Practical PLM Newsletter - Issue 12
"Pursuing the Promise of Product Lifecycle Management"
In this Issue
- Trip Report - 2017 Aras Community Event (ACE)
- Featured Article - Part 2 or 2: Fueling the Business of Engineering for Auto Suppliers
- Learning - Upcoming Webinars
The 2017 Aras Community Event (ACE)
By David van der Roest
Event Held March 21-23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee
It’s Tuesday morning, March 21st and the Aras Community Event (ACE) in Nashville is getting underway. Attendees mingled about for breakfast, and early conversation as the opening keynote kickoff was about to begin. As you walk into the meeting center, it’s immediately noticeable that, unlike previous ACE seating arrangements, the seating was organized around roundtables instead of rows of chairs. Aras’ leadership and partners were mixed in throughout the tables and engaging the attendees.
This subtle change in seating embodies the spirit of ACE – community, collaboration and accessibility. The roundtable seating immediately created a feeling of connectedness that continued throughout the week and fueled some of the most productive discussions, idea-sharing and networking that I’ve ever seen at an ACE event or any industry event for that matter.
After a short film recapping the 17-year history of Aras with pictures and interview snippets, Peter Schroer, co-founder and president, took the stage and announced that Tony Affuso has joined Aras’ board of directors.
Anthony (Tony) J. Affuso is a PLM industry luminary and former CEO of Siemens PLM Software. Before Siemens, Tony was the CEO of UGS, who’s solution (Teamcenter) became a leading PLM solution in the automotive and aerospace industries. For more than 20 years, Tony led the growth of UGS from a start-up to a multibillion dollar global company and ultimately to a successful merger into Siemens PLM. In addition to his role on the Aras board, Affuso serves on the board of directors of Symbotic, where he was formerly CEO of the robotics automation company.
After Peter’s warm introduction, Mr. Affuso said, “I was attracted to Aras because of their disruptive technology, open-source customer engagement model, and the fact that their technology has recently been selected over their competitors by several of the world’s leading engineering/manufacturing companies. Additionally, I have been equally impressed with Aras’ customer-first mentality – a culture that I have always passionately believed in and one that I see across the Aras leadership team.”
Affuso continued by saying, “We are seeing a resurgence in the demand for PLM as manufacturers are dealing with increased product complexity and the digital transformation of their business to achieve new levels of efficiency and competitiveness. Manufacturers are re-evaluating their systems infrastructure and investing in new capability such as the Aras ‘Digital Thread’ that enables full life-cycle traceability of their products. Based on all the factors I am seeing, Aras is emerging as the new PLM leader with the right technology at the right time.”
Following Tony’s remarks, Peter Schroer reinforced Tony’s credibility by reminding the audience that “…Tony brings a depth of customer knowledge and insight that is just unmatched in the industry. He has seen PLM evolve from the early days of mechanical CAD to the systems engineering era that Aras enables. As a board member, he will play a key role guiding our course and deepening our connections as we continue to redefine the industry’s expectations of PLM.”
The mutual respect and shared urgency to see Aras’ vision of PLM come to fruition energized the room and set the tone for the rest of the event.
There appeared to be an uptick in attendance this year despite, for the first-time, a conference fee to attend. The audience seemed well represented by current subscribers, open users, prospects and partners. And, as Tony observed earlier, it’s the open users that make this community unique in the PLM space. Unlike other vendors, Aras makes the subset of its Innovator platform available at no cost. Open users are inherently resourceful, and this was evidenced by some of the innovative applications that were discussed and shared.
What also emerged during ACE was the messaging of Aras Innovator as a platform serving the broader subject of the “business of engineering.” They are breaking out of the traditional mold and characterization of PLM. It’s almost as if the term “PLM” seems to constrain the possibilities and opportunities for managing a full range of life cycle activities.
Introduction – Summary of Part 1
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we began by discussing how a perfect storm for inefficiencies and risk has been brewing – especially for automotive suppliers. We identified the quoting phase and its related processes and activities as a key source of this risk as visualized by Figure 1. Part 1 further drilled into these risks and distilled the challenges into three root causes:
- disconnected data and their associated applications
- manual lifecycle processes
- lack of real-time visibility
This was highlighted by the Data Cohesion and Process Repeatability Quadrant graphic below in Figure 2.
To overcome these challenges, we suggested that a product lifecycle management (PLM) platform be used. In the second part of this series, we’ll explore the value a PLM platform can provide and the specific operational activities that PLM facilitates.
So What Value Does PLM Deliver?
As was noted in Part 1, the strengths of a PLM solution are its ability to establish a single access point for data, facilitate various processes and assemble data to produce insights and visibility. By leveraging these strengths, suppliers will be able to drive efficiencies, optimize reuse and provide real-time insights to critical decision making.
The diagram below (Figure 3) highlights the primary lifecycle of activities that an automotive supplier might engage in.
Inherent in this process is the connectivity of data, support for defined processes and the ability to re-purpose data into meaningful insights and decision-making score cards. Each of these is addressed in more detail below.
Data Connectivity is the Critical First Step
The diagram below illustrates this concept of data connectivity or cohesion. That is, data elements are connected and related, promoting reuse and ease of maintenance.
Given that these data sources are connected and related, users now can traverse and access data that corresponds to a program or quote. The diagram below further explains this concept as it relates to the information related to a part.
In this example, a part is attached to numerous attributes such as costs, purchase costs, and labor. As suggested, these attributes are single instances and can be accessed by other items through their connected relationship. Thus, various calculations and analyses can readily be achieved such as the impact of change on a quote, labor requirements, etc.
Data Reuse Benefits
The very nature of the Advanced Product Quality Planning or (APQP) process is to collect, analyze and assemble a broad range of data. The diagram below illustrates the various documents and data elements that are produced during this process.
Content developed and applied for one stage in a phase can often be reused in subsequent phases. Hence, maintaining selected data items in one place that is then repurposed to other stages, drives significant efficiencies and supports easier maintenance.
Intervention avoidance is another way of emphasizing the importance of process repeatability. Illustrated in the diagram below is the representation of a workflow process developed within the Aras Innovator environment.
The workflow modeling tool can be used to represent an unlimited number of processes. In addition to the graphical elements denoting tasks and routings, there are numerous options to articulate specific tasks assignments, exit options and escalations.
These processes can be thought of as “carriers” to collect, edit and finalize the data that would potentially be reused and repurposed throughout the various stages of the APQP cycle.
Visibility is about feedback and driving insights to support decision making. Within the context of automotive suppliers, this would include key score cards such as program P&Ls, status of program schedules and various key performance indicators (KPIs). Given the connectivity of data and the processes used to ensure accuracy, visibility can be derived on a real-time and on-demand basis.
Mapping PLM to the Automotive Supplier Process
The sales quotation is the headwaters of a program. Errors here will undoubtedly get magnified downstream … especially if products are produced in significant volume. These errors or leakages in profitability notably showing up as increased COGs (scrap, rework, overtime) and operating expenses (reduced efficiencies).
The nature of producing a quotation is to translate customer requirements into proposed product, schedule and cost attributes. Moreover, this “feasibility” exercise determines if it even makes sense to pursue an opportunity. And that feasibility is ultimately assessed in some form of a program P&L. We’ll call it a proforma P&L.
The screen shot below highlights what initiating a quotation might look like.
In addition to capturing key pieces of information, the various “relationships” are shown as tabs in the lower portion of the form. In this example, users have access to quoting history, the proforma P&L, requirements, the parts and bills and so on.
Think “production line.” From the time a quotation opportunity is initiated, multiple parallel processes are activated to collect the data and information needed to produce a quotation and the associated proforma P&L. In effect, a “quotation bill” is established and carries with it all contributing data, calculations and documentation. And, just as a part comes under change control, so would the quotation bill.
During this process, all needed stakeholders participate to address planning, engineering, purchasing, quality and manufacturing considerations. The processes can be comprised of serial or parallel tasks and activities with various exit criteria ranging from weighted voting, overrides and escalation options. The PLM platform would serve as the central repository with secure access based on user roles and rights.
No doubt, multiple quotations are typically prepared and submitted. Maintaining the “quote bill” from the outset, allows suppliers to understand the impact of change as reflected in the pro forma P&L and other derivative reports.
Upon being awarded the proposal, the quotation bill is converted to a “program bill.” The proforma P&L would continue through the lifecycle processes.
Program management tools are an essential component of the PLM platform. As illustrated in the diagram below the various tasks activities of the APQP cycle are illustrated.
The significance of the program management tool is that it is tied to other data elements of the program. This would include such elements as the parts/BOM, tooling, the numerous documents that are processed during the APQP activities and the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) deliverables.
Continue reading this article at the Practical PLM Blog.
Upcoming Webinar - Powering the Business of Engineering for Automotive Suppliers
Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT
Automotive suppliers are continually challenged to stay competitive, optimize efficiencies, and achieve profitability. Learn how leading automotive manufacturers and suppliers are using product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions to manage the business of engineering. We’ll explore how PLM capabilities can orchestrate the full spectrum of activities from the quoting process all the way to production while ensuring process repeatability, collaboration, and unified data access.
Primary Topics Include
- Extend PLM into quoting to boost predictability and customer satisfaction
- Take control of costs with a "living" pro-forma P&L
- Leverage APQP, PPAP and other predefined templates and associated processes linked to designs, tooling, manufacturing process, geo-locations, etc.
- Improve adherence to OEM and industry quality standards such as ISO/TS 16949:2002