"Pursuing the Promise of Product Lifecycle Management"
Practical PLM Newsletter - Issue 5, April 2016
IN THIS ISSUE
- ACE 2016 Recap - Recap of the Aras Community Event, 2016
- Business - Building on a House of Cards
- Best Practices - Wrangling Engineering Change Orders
- Application - Aras’ Change Management and Impact Matrix
- Learning - ACE 2016 Sessions Listing and Upcoming Webinars
Aras Community Event (ACE) 2016
"Customer Stories and Accessible Thought Leadership Highlight this Year’s Event"
Innovation without Limitations
Aras just concluded their annual Aras Community Event (ACE) last month in Detroit, Michigan. The two and a half-day event was packed with a combination of compelling customer stories, thought leadership, updates/roadmap for the Aras Innovator PLM solution, and practical and relevant implementation insights. The uptick over last year’s attendance coupled with the addition of 32 new partners from around the globe, reinforces Aras as a disruptive player in the traditional PLM landscape.
Peter Schroer, President and CEO of Aras, kicked off the event. He based his comments on conversations he had with customers and prospects over the past year, and what this means for Aras and its responsibility in the community. His comments completely set the tone for the balance of the conference. It was an open-palms conversation about what Aras is doing and needs to do to continue helping organizations drive business value and results.
An important and notable nuance separates Peter’s opening comments from past conferences we have attended. He sidestepped the often one-sided glowing declarations about “look at all the good things we have done this year” coupled with oracles of lofty and grandiose visions that can make one feel completely out of sync with the PLM vendor. He did just the opposite. There was a sense that Peter was in the trenches with you while guiding Aras to achieve both the near and long-term needs of its customers and prospects. He doesn’t have to toot the horn – growth in customer adoption speaks for itself.
Reviewing the Past and Defining the Future
John Sperling, VP Product Management, highlighted the product milestones accomplished over the past year. There were several noteworthy releases such as Manufacturing Process Planning, Quality Management, Technical Documentation and Visual Collaboration. He then set the stage for the coming year identifying releases scheduled for the Supplier Portal module, upgrades to Manufacturing Process Planning and several ongoing updates for many of the other modules. The takeaway is that Aras is working hard to extend its reach across the enterprise.
Sandwiched between the opening and closing events was a full agenda of sessions. They detailed newly released product capabilities, practical insights as to how best to take advantage of the Aras Innovator platform and Agile-oriented implementation best practices. The thought leadership focused on the concepts of Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Examining the Internet of Things
Simon Floyd of Microsoft kicked off the second day with his keynote addressing “The Impact of IoT on Product Design.” His narrative wove together the remarkable speed with which connectivity and communications have evolved and how this has affected a manufacturer of aircraft engines. Over the past couple of decades, the number of engine sensors has multiplied and the resulting data produced have increased by orders of magnitude. By capturing data in nearly real-time, the engine manufacturer can drive greater insights into maintenance considerations and scheduling as well as to establish a feedback loop into the design and engineering processes.
He emphasized that the product lifecycle doesn’t conclude with MRO activities in the field. Rather, the significant opportunity is to apply the derived data for continuous improvement efforts. In other words, he painted a picture of a full-circle lifecycle of activities. Simon also identified the Aras Innovator platform as a way to support the data and as a mechanism to drive feedback into the design and engineering processes. That was a compelling argument as to why manufacturers need to design post-delivery feedback capabilities into their products. A few conference attendees commented later that it was one of the most coherent presentations on IoT and its relevance to the design and engineering processes.
Exploring other Developments
The Aras community is clearly interested in extending the presence and value of PLM throughout their organizations. Aras answered this desire with two sessions that spoke to the concepts of MBSE. For another critical application, Aras is working towards extending the BOM into a logical structure on the design end of the lifecycle spectrum and out to the physical structure supporting product obsolescence at the other end. To accomplish this goal, Aras is capitalizing on lessons learned from the software development industry and Applications Lifecycle Management (ALM). The terms “digital thread” and “digital twin” reinforce this approach.
Another session augmented this presentation by addressing the treatment of options and variants that will be essential to pushing PLM into the sales side of the business.
Customers made a number of presentations providing experiences and insights that are an important and vital part of the Aras community. Airbus, BAE Systems, and Mersen were among those that shared their stories. Mersen talked about their selection process needs to improve collaboration across their global operations, facilitate the automated “push” of content to their e-commerce website and eliminate several vertical silos of processes and data. It turned out that Mersen expanded the scope beyond their original expectations as they discovered the breadth and flexibility of the Aras solution.
Wrapping it Up
A concluding session, “In the Round,” was a unique format not very often seen: Peter and Rob McAveney, Chief Architect, encircled by the attendees … a boxing ring motif. It was an open forum, an unstructured format that encouraged questions and comments from attendees. The general tone of the session reinforced the community’s appreciation for the approach that Aras has taken along with expressing interests in a number of down-stream capabilities.
Aras is the fastest growing PLM supplier in the market today for good reason. The trifecta of notable factors is 1) a company culture steeped in being in the trenches with its customers, 2) delivering a well-architected, flexible and scalable platform, and 3) watching the customer’s interest with its roadmap and accessible thought leadership. The past year in many ways was a tipping point brought on by this trifecta. ACE 2016 set the stage for what looks to be an exciting and breakthrough year.
A listing of the presentations and access are provided in the Learning section below.
Building on a House of Cards
PLM Underground and the insidious cost of doing nothing
“Our processes just evolved, and now we’re cornered.” We’ve heard this and similar sentiment numerous times. It’s completely understandable. We all get so busy. There are orders to process and get products out the door. Who has time to be intentional? Any way, it seems to do the job for now.
Earlier this year, Peter Schroer, President of Aras, called this the PLM Underground. Effectively, companies have established their “plm” (in little letters) environment using email, elaborate spreadsheets, undocumented file folder structures and culturally developed processes. All this is in response to “how do I deal with all this data” rather than “how can we drive business value.”
Staying “As-is” invariably adds more to an evolving, cobbled collection of precariously assembled components, that is, the house of cards. This process is not sustainable.
But, like most things in our lives, pain is a catalyzer.
So let’s park on the pain (sounds like a group therapy session). What symptoms might be the catalyzers?
- scrap and rework driving up the cost of goods
- delays in shipping and meeting customer expectations
- discouraged employees who are trying to bridge the gaps, but don’t think management cares
The above conditions have direct and indirect costs associated with them. So, now it boils down to a cost-benefit analysis. We would challenge anyone reading this to dig deeper. If you don’t have P&L responsibilities, then elevate it to someone who does. If you have P&L responsibilities, then the action is in your court. Now you know.
Wrangling Engineering Change Orders
Learn about streamlining your ECO process and “living” document management
Earlier this month, Desktop Engineering published an article by Brian Albright that provides a refreshing perspective on a familiar topic – engineering change. Albright suggests that many of the strategies and techniques used to manage engineering change (EC) are quickly becoming obsolete due to increasing product complexity and market demands. While this concept is not new, the article looks at the root causes of this issue and explores actionable solutions.
The urgency of the problem is highlighted by thoughts and comments from industry experts and day-to-day EC practitioners. These perspectives represent a range of organizations, including Arena, M-Files, Omnify, Oracle, Synergis and others. It quickly becomes clear that a new approach to information management – whether it be PDM, ECM, or PLM – is key to modernizing EC. However, Albright is careful to avoid picking sides. Despite this impartial analysis, PLM seems to break away from the pack.
Streamlining EC and “living” EC are key themes throughout the article. Broadly speaking, streamlining EC leverages automation to guide change process as a way to eliminate human error and delay. This can include automating escalation rules, using notification triggers, executing workflows, incorporating audit trails, capitalizing on impact matrix analysis, and dynamically identifying stakeholders. If implemented correctly, streamlining can produce “living” EC. In the case of a “living” ECO, the ECO will evolve as the documents and entities associated with it change. It’s a powerful concept that can dramatically improve traceability and access to information.
Read the article here.
Aras’ Change Management and Impact Matrix
An Interview with Dave Ewing of Aras (conducted in October 2015)
I have always thought of change management as the heart of an engineering/manufacturing environment. Give us a quick overview of the change management application.
The change management application breaks into three parts. There is our CMII compliant change package that is the most comprehensive. It includes the PR, ECR and ECN processes which are typical industry standards. We also have a midline called the Express package that includes the ECO, DCO and something new called the EDR. And finally, we have a simplified version that moves the change process along much more rapidly.
An important enhancement we just released is the Impact Matrix. The current tool gives users the ability to see the impact of their proposed change. So, if they were releasing say a part, they would be able to see the possible impact on other parts or assemblies. With our upgrade they could also see what models, drawings, and/or documents might be affected. Instead of a user having to dig through the various relationships, the Impact Matrix does that work to help the user make a decision.
Does this also translate into routings or the workflow? In addition to understanding impact, would the Impact Matrix also identify the owners that should be included in the workflow?
All of our change items include workflows that may be customized. The way that our ECO authoring process works is that when you create your ECO, you can assign a team to the review process. One of the things that we have added to the Impact Matrix is the idea that as you add impacted items, you can group them, and we then spawn child or subordinate changes to the ECO called EDRs. These are only created from the ECO and are a change item created for CAD Documents or Documents. The EDRs have their own lifecycle that is connected to the ECO. Meaning the ECO actually manages the closure of the EDRs to ensure nothing gets out of order.
We touched on some of the benefits of this kind of a solution. In effect, it saves someone from having to hunt through a list to figure out all these relationships. Any other benefits that you want to point out?
I think you hit the nail on the head. The biggest benefit that we were driving was from the user perspective in that it takes care of a lot of the project management associated with changes. The example I use is if you are releasing one subsystem of a product, you might have a number of parts that relates to a number of drawings and a number of CAD parts and it turns into a number of documents. Now you can wrap those under one ECO umbrella and have a number of EDR’s for the groups of similar documents, models, etc. However, you want to send those through the system – with a single EDR or many - it takes care of the project management and lets Innovator handle it for you instead.
So from a practical standpoint, getting something like this available, talk briefly about some of the prerequisites an organization might want to have in place before activating this component?
First, this component comes right of the box with our open software version. You don’t have to be a subscriber for this code. What I would recommend is to look through your change and configuration management processes. Give them a critical look and make sure you understand what is going on. In that way, as you implement Innovator, you are able to determine if you need to make changes to our out of the box process. You may say, “Hey, what ARAS Innovator offers out of the box is perfect.“ The bottom line is we have focused on helping users get up and running as fast as possible.
Let’s briefly look at the symptoms associated with opportunities. What words might an organization use, or statements they might express, that a tool like this would have relevance in their organization?
Any of the synonyms for “impact” would be the triggers. This can include trying to understand the cost associated with a change. Impact in the “where used” and “composed of” relationships. And so on. If a customer were struggling with managing many changes and keeping their product configurations in order, I think our tool will help.
Practical PLM Webinar Series Part 3: A Unified Approach to PLM that Extends Beyond Engineering - April 15-17, 2016
During our last webinar (Practical PLM Webinar Series Part 2), we looked at strategies for developing a “PLM beachhead” that drives 80% of the value with 20% of the effort. This tactic was chiefly concerned with driving efficiency and value at early stages of an implementation. Part 3 expands on these implementation strategies by identifying the functional areas of PLM within the broader enterprise.
Join us as we define the broad and evolving functional scope of PLM. The traditional domain of PLM is no longer confined to engineering … it now extends into all functions from sales to services. This scope has implications for how PLM’s functionality is modularized, how people access information and how data is stored and integrated.
What will I learn in this webinar?
- the direction PLM is evolving toward
- the functional areas of PLM
- how can my organization extend the value of PLM beyond engineering
Click here to register for the April 15th webinar.
Aras Community Event (ACE) 2016 – Looking Back
Summaries, Slides and More Are Now Available
Below is a listing of the various presentations conducted at ACE last month. All of these are now available here.
- Aras Community Update 2016
- Aras Vision and Roadmap 2016
- Client Technology Directions
- Enterprise Agile Deployment
- MBSE and the Business of Engineering
- Strategic BOM Management
- Techniques for Gathering Agile Requirements
- What’s New from Aras
- Beyond ECAD Connectors
- How to Configure Tech Docs
- Manufacturing Process Planning
- Making Users More Productive with Enterprise Search
- Quality Planning for Product Risk Management
- Quality Systems
- Supplier Exchange Portal
- Technical Documentation for Technical Publications
- The Power of Self Service Reporting
- Understanding the New Content Modeling Framework
- Variant Management
- What’s New in Visual Collaboration
- Architecting Design Development Test Request System in Aras - Carlisle Brake
- Ecommerce Needs Aras Product Information - Mersen
- Impact of loT on Product Design - Microsoft
- Implementing PLM in Prepared Foods industry - Valley Fine Foods
- lT Sizing for Aras on Azure Hybrid or On Site Deployments – CloudSAFE
- Mission Ready PLM - BAE Systems
- New Approaches to ALM PLM Cross Discipline Product Development - Airbus & IBM
- Product Line Engineering Meets PLM - Biglever
- Racing for the Flexibility Integrating Aras into the Landscape – Akrapovic
- Simulation Data Management - Ansys
- Soaring to New Heights with a PDM Light Backbone - Airbus
- The PLM Journey of Justifying Change with Strategic Vision – Parata
Get up to Speed with the Previous Webinar Recording
Part 2: Creating a “PLM Beachhead” That Drives 80% of the Value with 20% of the Effort - Conducted February 19, 2016
Description: Industry analysts and pundits continue to propose that PLM is entering a “Golden Age.” When one considers the factors at play such as globalization, platformization, the IoT, interdependent supply chains, the digitization of data, cross-functional business automation, regulatory pressure and the increasingly impatient consumer, to just name a few, it does seem to be a perfect storm for PLM.
The need for competitiveness and innovation (that is sustainable) has never been greater. However, if the value is so great and the pundits are right, why is PLM underutilized by most organizations? Put simply, the promise of PLM is intimidating and people don’t know where to start.
Just because PLM can do everything, doesn’t mean is should… especially when starting out. Far too many consultants and service providers are happy to help you find the end of the PLM rainbow when in reality 80% of the value is driven by 20% of a solution’s functional scope. How can this “20%” be found before time and money are wasted. Join Martin van der Roest and equip yourself to be strategic and intentional about where you create your company’s “PLM beachhead” while creating a foundation that will extend value throughout the enterprise.
Watch the Recording here.
This Practical PLM newsletter is authored and edited by The vdR Group, Inc. (vdR) along with contributions from selected partners. It is scheduled to be published the second Tuesday of every month. Delivery dates may vary depending on holidays.
Your editors are Martin van der Roest and Dick Bourke. We welcome your comments/questions. You can direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. If applicable, we will respond in a following newsletter.
Our mission is to help engineering/manufacturing companies achieve the promise of product lifecycle management (PLM). We do this by exploring practical action steps that drive business value and that yield measurable revenue contributions and reduced expenses.
PLM is a combination of business strategies, best practices and technology. Hence, this monthly newsletter looks at business drivers, processes, along with considerations for various technologies.
The Aras PLM platform is a cornerstone of this trifecta. Aras is the fast growing PLM vendor today. The vdR Group is a full-service partner of Aras.
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