Questions with Aras CEO and Founder, Peter Schroer
Product complexity has increased exponentially over the last
two decades as electronics and now software dominate almost every type of
product. Manufacturers face multiple
challenges: managing product integrity without adequate software development
disciplines; managing the involvement of suppliers who control critical
technologies; ensuring operational safety for products being updated in the
field; and ensuring compliance with regulations.
Traditional PDM technologies have failed to keep pace. Their legacy architectures with tightly
interdependent hard-coded applications, data and process models result in
systems that take years to implement and are complex and expensive to upgrade. Worst of all, legacy PDM systems are focused
on managing 3D CAD designs – the Science of Engineering, leaving
other critical processes including software, electronics, requirements, process
planning, technical publications and quality – the Business of Engineering
- disconnected and under-served.
your view, what is meant by the term “the Business of Engineering?”
For today’s manufacturing enterprise, the primary job of
engineering is business – to create the products that can be sold
profitably. This has many implications such as to meet customer requirements, to
minimize liability, to deliver on the most sustainable, lowest development
costs and the lowest manufacturing costs and other key business considerations.
Too many of our competitors and the market analysts love to
hype the value of Innovation. But the job of engineering is not to
design cool products. It is to create profitable products -- i.e. business.
A focus on “The Business of Engineering” is understanding the whole lifecycle
of the product, and managing all the impact (manufacturing costs, liability,
risk, etc.) This used to be called “Design For X”
where X = manufacturability, testability, supportability.
it important for a manufacturing enterprise to distinguish between the
“science” of engineering and the “business” of engineering?
The important thing is balance. For the past 20
years, the market (including analysts, software vendor marketing, and
universities) has driven deep investment into 3D CAD, Simulation, and DMU
(expert level visualization). The Science of Engineering is
important, but without balance, without a matching investment in Business
of Engineering, manufacturers struggle to produce profitable
Manufacturing, Quality, Supply Chain, Packaging,
Configuration Management, Logistics, Field Support, Requirements Management –
these are just a few of the critical roles and tasks required to produce profitable
products. But if you take an honest look at manufacturers,
the majority of the product-related data and processes across the enterprise
and supply chain are still manual, paper, email, Excel, Lotus Notes, DropBox,
FTP, and home-grown systems.
are the top strategies manufacturers should consider in terms of meeting the
challenges of product development into the next decade?
The current reality is that manufacturers face rapid changes
in compliance, liability, global competition, distributed supply
chains, increasing complex software and electronics content, the
Internet of Things, and many more factors.
Products are no longer mechanical only, and can no longer be designed in
a vacuum. Everyone becomes a Systems Engineer. In terms of a top
strategy recommendation, it’s imperative for manufacturers to rethink their PLM
strategy and consider how to impact the Business of Engineering. We
need to replace all the chaos with a platform that efficiently supports the new
Tue, Jan 26 2016 4:17 PM