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Press Release "IT Systems for Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) - The Value of Openness" has been published in Japan

Tina Müller | 30th November 2017

A plea for the "Code of PLM Openness" by Dr. Dietmar Trippner, Dr. Michael Stephan and Amelie Leipprand in the journal DIN Mitteilungen

+++ summarized by Tina Müller, CONWEAVER GmbH +++

Abstract

The authors summarize what they consider to be essential requirements for a modern PLM infrastructure. The basis for such a strategy are therefore defined interfaces, which enable system independence and thus significantly reduce the time and effort required to adapt processes. The "Code of PLM Openess" (CPO) advocates these interfaces and the openness of the systems. A large number of well-known companies have already signed it, CONWEAVER is the first company in the certification process, three more signatories follow shortly. A start has been made, but there is still a long way to go before the systems are fully open.

The article shows the relevance of the topic PLM openness. Therefore, we would like to use the translation and publication of the  article in Japan as an opportunity to give you a brief outline of its contents. The link to the full article can be found in the edition DIN Mitteilungen 2017-09.


The authors Trippner, Stephan and Leipprand describe how, in times in which processes in development, production and service are becoming steadily complex and the validity periods are increasingly shortened, agile action and gain more importance for the success of a company. An appropriate PLM strategy should therefore be able to anticipate impending changes and be proactive, innovative, and flexible in alignment with the company's business goals.

This is only possible if modern PLM infrastructures open up and become agile themselves. Through defined interfaces, they escape system dependency, create new possibilities for adapting and redesigning processes and considerably reduce the need for change. This means that solutions can be selected according to functional and economic aspects in the product development process, integrated into an overall network and used quickly. The authors illustrate the necessity for this is illustrated by through an example from 2004 and 2008: A very high oil price aroused a brief need within the automotive industry for vehicle design to focus more strongly on lightweight construction to reduce fuel consumption. For the feasibility of this change in large-scale production, short-term processes had to be upgraded while special systems had to be developed or purchased and integrated into process chains. This was initially not allowed by the closed systems. Only through a lot of time and effort was the project finally possible.

Key Aspects of PLM Openness (Source: www.prostep.org/en/cpo)

 

Openness will be the new foundation of the sustainable PLM strategy. Leading companies from the automotive industry and their suppliers recognized this many years ago and within the ProSTEP iViP e. V. drafted a policy paper on the openness of PLM systems: the Code of PLM Openess (CPO). Today, 88 international companies from a wide range of industries have signed the CPO. Since 2016, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has been the patron of the CPO. However, the "Code of PLM Openess" merely serves as a basis for a common basic understanding on the part of the supplier and the user, by defining PLM openness and specifying the associated requirements and properties. An agile PLM strategy can only be successful if openness is also demanded by the user companies and adhered to by the system providers.

While many PLM system providers offer their customers a complete range of services for the various tasks in product lifecycle management, which are characterized by a homogeneous and consistent user logic, suppliers of special solutions have a different approach. Their focus is on special functions or high efficiency. The ability to integrate into heterogeneous development structures not only constitutes an important sales argument, but is also an essential requirement. The authors illustrate this approach with the help of CONWEAVER, for which we would like to express our sincere thanks.

In addition to standard interfaces, these systems often contain proprietary formats in order to be able to integrate even better into foreign systems. For this reason, some suppliers of end-to-end solutions like to restrict their openness later on or technically. However, to ensure that this tactic is not too obvious, the standards required on the market are supported and openness is pretended. The user can hardly prove such deficits and has to demand his promised openness often laboriously, without guarantee on success, criticize the authors.

The question now is how to achieve openness. According to Trippner et. al. personal will, transparency, commitment and consistency are required for the successful implementation of an open PLM strategy. Companies and system providers who are committed to open PLM development will ultimately be the winners, according to the authors. Openness is the only way to achieve an agile PLM strategy that can withstand the challenges of increased competition and increasing globalization.

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