Defining PLM - 7 Critical 'Must Have' Capabilities - Part 1
Although the definition of PLM will still cause a lot of debate, we believe that there's little doubt about the exact components that make up a successful PLM solution. A PLM solution that lacks even one of these critical capabilities should be questioned as a viable option.
- Document Management
- Embedded Visualisation
- Distributed Collaboration
- Multi-CAD Data Management
- Complete BOM Management (MCAD, ECAD, and software content in a single structure)
- Change and Configuration Management
We will discuss each of these seven capabilities in a little more detail over the current and next couple of blog posts.
PLM Capability #1: Document Management
As a "must have" PLM component, Document Management provides the capabilities to store, track, control and share information - whether represented as drawings, graphics, or text - and deliver it as final documentation in any format such as downloadable designs and manufacturing specifications, printed product guides, web based training manuals, and interactive service information.
Document Management Technology within a PLM solution enables stakeholders to:
- Quickly and easily search/retrieve critical, up-to-date product information electronically via a centrally located data repository, by applying multiple categorisations; information can be stored in a single instance and referenced in a multitude of ways
- Achieve better control of document distribution; information-profiling enables automatic notification when desired automation is located, and provides access to authorised users only
- Improve security and disaster-recovery operations; central-system storage with backup and archiving functionality protects information from inappropriate user access or disaster-induced damager
- Enhance regulatory compliance; security controls, audit trails, archiving functionality, and disaster recovery operations ensure that the authenticity of stored information can be verified and validated to meet government and industry based requirements.
PLM Capability #2: Embedded Visualisation
Effective management and development of a product's BOM throughout its lifecycle requires that design-related content always be readily accessible. Since cost and time-to-market are largely determined relatively early in the product development process, it's vital that the digital data and product representations be reviewed and approved by all stakeholders before committing to tooling and prototype development.
To make this happen, a PLM solution must provide generous visualisation capabilities that enable collaboration on a multitude of centrally organised product information types (e.g. CAD files, PDFs, and MS Office documents) across both mechanical and electrical disciplines.
Embedded Visualisation capabilities must allow all stakeholders to easily access digital product content - WITHOUT requiring the native authoring application. An underlying, web based, scalable environment must support a range of customer needs, spanning simple desktop viewing single CAD models to interactive evaluation of massive digital mockups. In addition, visualisation capabilities, must enable stakeholders to markup the content and collaborate on it in real time, as well as accurately measure, section, and compare 3D models, and assemble parts and complex product structures.
By sharing visual information throughout the company and leveraging it in these ways, stakeholders can gain insights that foster earlier, more effective decision-making for improved organisational productivity and reduced process cycle times.