Why Do Enterprise Organizations Let CAD Vendors Drive Their PLM Selection Process?
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In a typical 10,000 person company there are probably 50-100 full-time 3D CAD engineers. So how come these few CAD users and their CAD software vendors so often drive the selection of an enterprise PLM system that will likely touch thousands of users around the world? Why do the needs of these few weigh so heavily in the decisions that affect so many? This is a new trend I’ve observed over the last 5+ years, and it concerns me.

 

What has evolved in so many companies is the perception that the people doing product design are the heroes; the only ones making a contribution to the new product portfolio and the long-term success of the company. The problem with this perception is that it ignores what the applications engineer does and what the quality engineer does and what the component engineers in procurement do. In fact, there are a lot of engineers in a corporation and they’re all critical to new product introduction, yet their activities have little or nothing to do with 3D CAD. In fact, they have their own data, creative processes, and value-add activities.

 

PLM is more than managing Pro/E or CATIA files. PLM is about managing the whole set of data; the entire product record. My guess is that only 20% of the product content comes from the 3D CAD system, with the other 80% or so coming from ERP, Microsoft Word and Excel, CRM, EDA tools, email and many other systems. The fact is, if you let your design team or 3D CAD vendor drive your PLM decision you will miss most of the users, most of the data and most of the processes involved in the product lifecycle.

 

Some of the customers I visit are managing their CAD files just fine; either with a simple PDM product from their CAD vendor, with a home-grown system, or with manual processes. At these companies, CAD file management is not their top business priority. I think these companies are on the right path. Their PLM vision is a business-driven vision and they look at new product introduction more holistically and identify their priorities from a business perspective.

 

Priorities involve improving communications with global suppliers, ensuring that the shop floor has the right specs, implementation of serialized data tracking, choosing suppliers with the best price AND the best quality, managing environmental and regulatory compliance, and on and on… These are not 3D CAD problems. So why trust a 3D CAD vendor to solve them?

 

My opinion:  Successful companies do not let 100 people drive the enterprise software decisions for 10,000. Scope your PLM deployment based on the biggest business benefit to your entire organization. Build a roadmap and tackle the biggest issues first in a sequence that, in the end, gives your business a fully integrated PLM environment. In your company, CAD file management might be in phase 1 or 2, or 5 or 10, but shouldn’t that be up to you?


Posted Mon, Jul 19 2010 11:31 AM by Peter Schroer

Comments

TM wrote re: Why Do Enterprise Organizations Let CAD Vendors Drive Their PLM Selection Process?
on Mon, Jul 19 2010 10:05 PM

Are you suggesting that CAD companies cannot innovate new products (their own NPD), such as PLM, to take to the masses?

While CAD vendors were never pure play PLM (PDM evolution),  their product offerings have matured, and so they can legitimately play in this PLM space, without the CAD moniker.

I agree with you that the 3D modeling group should carry the same voting weight as other constituents, but that is irrespective of the PLM/CAD vendor and their product mix.

Graham McCall wrote re: Why Do Enterprise Organizations Let CAD Vendors Drive Their PLM Selection Process?
on Thu, Jul 22 2010 4:52 AM

I think people confuse PLM with PDM... and PDM was always, more or less, a design decision..so PLM gets tarred with the same brush...in many cases...but not always.. I've seen a few cases recently where organisations are waking up to the fact that what might make a great CAD data management/PDM tool does not necessarily make for a great PLM solution...I have a case in mind..with one of the big "PLM" solutions..(you'll have to guess which one..).it was percieved as too bulky and complicated once you got past its CAD data management functionality...people downstream just didn't get it...

I think the smart PLM buyer should trade off some of the excess (and frankly unnecessary) CAD data management functionality stuff offered by CAD centric PLM vendors against the easy to understand, easy to deploy PLM functionality they actually need..pretty easy trade in my opinion..

Peter Schroer wrote re: Why Do Enterprise Organizations Let CAD Vendors Drive Their PLM Selection Process?
on Thu, Jul 22 2010 1:06 PM

Graham,  thanks for the comment.   You added a clarification that makes the post more clear.    To TM's point,  the CAD vendors are perfecrtly capable of innovating and most have made great advances in their data management applications.  But these applications are best classificed as PDM's,   and the underlying data model, rules, processes, and use cases are not a good fit for the downstream enterprise PLM users.      My point is the we should not choose software for the masses,  just because it is a good fit for the 100 users of NX, Pro/E or CATIA.    Very different architectures and approaches are needed for rest of the product lifecycle.   If we keep PDM and PLM separate in the discussion,  it is easier to select the right application for each group of end-users.

Aras Corporate Blog wrote CAD File Management ≠ PLM
on Fri, Oct 1 2010 4:12 PM

Yesterday Deelip and others from the 3D Insiders' Summit 2010 tweeted this quote from an automotive

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on Tue, Oct 12 2010 5:42 AM

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sonia wrote re: Why Do Enterprise Organizations Let CAD Vendors Drive Their PLM Selection Process?
on Tue, Oct 12 2010 5:43 AM

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