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Design Tasks On Smart Phones Or Tablets – Foreseeing An Evolution !

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Foreseeing Design Evolution

Can you imagine a car design engineer designing a car on a smart phone or a tablet? In the current situation the answer might be an obvious “No” for smart phones and “May be – Yes” for a tablet. Well, in 2011 – it might sound antic and little complicated stuff to perform design tasks on smart phones but can we ever do it in the future? This struck my mind when I heard about Facebook launching apps after apps for mobile device users. A big question is how fast can the PLM vendors adopt a similar strategy or do they really have to do something similar? Facebook might be trying to reach out to the majority consumers and tapping it’s users from every walk of life and this strategy may not hold good for the PLM world fully. Unlike Facebook company, the PLM vendors might have a slightly varied vision here – their focus would be to concentrate more on the PLM users such as Design Engineers, Program Managers, Product Managers, etc., we see that these set of people belong to a class of skilled workers. This might be an uphill task for the PLM vendors and I’m sure the PLM vendors might be finding it extremely difficult to convert all the heavy weight applications to something light which could be run on mobile devices and not compromising on the outcome. I am reckoning if someday full-fledged CAD apps would be made available on smart phones. To some extent all the collaboration tasks that are currently accomplished through  via desktop/laptops over the internet can be seen replaced by light weight apps on smart phones someday soon. This success would eventually provide a lot of flexibility for the PLM users particularly the collaboration software users.

At present my thoughts are mixed and some of the foremost pros I could count on right now are  –

1.PLM users could work from any remote location – Design Anywhere Manufacture Anywhere
2.Lesser space required on the shop floor or wherever PLM is currently used

Also, it would gradually create a never before process where in the PLM users would find it handy and have all the freedom to verify the physical unit manufactured by comparing it with the virtual design thereby reducing the use of several resources such as papers for printing.

There could be some less likely disadvantages aswell and the foremost could be Usability – at first instance it would be difficult for the human mind to welcome the compactness or smallness of the smart phone as a design platform but over a period of time and also provided that we see some great advancement in smartphone technology the human mind would atempt to give a try and adopt it naturally.

I’m not sure how many PLM implementing organisations would also see this as a security issue but someone definetely would be interested in foreseeing an evolution and I’m eagerly waiting to see this drastic change in the PLM world happen soon and would be very interested to find out more and be updated.

Your views on this might be different and appreciate if you could type in your perspectives in the form of a comment here or provide a few references to a similar topic on the internet.

Best Regards, Ajit Kini

Categories: Perspectives

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

-Stages/Gates/Tasks

-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

-Variants

-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

-Subscriptions

-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

-Negotiation

-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

-Reporting

-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

Open PLM Standards: An Industrial Emergency

August 30, 2010 1 comment

Despite non-stop rains over the weekend in Pune, it was a happy weekend for me because we unexpectedly purchased a new Philips home theatre system for a very meager amount.We have a 21 inch Videocon LCD TV which had an average sound quality.To enhance the sound experience we decided for a home theater system.To our surprise we got a really cheap and affordable home theater system at a nearby super market. During the installation one thing stroked my mind was about the flexibility with which these 2 different products from 2 different vendors worked with absolutely no glitches. I was just wondering a day when Siemen’s NX solutions worked with Dassault Systems ENOVIA solution with no glitches or the CATIA unified with Teamcenter. If we closely observe the reason why Videocon and Philips work together may give the PLM vendors an answer to most of the manufacturing worlds interoperability issues.

According to my perspective,One of the foremost reasons why Philips home theater works with Videocon TV is because both these vendors follow common electronic standards.

“A electronic standard is generally a documented agreement, established by a consensus of industry experts and approved by a recognized body,that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics to ensure that certain materials, products, and processes are fit for their purpose. In many cases, standards in electronic industry are voluntary. However,voluntary consensus standards developed by industry are often subsequently adopted by the governments as part of the regulatory framework. The state laws also establish some mandatory electrical characteristics such as those related to energy efficiency and power consumption.”

Open PLM Standards

Open PLM Standards

Its high time the PLM world adopts certain standards to solve many such industry issues by cultivating a Live and Let Live attitude and having some PLM standards,rules, guidelines to ensure that the different Business Process Applications talk well with each other regardless of its origin.

So do you agree the PLM world requires  a governing body to solve the related issues of industrial worlds? Do post your views.

Best Regards, Ajit

Categories: Perspectives

Driving the technology @ 128km/h

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

On a Monday afternoon at work I received a well informative forward from one of my friend about the auto expo 2010 which has made huge news in India so far. Having no automobile aesthetics I kept wondering on a small excerpt in the mail. It read as follows:

The 100 percent battery powered vehicle is powered by a 55Kw motor that produces 140Nm of torque and is capable of propelling the car to a top speed of 128km/h.

This news about the the new Tata Indica Electrical Vehicle sounds fantastic but a typical consumer with a little questioning attitude would ask what does it really mean ! !? The consumer accepts the new model based on an interpretation that the car is an electric vehicle hence can avoid the gas station and secondly he can travel at 128km/h and thirdly the economics.

Tata Indica EV

Tata Indica EV @ Auto Expo 2010

But what really had gone into developing a car of this acceptable standard?

Answer: To my opinion its the Consumer himself  and few key technology drivers!

To bestow the car to such an acceptable standard, the primary key technology drivers would be a good requirements capturing system blended with a creative car configurator available 24/7 over an online system for the consumer as well as the sales representative.

Dassault Systemes, a world PLM leader and a Software Innovator has some offerings in this arena. Discover the detailed V6 Portfolio – Governance section for more details.

Do post your comments if you have used any of the Dassault Systemes products for requirements capturing or configuring the product across any industry verticals.

Regards, Ajit

Categories: Perspectives

Customers are from Mars and Software Developers are from Venus

December 14, 2009 2 comments

The software world attempts to innovate to simplify the lives of individuals allied to the industrial world.

The CATCH – Often, the Customers are from Mars and Software Developers are from Venus gives rise to the GAP factor.

The GAP – The biggest challenge the software solution providers or software product development companies in particular often face today is to reduce the GAP between these two different worlds, customers and the actual software developers.

Perspectives is my straight dive into the industrial world. Through this blog and my focussed research, I hope to interact and network with Industry Experts/Thought Leaders/Solution Architects-Consultants-Pre-sales/Product Managers/End Users and collectively communicate different perspectives about the industrial world and the software world in an endeavour to reduce the GAP. I am not necessarily an expert on each subject- but I do hold definite views.

I hope this blog turns out to be a one-stop-shop for information buying !

Categories: Perspectives