A few thoughts around Future PLM 4.0

Enterprises are faced with an increasingly demanding and challenging global environment.

Today’s highly competitive marketplace demands that innovation be achieved faster and cheaper. To survive and win, manufacturers must be smarter in their delivery by making product design easier, shortening development cycles and reducing costs.

To be successful, your organization must manage its most valuable asset—information—and share it effectively among internal and external teams to design, engineer and manufacture new products.

Wholistic and digitalized Product Lifecycle solutions allow you to capture, share and reuse best practice information throughout your organization—from product design right through to the shop floor—so you can deliver a more innovative product faster and at a significantly lower cost.


Digitalization requires a consistent, interdisciplinary approach for data

continuity from the:

  • Required
  • Designed
  • Ordered
  • Planned
  • Built
  • Delivered
  • Maintained

AKA customer general demand to development/engineering, to customer purchase/order to manufacturing work preparation & planning, manufacturing, shipping/logistics and maintenance.

Over the years, the internet has changed our everyday culture to one of transparency and traceability and this continues on into everyday business, with the focus of value creation in the production industry.

And while many are trying to adapt to ever-increasing product and production complexity, organizations still have a lot to change. With a focus on PLM and ERP, today’s business processes are still heavily dominated by mechanical design and do not take sufficient account of the trend towards smart products and the integration of mechanical, electrical/electronic engineering, software development and service planning.

The support of collaboration with development partners, suppliers as well as up and downstream processes is a core requirement for a PLM of the future.

Ecosystem collaboration

Only about 10 percent of companies, however, have already completely established this process. For the realization of an integrated value chain, organizational silos have to be eliminated as well as process and media related discontinuities are resolved. The legal framework as well as the protection of intellectual property (IP) of process partners must be ensured.

As a result:

  • this organizational change process should be seen in its entirety as part of a digitalization strategy instead of isolated individual initiatives.
  • The stand alone PLM solutions have reached the tipping point, care of product and process complexity.
  • There cannot be the “one” system for the entire processes and domains involved in the product life cycle.
  • PLM architectures must be based on consistent but at the same time expandable master and structural data. They also must be adaptable on independent and flexible processes (for example, ETO, CTO etc.) and organizational structures.
  • Modular products are a precondition for the reutilization of existing modules.

In the modern organizations, almost 90 percent allow at least partial individualization of their products. PLM has to support variant configuration as well as a where-used list of modules and assemblies of various brands, joint-ventures, variants and derivates. Only continuous complexity management – from the proposal preparation to the launch and the recycling – is able to realize the success potential of individualized products for customers and the company.

Digital Twin

The “Digital Twin of a product” is a crucial competitive factor in the continuous representation of product data. Besides the unique described and digitalized processes, data standardization and harmonization are the basis for digitalization as well as the foundation for IoT and Industry 4.0. Only they will assure competitiveness in this age of increasing product and production complexity.

Pre-configured PLM

Preconfigured PLM offers a route to faster installation and ROI.

OOTB Pre-configured PLM can be different for each organization and so it’s important you align with your software vendor and integrator.

OOTB Pre-configured means “switch flipping” not customizing. More enabling user access control level configuration to determine which type of employee has access to enter data on a particular field or screen.

Thereafter. It’s aligning your processes/mapping to the OOTB functionality, with a little organizational change management thrown in to increase user adoption!

When an organization takes in OOTB solution, it can take advantage of best practices and industry specific solutions. In so doing you benefit from standardization and scalability that’s been tested in the marketplace.

When you map to an industry best practice, it’s bringing together common workflows, common technologies and common forms that a typical organization would use in product design, development and manufacturing.

It’s normal across all organizations over the years to stick with “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approaches to PLM and Manufacturing, however in so doing, it can lose track of what other best practices have been developing. It’s often good to put aside your comfort zone to take a look at others.

Faster implementation and ROI

One of the main advantages of implementing OOTB PLM is speed to be up and running. If you’re a start-up, it could be a few hours to a few days and if you’re transitioning from one legacy system or mash-up of solutions it could be 3-6 months, depending on the data you wish to migrate or connect-up.

PLM Cloud – easier said than done!

So, what’s the challenge? Generally, it’s maximizing the investment and moving your organization to a new way of working fast and efficiently

What’s the risk? An organization’s ability to move PLM to the cloud can make or break speed to market, productivity and future competitiveness.

But you can mitigate these risks through a well thought through team approach.

The benefits of moving to the cloud are available when accompanied by experience in a wise approach to migration, to ongoing support and to considering the shift holistically, across your people, your processes and technology.

Let’s take a look:

Efficient migration

Develop your business case and justify your move and your selection from a value perspective, gathering stakeholder buy-in and commitment to the journey. It’s all about PLM ROI, because without it, everyone will hesitate!

In moving to the Cloud, you need to think different. it’s not just moving your server from in-house to a data center! There has to be rationalization and modernization—an opportunity to clean-up and refresh, with a new pair of eyes looking at how you do business.

Lastly, it’s your chance to break-through barriers between the business and IT and build the business case to accommodate both.

Support for an Agile Culture

In making the move, it’s your chance to change your culture to a more agile approach. A new style in moving to a faster environment, where new ideas are considered, tried and tested, while mistakes are made and learning is faster.

It’s a continuous improvement style and one that will need support. It’s an opportunity to drastically reduce PLM operating costs using automation, scale and innovative capabilities of application and infrastructure services, through a PLM managed service.

When you have a high-capacity and easily-scalable infrastructure and 24/7 support, your organization can get the access to engineering information it needs to make decisions very quickly. There are also built-in protections that safeguard the environment, keeping it highly available and supporting strong business continuity.

Digital Transformation is Business Transformation

With the PLM Cloud platform in place delivering the right capabilities to the business, your organization is well positioned to transform how it executes on its new products.

This is not about incremental change. This is a chance to revolutionize!

The world is pushing manufacturers to develop the digital thread and digital twin capabilities to drive innovation and new product development processes. To achieve this, demands modern PLM tools implemented on the cloud.

The next-generation capabilities that support a connected ecosystem in product engineering and development, such as artificial IoT, AI and product data analytics are built in the cloud.

To take full advantage of them, it’s critical to confirm that your business intelligence architecture supports your technology stack and necessary capabilities, prioritize use cases based on business outcomes, and ensure you have the appropriate level of data to support all.