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PLM

Another America (Robert Weingarten, 2014)

Technology Evaluation the Amish Way

By | Innovation | No Comments

I spend a good amount of time reviewing technology and business innovations, and helping companies define, measure and articulate the value of new products and business models. Most of these interactions are exciting and challenging, as many of these new ideas are highly creative and demonstrate a serious attempt to create value for businesses, improve the quality of life of individuals and communities, and protect the environment.

On the other hand, too many of these innovations can be categorized simply as frivolous and wasteful, of the type that grabs headlines at the annual CES gathering but go nowhere and end up at top of the junk heap.

But telling the promising from the pointless, and the useful from the wasteful, isn’t always easy. It is certainly challenging to explain to a young bright-eyed and bushy-tailed entrepreneur why his idea may be “cool” but offers no meaningful value.

An old NPR podcast from 2013 about the Amish community triggered some musings about discovering and establishing the value of technology innovation. Read More

Magic Mirror (M.C. Escher, 1946)

Recharging Your PLM Investment

By | IT Strategy, PLM | One Comment

What Does the ‘L’ in PLM Stand For?

Many product companies that use product lifecycle management software do not manage to reach the full potential of the concept and exploit the power of the software.  Often, the engineering department merely uses PLM product data management (PDM) tools as the system of record, and as a central repository of product design changes. But these only scratch the surface of toady’s very capable PLM software tools.

A long-promised, but frequently under-delivered, the principle of PLM has been the ability to frontload key product-related decisions such that design engineers can incorporate key capabilities and considerations concerning downstream activities such as manufacturing and service. Later, as the product continues down the path and goes into production and deployment, the PLM software provides feedback that informs upstream processes about manufacturing quality, warranty issues, and field service operations. These, in turn, enable a continuous quality and product improvement process throughout the product’s life, all the way to its decommission and retirement. This is the ‘L’ in PLM; at least, this is the intent.

Why do some product organizations struggle to implement this notion and to incorporate downstream considerations during early design stages and thereafter? Read More

Cut The Line (Thomas Hart Benton, 1944)

Ecosystems and Platforms: Getting Value from the Internet of Things

By | Internet of Things, PLM | One Comment

Everything and Everyone Is connected

The Internet of Things is upon us. We are entering a world in which everyone and everything is connected and immersed in information: creating, sharing and consuming vast amounts of data. And the idea of billions of intelligent connected “things” chatting with each other continues to fascinate us and fuels a barrage of breathless headlines about smart connected devices that are about to change society and industry irreversibly.

But if you stop to think about it for a second, you should ask yourself: What is the true business value those millions of connected devices promise? How to do we define and measure this value? And what do we need to do in order to harvest this potential? Read More

Charlie Chaplin in "Modern Times" (1936)

Design for Manufacturing: If You Don’t Have Time to Do It Right, When Will You Have Time to Do It Over?

By | Manufacturing, PLM | No Comments

The High Cost of Manufacturing Errors

High costs of rework and scrap plague many manufacturing organizations across all industries and product lines. And the list of root causes—and, quite commonly, excuses and finger pointing—can be bewildering.

Most commonly, manufacturing blunders that result in rework, tool damage, and scrap are the outcome of poor design for assembly and manufacturing.

But quite often, manufacturing setbacks are caused by human errors, omissions, and plain misunderstandings in the process of transitioning a new product from design to manufacturing.

Other organizational ills, such as poor maintenance practices of manufacturing assets, unmotivated employees, and poor quality management, can add to the problem.

No matter the root cause, the impact of rework and scrap can be overwhelming, especially when a problem is discovered only when the organization is already in full volume production. About half of the causes for rework are discovered during ramp-up time, resulting in design or process changes that cascade to several design or manufacturing activities, and impact work in progress, inventory and supplier contacts, and are highly disruptive and resource intensive. Read More

The Great Wave off Kanagawa (Katsushika Hokusai, 1832)

Digital Disruption: Shaping the Future of the Auto Industry

By | Automotive, Mergers & Acquisitions, PLM | No Comments

Industry in Turmoil

Automakers have been keeping a steady pace of technology innovation and manufacturing excellence for over a century. Since the breakthrough of the highly efficient assembly line, auto manufacturers were in the forefront of engineering innovation, designing and building cars that were successively better, safer and cleaner. For many decades, the industry has been at the center of the US economic development, and, to many, an industrial and social icon.

But over the past decade or so, the iconic and seemingly stable industry has been in turmoil. It has been undergoing massive changes caused by the cumulative effect of rapid technology innovation, disruptive business models, aggressive new competitors, and an emerging supply chain ecosystem whose full impact is not fully comprehended yet.

One of the most profound changes the auto industry is grappling with is the emergence of connected and autonomous cars. Most industry visionaries and practitioners portray a bold vision of a future in which cars, occupants, and cloud-based information and control systems communicate and exchange information in the omnipresent Internet of Things cloud. Cars are becoming part of the Internet, or, in today’s parlance, they are yet additional, if unconventional, “things” in the Internet of Things (IoT). Read More