Manufacturing News

PLM comes of age for manufacturers

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal, is moving to the front of mind for more and more manufacturers.

According to Singapore-based Rajiv Ghatikar, VP and GM for Siemens PLM Software’s business in Asean/Australia, the PLM industry has moved to a point where it has become mission critical for companies to have, rather than just nice to have.

“We are now able to show so many proof points of our success, such as reducing cycle times, wastage, and design time. These are significant enablers to driving revenue and bringing product to market quicker,” Ghatikar told Manufacturers’ Monthly on his recent trip to Australia.

“People no longer think of PLM as something they should get just because the person down the road has one. They want because it’s important to drive their business in that manner. And as that becomes a little more prominent, we have found that our larger customers in this recession are contributing more to our revenue stream then in the past.

“What we are finding is that stronger companies are emerging stronger because they made the right strategic decisions in the downturn to invest.”

Ghatikar says most people are now aware of the benefits of PLM.

“But rather than extra seats, customers are wanting to do more with what they have and that’s where the value add comes in.

“Now they are investing in more value-add functionality such as simulation, analysis and trying to use existing resources, or even reduced resources, more effectively.

Ghatikar says PLM’s biggest benefit is on the revenue side, with key savings in reducing a product’s time to market.

“Manufacturers need to understand the benefits of getting a product to market early, for this is the tool to do it in every aspect of the lifecycle of the product from concept all the way through design, prototyping, manufacture, recycling; the whole lifecycle. From end to end and if you believe in making products faster, then you need PLM.

He says one of key reasons for a product’s commercial success is down to understanding customers’ needs.

“If you can design it, cost it and market it well all that goes into its success.

“Most of a products cost are influenced at the design stage – the amount of plastic/metal, the amount of moulding/machining. That’s where you can impact the cost of the product and that’s where PLM and CAD play a major role.”

Interestingly, Ghatikar says since the recession he is seeing increased interest in FEA (Finite Element Analysis).

“People are asking how they can do analysis and simulation.

“They want to know what they are designing will withstand the stress tests it will need to go through before it gets approved for production.

“There’s a lot of work going on within organisations to leverage technology, these are the productivity tools to enhance people’s effectiveness.

“Research shows there’s a direct correlation between the number of mouse clicks needed and the speed of getting a product to market. Less clicks means faster time to market,” Ghatikar said.

Ghatikar says the company has a wide range of products for manufacturers; for SMEs down to 5 to 10 users all the way to large multi-nationals with 40,000 users.

Ghatikar describes Siemens as the end-to-end PLM vendor, “the one stop shop for industry”.

“We have our own CAD systems, but we can also work with any CAD system. Unlike some, our systems are genuinely open.

“For CAD, we have NX and SolidEdge, and then within our CAM and CAE families we have the Velocity series plus FEA products which can work with any other CAD product and do analysis to it, as well as many data management products such as Teamcentre,” Ghatikar said.

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