PLM (Vendors) and Lean Product Development-Part 3: Siemens PLM Software

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After talking about Dassault Systèmes in Part 2 of this blog series, I’d like to move to another prominent player in the product lifecycle management (PLM) field—Siemens PLM Software. In this blog post, I will give my personal interpretations about the major relevancies between Siemens PLM’s offerings and lean product development (LPD).

My first impression of Siemens PLM is the comprehensiveness of its product offerings. The company provides both PLM tools (e.g., computer-aided design [CAD], digital manufacturing, and simulation) and PLM (i.e., collaborative Product Definition management [cPDm]). Also, Teamcenter is one of the few PLM solutions that provide the broadest functionality coverage I have seen. In addition, Some Teamcenter capabilities (such as sourcing and maintenance) show the company’s attempt to expand support to a wider range of business processes. A broader functional coverage of a PLM system allows more parties in an organization to be involved within one system thus provides a possibility to increase the efficiency of the product development processes. Besides this general impression, the following two elements are the most significant ones that relate Siemens PLM to LPD.

Complexity Reduction

Although “lean” is not only about waste reduction, reducing unnecessary use of resources and non-value-added activities is an explicit starting point that many organizations choose for their LPD initiatives. Within the product development process, many types of waste are rooted in the complexity of today’s products. Product complexity makes the coordination of and collaboration amongst different engineering disciplines (e.g., mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, and software engineering) a hectic area in product development.

In his keynote speech at PLM Road Map 2009 , Chuck Grindstaff (Chief Technical Officer [CTO] and Executive Vice President [EVP], Products at Siemens PLM Software) laid out two major approaches to reduce complexity.

1) Product Platform: Using product platform to reduce the proportion of uniquely engineered content of a product.

2) System Engineering: “System engineering coupled with analytics and value engineering can contribute significantly to complexity reduction”, as Grindstaff said during his speech.

PLM Analytics

Analytics remains a relatively quiet area in the PLM field because most PLM adopters are still focusing on improving immediate product design and development productivity. However, if being “lean” in product development has become a priority, PLM analytics is something organizations should consider (see Product, Project, Process, and People: The Four Ps of PLM Analytics to find how PLM analytics can help PLM user organizations develop better products, improve the product development process, increase operational efficiency, and better measure employee performance).

Siemens is one of the few PLM vendors in the market that clearly states the availability of PLM analytics in their offerings. The Reporting and Analytics module of Teamcenter provides data aggregation capabilities, life cycle reporting capabilities, open data framework and advanced wizards for analytic purposes within users’ PLM environment.

I have to admit that Siemens PLM is one of the few vendors that are making noticeable efforts in linking PLM and LPD. The aforementioned elements don’t make an exhaustive list - there are more for you to discover on your own.
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