From an article by Anders Johansson, Sohrab Kazemahvazi, Björn Henriksson and Mikael Johnsson in InnovationManagement.se…
In order to understand companies’ current approach to PLM it helps to understand the historical evolution that has taken place. Products and product families have become more complex, with increasing amounts of electrical and embedded software components, which has gradually created a demand for structured product data management. This demand had its original source in the product development function that engineers needed to support the design phase of the products. Today the need for product data has become a reality across the entire enterprise as vast amounts of data are created, managed, and utilized across functions.
A PLM investment should be seen as a strategic business improvement and a key enabler to optimize business operations. Driving such business improvement initiatives without a well-functioning PLM system would be the same as driving a production efficiency program without ERP software – large benefits will simply not be achieved.
Historically, product data management was about managing a parts list [bill of materials]. Those parts lists would have a single part number for embedded software or electrical components. If you wanted to delve into either, you had to search elsewhere.
I like the idea of a bill of materials that includes all of the information for that product like marketing requirements, engineering requirements, parts list, software, electrical components, testing plans, work instruction packages, customer support plans, etc. It is called product lifecycle and that means from ‘womb to tomb’. You should be able to click on anything in this bill of materials and see the information and everything about that piece of information.
I like the idea of being able to generate different views of this massive bill of materials. Views could include: as designed, as planned, as manufactured, as shipped, as installed, etc. I should be able to generate any view of the information.
This is my vision for a ‘whole’ solution, but companies should start with a ‘part’ of the solution and grow into this.
Are any of you really managing the entire product lifecycle using a software solution?