Archive for July, 2011

Is it Collaboration 2.0 or so called PLM 2.0 ?

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Collaboration 2.0 or so called PLM 2.0 mean the same !

The intention of this blog post is to list down various Collaborative Business Processes(CBP) followed across the niche manufacturing industries at a very high level and appreciate the current(Year 2011) scope of PLM (ENOVIA, Teamcenter) according to my understanding. The niche manufacturing industries refer to those who participate in launching niche products to the market more so frequently and for instance cars, aircrafts, consumer goods, etc. CBP plays a very important role in entire product development lifecycle since all the Design Engineers (CATIA users, NX users, etc), Manufacturing Planners (DELMIA, Technomatix, etc) and Analyst Engineers (SIMULIA) have to finally store and securely share their data (Intellectual Property) using CBP solution. Please note that same processes are referred to with different names by different PLM vendors.

Many hands make light work ! ! !

Many hands make light work ! ! !

Program Management Process

 Any industry would have some product launch strategies in order to remain competitive in the market. The best way to be competitive and progress ahead is to learn from past mistakes and have a complete control of the present. Product companies fail to make a significant ROI mainly due to the lack of awareness on launching right products to right market and at right time. All probable mishaps or risks could be averted only by having a proper product launch plan. Most industries these days capture product launch process in the form of “Program”. Boeing-787 program is one such revolutionary program launched in the year 2003. Boeing OEM contracted with more than 50 suppliers, 28 of them outside the U.S thereby functioning only as a final assembler and integrator. The Program Managers in such companies need to be equipped with enterprise level Product, Process and Resource management solution. Ideally a program management solution would comprise of the following:

-Program consisting several Projects

-Dashboards used for staff monitoring and maintain project metrics

-Meetings and discussions to arrive at some decisions

-WBS based on business goals


-Financial aspects – Budget, Benefit & Forecasting

-Resource Management

-Risk Management

Requirements Management Process

One of the best ways to launch right products to right market is to capture the voice of the customer in the form of requirements. This enables the Product Manager to perform requirements analysis and helps them review, assess, prioritize and balance the needs of the customer. It reduces the overall development costs and rework by bridging the gap between product requirements, design and product launch processes and disciplines. Since the requirements keep evolving, it is important for Product managers to have traceability throughout the evolution of requirements. An ideal requirements management solution would comprise of the following:

-Product Planning

-Requirements Capture

-Requirements Analysis

-Change Management

-Requirements Traceability

Configuration Management Process

Configuration management is a vast subject and plays a very important role in reducing product diversity, but how? Let’s see how most industries organize or classify their offerings. At the top most are “Product Lines” having various “Models” under it. Each Model represents specific products available to customers. Product Managers are responsible for managing the content of each product release for their assigned models. These products in turn have a feature hierarchy typically classified as Configuration/Logical Features. It is possible to arrive at multiple Product Configurations based on the configuration features. These configurations satisfy the customer’s requirements and are building blocks of the end product. Reusing of the same features helps reduce product diversity and at the same time ensures customer’s requirements are also satisfied. An ideal configuration management solution would comprise of the following:

-Product Definition

-Product Decomposition

-Configurable Rules


-Product Configurator

-BOM Generation

-Build Management

-Change Management

BOM Management Process

BOM has played an important and inspiring role in conceptualizing PLM. Bill of Materials association with PLM has been there for more than a decade. Some of the very basic solutions that most PLM vendors provide as BOM management solution have been listed in one of my blog post “Smooth handlers for Bill of Materials or BOM users” and I am repeating the same over here:

-BOM Markup

-Compare Tools

-Where Used/ Where Referenced

-Specifications/Reference Documents

-Enterprise Search

-Variant Configuration & Effectivity Filters


-Change Management

Compliance Management Process

Compliance Management w.r.t PLM refers to the regulatory compliance management and not with some financial audits like Sarbanes Oxley. It’s got more to do with how, where and with what the end products are being manufactured and also end of life of products. It’s about Carbon emission, it’s about plastic and yes it’s about global warming. Please refer one of my blog post “Dear Stakeholder, beware of Material Compliance Directives!” where you can find a list of compliance directives that are to be followed by product manufacturing industries. The compliance management solution can be best utilized when you have a BOM management solution in place. This enables you to link each of those items in BOM to Manufacturing Equivalent Parts (MEP) and have an association of “Substance Used” to those MEPs, thereby allowing the computation of compliance according to the directives. A best-in-class compliance management solution would ideally provide you the following:

-Materials Data Management

-Materials Compliance Analysis

-Manage Supplier Material Declarations

-Supplier Data Collection

-Determine Engineering BOM Compliance

-Integrate and Analyze External BOM Structures

-Export of Product Compliance to Customers

-IMDS Integration

Sourcing & Supplier Management Process

Sourcing & Supplier Management Process is all about linking buyers and suppliers. Imagine you own a car manufacturing company and you have outsourced most of your car parts manufacturing activities to various suppliers across the world and all that you would need as an OEM is a full fledged supplier management solution to monitor and bridge the gaps. This solution requires collaboration of suppliers and is a very key process in product development it naturally gets associated with PLM. Ideally a sourcing and a supplier management solution would comprise of the following:

-Buyer Desks

-Sourcing Templates

-Electronic RFQ

-RFQ Line Item Power View

-RFQ Quotation Power View

-Decision Support and Analysis

-Where Used RFQ for Parts

-Cross-functional Sourcing Collaboration


-Generate Costing Information from RFQ Quotations

Manufacturing BOM Management Process

A Design Engineer or a Product Manager releasing the engineering BOM for manufacturing marks the beginning of Manufacturing BOM Management Process. This process enables industries to improve quality and reduce scrap and rework by ensuring pre-conceived “design intent” is followed across multiple manufacturing locations. All the assigned Manufacturing Engineers would work together to manufacture the end product as per the voice of the customer. An ideal manufacturing management solution would have the following:

-MBOM Management

-MBOM Navigation


-Manufacturing Change Processes

Unit Tracking Process

All unique customer requirements are captured into what are known as Product Configurations. Each product configuration is manufactured and shipped to the customer. Each shipped item or build are known as Units. It becomes very important for the industries to track the units. Tracking and managing exact configurations of products already shipped to customer enables a business to quickly review product information to resolve issues with production, warranties and product recalls. This process enables customer satisfaction and retention through endless support and maintenance activities. In order to track each unit, the unit tracking solution should have the following:

-Solution to manage the As-Built BOM

-Unit Part Marking for tracking purpose

-Lot Support

-Unit Tracking and Allocation

Are there any other Collaborative Business Processes or PLM related processes missing over here? Do post in your views or comments right away !

Best Regards, Ajit

Categories: Perspectives