PTC Windchill and Creo: 2012 State of Play

Principal TEC Analyst P.J. Jakovljevic is back--and so is his encyclopedic knowledge of all things software. In today's special report, P.J. gives you a comprehensive overview of the latest developments at PTC Windchill, and a look at what lies ahead for its flagship PLM products.

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The role of product lifecycle management (PLM) is to help companies develop the right products with efficient strategies and collective knowledge, according to product performance targets.

The value of PLM, on the other hand, lies in increasing revenue with innovative and tailored products, and increasing profit with efficient use of resources and effective cost controls.

In that light, I believe that the major product-related news from the recent PlanetPTC Live 2012 conference related to the expansion of PTC’s capabilities in the following ways:

  • The integration of PTC Windchill PLM with MKS Integrity (for application lifecycle management [ALM])
  • The addition of 4CS and improvements to Arbortext (for warranty/contract management and technical information management respectively, both part of service lifecycle management [SLM])
  • Enhancements to PTC Windchill Product Analytics—the former Synapsis, and InSight products (for straight-up PLM)
These adjacent standalone PLM capabilities can hook onto any PLM or computeraided design (CAD) system, and seem collectively to be a major growth engine for PTC of late. And they complement the newest release of Creo, PTC’s primary CAD offering, which was also introduced at the event. Indeed, PTC grew by 20 percent last year to $1.2 billion (USD), most likely owing to the add-on sales of these solutions. This approach is somewhat similar to Aras' concept of integrated and federated PLM apps.

Managing Product Performance

As far as product analytics and risk evaluation are concerned, research indicates that 89 percent of companies have no single repository or consistent analytics data for product costs, compliance, etc.

Yet many companies would like to analyze the cost of their products early in the lifecycle (e.g., is there an overall cost benefit if we change this subassembly?), but usually have to wait until the product is ready to be handed off to manufacturing to get an accurate idea of cost.

Of course, discovering a cost concern later in the product lifecycle means much more effort and cost. Some companies try to determine costs early during development with spreadsheets, but (needless to say) this process is laborious, and prone to errors and being based on out-of-date designs.

Windchill Cost, introduced with Windchill 10.0, takes the latest bills of materials (BOMs) defined in Windchill PLM and applies cost to each item in the BOM (cost elements can come from different sources including ERP systems). Now PLM users can:

  • track target and estimated costs throughout the product lifecycle;
  • model and maintain multiple part costs;
  • roll up BOM costs using multiple cost models or configuration specifications;
  • view cost breakdowns for parts and assemblies; and
  • graphically display data in pie charts, line charts, and Pareto charts, and visualize cost risk using Creo View.


Read the full report >>

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