Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (1954) (Andy Warhol, 1986)

Tesla: Making Cars is Hard to Do

By | Automotive, Manufacturing | 2 Comments

Tesla Struggles to Ramp Up Manufacturing Volume, With Unintended Consequences

Ramping up an auto manufacturing line is difficult. For a newcomer, reaching efficient and lean operation at the level of Toyota and GM is extremely challenging. And, as I pointed out in the past, Tesla’s ongoing manufacturing woes are a painful proof.

In 2010, Tesla acquired the Fremont, CA NUMMI manufacturing plant previously owned jointly by General Motors and Toyota for a $42 million bargain basement deal. When I visited the Fremont plant a while ago, my host was especially proud of the junkyard price the company paid for two huge Schuler hydraulic stamping presses, which form the largest line in North America and the 6th largest in the world.

What Tesla didn’t get as part of the deal is knowledge and experience in complex manufacturing. Read More

At The Optometrist (Norman Rockwell, 1956)

OpenText Acquires Covisint: A Telltale of the IoT M&A Market

By | Automotive, Internet of Things, M&A | No Comments

In an announcement that failed to get headlines, OpenText, a Canadian enterprise information management (EIM) company,  recently disclosed it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Covisint Corporation, best known as the enterprise data interchange (EDI) company whose name nobody was sure how to pronounce.

Covisint was formed in 2000 by a consortium of automotive companies, including General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler. Over the years, the company expanded its EDI platform and services into the healthcare, oil and gas, government, and financial services markets. Read More

Dunes, Oceano (Edward Weston, 1936)

Leading by Example: Technology Companies Help Save Scarce Water Resources

By | Cloud Computing, Internet of Things | One Comment

This cup of steamy coffee you are sipping from right now while reading this article—how much water do you think was used to make it? You probably guessed it took a more than just 8 ounces of water, but I doubt you got even close to the actual number.  According to Trucost, a company that provides sustainability data, it takes some 135 liters of water to make one cup of coffee (since we just switched to metric units, one 8-oz cup is 0.25 of a liter).  Most of this water was used to grow the coffee beans and soak them during processing.

And it’s not only food processing that uses vast quantities of water. By Trucost’s calculations, about 3,900 liters of water are consumed during the manufacturing of a single t-shirt. And nearly 13 tons of water are required to manufacture a single smartphone, with nearly half of it due to pollution and cleanup during manufacturing and assembly. Read More

Decalcomanie (Rene Magritte, 1996)

IoT is PLM

By | Internet of Things, PLM | No Comments

Is IoT The New PLM?

At the recent LiveWorx technology conference, PTC’s CEO Jim Heppelmann stated “IoT is PLM.” An observation some of us, and, I believe, Mr. Heppelmann himself, have made before. This notion is more profound than some may realize.

Despite the capital ‘L’ of PLM, many product companies do not actually exercise product lifecycle management. Many PLM software systems are reduced to PDM and engineering change management.  In his comments to industry analysts, Mr. Heppelmann observed: “Nobody, not just PTC, is doing product lifecycle management. You build a car, the car leaved the factory and you never hear about it again.”

Connected products offer visibility and insight that most organizations never had before. Read More

The Knight At The Tower (Salvador Dali, 1932)

Are ERP Companies Missing The Big IoT Opportunity?

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy | 6 Comments

With PTC’s LiveWorx, arguably the largest industrial Internet of Things event around, behind us, it is worthwhile to observe how enterprise software companies are seizing the opportunity to unleash the potential of the IoT.  But rather than looking at industrial IoT companies such as PTC, GE or Siemens, let’s look at ERP companies, for example, SAP.

In an article titled How IoT Data From Every ‘Thing’ Can Grow Your Business, published by SAP, the author states “Smart products, assets and always-on things have provided us with access to unparalleled amounts of information.”

This is, of course, the mainstream view and the promise of the Internet of Things, where always-connected smart devices emit torrents of rich data that enables new and highly optimized business processes and customer engagement models.

But this thinking, as broad as it may appear, overlooks some key components of enterprise IoT. Read More