to a common conclusion.

This to avoid that proponents and opponents of MBD just repeat their viewpoints without trying to converge. Joe Brouwer is famous for his opposition to MBD. Is he right or is he wrong I cannot say as there has never been a discussion. Click on the above image to see Joe’s latest post yourself. I plan to come back with a blog post related to the pro’s and con’s

 

The Death of PLM Consultancy

Early this year Oleg Shilovitsky and I had a blog debate related to the “Death of PLM Consultancy”. The discussion started here: The Death of PLM Consultancy ? and a follow-up post was PLM Consultants are still alive and have an exit strategy. It could have been an ongoing blog discussion for month where the value would be to get response from readers from our blogs.

Therefore I was very happy that MarketKey, the organizers behind the PLMx conferences in Europe and the US, agreed on a recorded discussion session during PLMx 2018 in Hamburg.  Paul Empringham was the moderator of this discussion with approx. 10 – 12 participants in the room to join the discussion. You can view the discussion here through this link: PLMx Hamburg debate

I want to thank MarketKey for their support and look forward to participating in their upcoming PLMx European event and if you cannot wait till next year, there is the upcoming PLMx conference in North America on November 5th and 6th – click on the image on the left to see the details.

 

 

PDT Europe call for papers

As you might have noticed I am a big supporter of the joint CIMdata/PDT Europe conference. This year the conference will be in Stuttgart on October 24th (PLM Roadmap) and October 25th (PDT).

I believe that this conference has a more “geeky” audience and goes into topics of PLM that require a good base understanding of what’s happening in the field. Not a conference for a newcomer in the world of PLM, more a conference for an experienced PLM person (inside a company or from the outside) that has experience challenging topics, like changing business processes, deciding on new standards, how to move to a modern digital business platform.

It was at these events where concepts as Model-Based were discussed in-depth, the need for Master Data Management, Industry standards for data exchange and two years ago the bimodal approach, also valid for PLM.

I hope to elaborate on experiences related to this bimodal or phased approach during the conference. If you or your company wants to contribute to this conference, please let the program committee know. There is already a good set of content planned. However, one or two inspiring presentations from the field are always welcome.
Click on this link to apply for your contribution

Conclusion

There is a lot on-going related to PLM as you can see. As I mentioned in the first topic it is about education and engagement. Be engaged and I am looking forward to your response and contribution in one or more of the topics discussed.

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questionaire

As promised I would come back to the results of my small questionnaire about PLM for the mid-market. Here are the answers:

 

 

 

 

What is your relation to PLM ?

PLM consultant 51 %
IT specialist 21 %
Interested in PLM related to my work 14
PLM vendor 9 %
Student 5 %

The answers show that the majority of readers are professionals directly involved with PLM, which is of course not strange for my blog. And good to see, the real majority is PLM consultant. At that time when I launched the questionnaire, I was not making a differentiation between independent consultants and PLM supplier specific consultants. And you need them both.

Do you believe PLM has a place in the mid-market?

Yes, it is already happening 57 %
Yes, it is a matter of time and education 38 %
No, mid-market companies do not need PLM 5 %
No, there is no place for a PLM system next to CAD and ERP 0 %

Of course it is a PLM blog, so this explains the 0 % for the last alternative. Also it is clear that the readers of this blog believe PLM has a place in the mid-market. Some remarks here were:

  • It depends on product and maturity cycles and on whether this service is provided by the larger companies who the mid market company is supplying (IT enterprise architect)
  • PLM is a strategy and can be implemented by any tool (Student)

Who should provide PLM functionality in the mid-market

A special PLM provider 72 %
A CAD supplier as extension of their data management 14 %
A system integrator 7 %
An IT supplier, like Microsoft, as part of their architecture 5 %
An ERP supplier as extension of their BOM management 2 %

Good news, we are among PLM friends and believe it must be a PLM provider that will bring the PLM functionality to the market, not a CAD or IT-supplier. System integrators are the majority of the minority here. Some remarks here were:

  • One size doesn’t fit all. A special solution need to be provided (PLM Consultant)
  • For me, the best solutions for mid market involve low-cost of ownership, easy to use and limited but straight forward capabilities. ERP and CAD vendors are far from there from what I can see, but at least they are integrated with one or the other part. Cloud computing solutions would be the best, that could integrate with ERP and CAD would be the best. (PLM Consultant)
  • Any one, who have technical sound knowledge, broad thinking and customized software tools like ERP and CAD (Student)

I would like to see more discussion about:

PLM implementation experiences 44 %
PLM basic principles / best practices 34 %
PLM vendors and their specific coverage 10 %
PLM selection guidelines 8 %
PLM functions and features 5 %

It is clear that readers from this blog want to read PLM related topics vendor independent and I will focus on this the upcoming post about the two major responses: PLM implementation experiences and PLM basic principles and best practices. Some of the other requests were:

  • How PLM can support inter-company collaboration at design time, manufacturing time and operational support time and how service oriented technologies have a role in this, especially when products can now be supported by 3rd party companies (not the OEM). (IT Enterprise Architect)
  • As we have not came to final Point of PLM as it is vast field and will not be, so we will be discussing on different points (student)

 

Conclusion:

So I want to thank all of you who responded to this mini-questionnaire and as we are PLM supporters, I will focus in my upcoming post again on mid-market PLM experiences and practices.

 

This time I will conclude with an anecdote:

Some time ago a Christian PLM Sales professional died (let’s call him Jack) and according to his believe he faced Saint Peter at the gates of Heaven and Hell.
Saint Peter greeted Jack and said: “Jack, With your PLM Sales you have done good and bad things to the world and for that reason, I cannot decide if you should go to Heaven or to Hell. Therefore I allow you to make the choice yourself”.


Jack replied: “But Saint Peter, how can I make such an important decision for the rest of my eternal life. It is too difficult !”

Saint Peter replied: “No problem Jack, take a look at Heaven and Hell, take your time and then come back to tell me your decision”

Jack entered Heaven and he was surprised about the quietness and green atmosphere there. Angels were singing, people were eating from golden plates with the best food ever, people were reading poetry and everything was as peaceful as you could imagine. In the distance he could see God surrounded by some prophets talking about the long-term future. After some time Jack had seen it and went to Hell to have a view there.

And when he opened the gates of Hell, he was astonished. Everywhere he looked there were people partying, having fun. It reminded him off these sales kick-offs, he had in the past, exotic places with lots of fun. In the distance he could see the Devil as DJ playing the latest dance music – or was it DJ Tiësto ?

Jack did not hesitate and ran back to Saint Peter, no time to lose. “Saint Peter” he said “I want to go to Hell, no doubt and pity I did not know it before”

“So be it” said Saint Peter “go for it.”

SNAGHTML883dbfAnd then once Jack entered Hell, it was suddenly all fire around him, people were screaming of pain and suffering and also Jack felt the first flames.

“Devil!!”  he screamed “what happened to what I have seen before?”

 

With a sarcastic voice the devil replied: “That ? That was a demo”

observation Two weeks ago I was writing about the Silent PLM approach. What I showed in that post that often the PLM vision as a complete vision does not exist in all layers of the organization.
Often the management in is not aware of where and how PLM can have an impact. In the Silent Management approach, one or more visionary people believe they can introduce PLM by starting it in their department, and from there grow and extend the impact of PLM. As I concluded,  this approach usually fails in most of the cases as when the decisive step comes to extend PLM to other departments and to change current processes, this is the point where is mostly gets stuck.

Other departments and the management do not see how this engineering / CAD extension could benefit for them and the whole organization. Why not extending our ERP system as this already exists ? And here a stand still will come up until a push comes. The push can come from the top or from the outside world. From my experience more then half of the companies that started this silent PLM approach got stuck where they are ……..

So this time another approach, called the academical approach. And again a disclaimer, I am generalizing and putting some points a little more in the extreme to demonstrate the difference between the approaches. Any similarity with the real world is pure coincidence

Approach 2:  Academical PLM

Inside our mid-market company ACCPY,  the management has understood that PLM will bring a lot of benefits and in case they were not aware of it, they have learned from analyst reports, from blogs and from their network that PLM should bring a lot benefit for them.

myplm So the management decides to prepare and educate themselves and they start a PLM taskforce inside ACCPY to collect and digest all the information. The team has enthusiastic members from all departments and starts buying some books and reports on PLM. In addition they visit some PLM events all around the country and sometimes around the continent. These visits lead to contact with PLM Vendors who also start to educate why their PLM is the one fitting ACCPY the best. After one or two years of education they are theoretical skilled and know to differentiate between EDM, PDM, cPDM and even they learn to understand the difference between PDM and ERP.

As a conclusion of their learning stage the PLM taskforce presents to the management a firm report, explaining what is PLM and how ACCPY can benefit from it plus recommendations how to proceed.

PLMmindsharers The management is happy with the result, that what they thought two year ago was really valid and agrees with the report and recommendations. Now the selection of the PLM system needs to be done and who will be the implementation partner. Although all PLM vendors have been knocking on their door already to explain the benefits and implementation approach from their solution, ACCPY decides to hire an ‘independent’ PLM consultancy firm to assist with the selection of the solution.

The consultancy firm starts with interviewing the key members of ACCPY, in order to understand the major processes and the needs per department. A month later they present to the management a PLM Vendor Selection Procedure, where in 15 pages the PLM Vendor has to explain and confirm requirement per requirement, the implementation approach and give a budget estimate.

searchThis RFQ will be sent to 5 PLM vendors which were already in touch with ACCPY since the PLM research started. Also the consultancy firm brought in a company which they new very well.  It takes a few weeks for the consultancy firm to compile the RFQ and two months later the responses are there.

From the received proposals three PLM vendors are invited to benchmark their system and company based on a business case developed by the consultancy firm together ACCPY.

PLM Vendor 1

The first PLM vendor gives a standard demo of the system and explains that the business case is well known to them and therefore instead of showing it, they give a whole set of screenshots and references. The attendees had a good feeling with this vendor

PLM Vendor 2

The second PLM vendor tries to follow exactly the business case as defined. The attendees liked the fact that  all was demonstrated so well, however the PLM system seems to be rather too complex and giving a lot of overhead to the engineers,  according to their impression.

PLM Vendor 3

The third PLM vendor was already known to the company as they were also providing the 3D CAD system.  In their presentation they explained how well they knew ACCPY already and that the business case was too artificial. They demonstrated some gadgets of their PLM system which none of the competing vendors could do, thanks to their tight integration with the CAD system. The attendees were impressed, however a few days later, they were asking themselves, why were those gadgets needed ? None of the other vendors talked about it and it was also not part of the RFQ.

sel_a So now it was time for the consultancy firm together with the task force to  process all the information and to determine the final score. On product features they had a nice comparison – only hard to tell what was most important. On usage it was more difficult, as they got three different approaches during the benchmark, so the scores for this section was rather artificial. Also the financial part seemed to be hard to compare but at least it gave an indication.

As it is an academical approach, my post for this week ends here. We need to give the ACCPY task force together with the consultancy firm some time to build a justification for their choice and next week we will discover how this story ended. Meanwhile ask yourself:

  • how much time has passed since the management decided PLM was good for their organization ?
  • how independent is the consultancy firm ?
  • did they consider open source PLM as a solution ?
  • what was the ranking of the PLM vendors ?
  • read the book Blink the power of thinking without thinking about intuition

Conclusion (so far): Academical PLM takes time and it would be unfair to explain it all in one post.
So next week the real conclusion.

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.

 

However,……

….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.

image 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.

image

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.

image

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.

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