PLM Shopping

By Michael

For us every-day users of the internet  buying products online has become the way to go when it comes to consumer goods such as books, DVDs, office supplies or electronic gizmos, but also fixed price services such as a discount plane ticket or your annual horoscope. It’s just so convenient, isn’t it? Gone are the days of suspicion when you were asking yourself if the money transfer will work, if you will receive the shipment of the merchandise and when you hoped to avoid that your credit card number will be abused …

Today we simply enjoy the efficiency and comfort from buying with the click of the mouse. Thank you Amazon, Staples, Fnac, Expedia – to only mention a few – for your advancements in user ergonomics, search engines and performance (driven by the merciless selection process of demanding users). Benefits from online markets respond to the expectations of both the individual shopper and businesses at various sizes: we all want convenience, efficiency, speed and best prices.

Auctions are another big success which went online. Founded in 1995, Ebay as the premier public trading site for products has seen a staggering growth with a $60 billion transaction volume and 86 million active members in 2008. Ebay and look alike’s address the B2C and C2C markets. Within a core service of “search and find” the hits are presented to let the consumer comfortably compare objects and prices. The decision process is supported by additional services such as peer rating, referencing related products and special package offers. These online marketplaces are sophisticated Sell environments which generate a Buy experience to address mind and emotion.

It seems that service auctioning sites are up to repeat the success story. It worked for me! Last year when I did not less than four household moves (see the Guinness Book of Records for details), my experience from using an online platform was very positive: I was able to find the best movers at prices slashed by 60% over standard and at top quality. I became a happy user of MyHammer.

Beyond private shopping, online business exchanges are emerging to support more complex B2B transactions. There are the more generic trading places, such as Alibaba.com, which support the buying/selling of raw materials, commodities, industrial parts, services on a global level. Also there exist online markets which are focused geographically and specifically adapted to serve the needs of a certain user group. TechPilot.net is one example, where purchasers are looking for machined parts to be made according to their design, and suppliers can place their quotation to it, but also offer their capability and capacity versus the market demands. Sounds like a good idea? Yes, over 100,000 portal visits per month speak for themselves.


How does this reflect to shopping for a PLM Solution?

First I think we agree that purchasing a PLM system is not just ordering a product or service.

Assuming that a PLM Solution is unique for each customer situation, the process for designing the solution needs to start with a thorough analysis of the customer’s specific environment and needs. This is experts’ work [full stop]. By taking a consultative approach, a PLM professional, experienced in the customer’s industry, needs to comb through the customer’s product process by talking to stakeholders, with the aim to develop a blue print of the way the customer successfully works to meet his business objectives. Based on this blue print, a PLM expert can design the solution and select the components needed to do the job …

As you know, Dassault Systèmes’ value added channel partners, industry solution partners, in concert with IBM and DS provide those experts needed to analyze, select, plan and deploy a PLM system – independent of size and scope – but necessarily matching the individual customers’ needs. They will choose products and solution from the DS portfolio, but will also want to leverage the vast solutions from DS partners. These software, technology and service offerings are designed to extend the DS portfolio to solve though industry process challenges.


How can PLM solution integrators best include DS Partners’ offerings?

What started as an online showroom of partners’ products at DS France in 2005 has now become a highly efficient business platform where customers can find a partner solution, request a quote and initiate sales with a preferred sales partner. PLM MarketPlace provides the visitor with all relevant information regarding the referenced partner products. Connected resellers access a secured area which additionally contains all relevant sales information, and benefit from a fast and simple process to call in the respective solution partner on a deal. In short: PLM MarketPlace connects partners to deliver to customers augmented PLM value.

PLM MarketPlace’s core team: Jacques Bidault, Anthony Rosendo and Alexandre De Lima invite you to test ride the platform, and to experience how easy it becomes to surf the catalog of our partners’ solutions.

from left to right: Alexandre, Jacques, Anthony

Go ahead and check it out for yourself. Let us know what you think! Finalizing transactions on www.plmmarketplace.com is reserved to connected resellers, but everyone is welcome to request a quote.

Happy shopping!

Best,
Michael

P.S.: … and don’t get carried away (like the guy in the video … )

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What Did You Consume Today?

By Tim

Have you ever stopped to count the number of store-bought packages you open in a day; in a week; or even a full year? Think about everything you consume and the list of products will get pretty long, pretty quick:

  • Drink bottles
  • Food containers
  • Snack bags
  • Boxes of cereal
  • Toys
  • Toothpaste
  • Electronics
  • Candy
  • Medicine
  • . . . and the list goes on and on.

These products and more are part of the multi-trillion dollar Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry which includes food and beverages, tobacco, cleaning products, as well as hygiene and beauty products. The packaging for these product have to be designed strong enough to make it from the factory to your home without being damaged – yet provide a pleasant, convenient experience that makes you rush back to the store and buy more week after week.

Have you ever stopped to wonder how product manufacturing companies came up with the package that you’re ripping into? Too often, opening a package is hard and clumsy, and it makes you go ‘grrrr’. I am sure we can all relate to some of the videos and photos at the “Wrap Rage” gallery at Amazon.com.

In the past few years, many CPG companies have been putting significant effort into developing extremely innovative and easy-to-open packages. Some of the development is being driven by environmental concern, but many advancements are being driven by the need to improve the safety and ease-of-opening for an aging consumer population. The Swedish Rheumatism Association has recently commended Scan AB for several of its different easy-to-open food packs. One of these packs is the Amcor Push Pop, an innovative new packaging design, which Scan has used for their delicatessen meatballs called Delikatesskottbullar.

You’d be amazed at the level of sophisticated research, engineering, design, and manufacturing that goes into the design of product packaging, let alone the actual product inside. Things we take for granted are thoroughly researched. When it comes to product packaging, designers and engineers have to determine if the package can be manufactured. They seek answers to a wide range of questions, like:

  • Can it survive the manufacturing process?
  • Will the container break or leak during transportation?
  • Will it be easy to open yet reseal effectively?

Silgan Containers recently announced that they are using Abaqus FEA software to predict “real-life” performance of its cans with a high degree of accuracy before a single container is manufactured. Alvin Widitora, director of new product development, Silgan Containers explains,

We have validated our modeling and simulation process up to a 97% level of accuracy that the actual container will perform as predicted. That means that we can take a lot of the guesswork out before we get to the tooling stage.

Check out the complete Silgan press release here.

It’s pretty amazing that CPG companies are using the same realistic simulation technology that is used to evaluate the performance of airplanes, cars, nuclear power plants, and medical devices. And their simulations are very sophisticated and include; virtual drop testing, top loading analysis, manufacturing line simulation, squeezing pressure, fluid-structure interaction, as well as adhesive and forming simulations.

It’s not surprising that with so many simulations being performed, that consumer packaged goods companies are looking for ways to capture their valuable simulation processes and data. A couple of weeks ago, SIMULIA announced that Proctor & Gamble had selected their simulation lifecycle management solution. According to Tom Lange, Director, Corporate R&D Modeling and Simulation, Procter & Gamble,

SIMULIA SLM will help our global teams accelerate innovation by providing access to simulation tools, validated processes and corporate knowledge bases throughout the product lifecycle.

You can read the SIMULIA press release on P&G here:

So, when you’re opening your next hundred packages or enjoying some conveniently packed Swedish meatballs, I hope you’ll have a little better appreciation of what goes on behind the scenes to get those convenient products into your hands.

Best,

Tim

PLM as the Enterprise Backbone Part 3: Working Smart with the Supply Chain

By Brian

Hi, last time you heard from me I blogged about the link between Product Portfolio and Program Management and PLM as the enterprise backbone. Today I’d like to focus on another “vertebrae,” issues tied to the supply chain. There are two points I’d like to present:

1. PLM establishes supplier leverage and gives visibility to all part volumes by supplier.

When integrated to the product development system, direct materials sourcing and extended enterprise collaboration enhances a manufacturer’s negotiation leverage for new and existing supplier contracts, and helps resolve supplier and partner performance and design issues. Sourcing, commodity and acquisition integration programs can be globally managed to the latest product attributes and designs. Spend can be more effectively aggregated to the preferred suppliers, optimizing volume pricing, reducing both parts proliferation and material and service costs. By identifying sourced components based on part-reuse and product and manufacturing platform alignment, manufacturers can reduce inventory levels and respond with greater agility to shifts in demand. It streamlines the process of identifying alternate or functionally equivalent parts when standard parts are not available.

There are other benefits such as standardization, allowing every participant in the quoting process (the manufacturer, customer, suppliers and partners) to manage the same version of the product definition, including revisions and program changes. PLM also facilitates cost analysis and supplier negotiations.

Negotiations with preferred suppliers go beyond obtaining best prices and favorable terms. When run on a PLM backbone these otherwise standardized processes become avenues for harnessing supplier innovation and design alternatives, allowing manufacturers to address market needs quickly and efficiently. Suppliers become true partners by not just providing components and services, but by also proposing new technologies and solutions to meet market requirements.

2. You can employ PLM to manage a global dispersed set of engineering centers and partners.

Oftentimes corporations not only have globally dispersed engineering, research and development centers, but equally dispersed partners, alliances and supply-chains. Maintaining a single system of record in a PLM architecture provides the means for a company to maintain visibility, flexibility and real-time 24/7 management of its global strategies and business development initiatives.

Supplier Collaboration on a Global Network

Supplier Collaboration on a Global Network

Establishing PLM as a key enterprise backbone sets competitive capabilities for new product programs by assuring the alignment of engineering to established platform and sourcing strategies. The cost and quality advantages of reusing existing and standard parts, coupled with the ability to negotiate new program costs, based on a manufacturer’s total purchasing volume with a supplier, increases the ability to control cost, quality and timing requirements of the new product programs. These sourcing and supplier collaboration competencies are critical for companies to establish and maintain performance improvements capabilities. This helps companies to apply their engineering resources more uniquely on resolving market requirements and revenue opportunities, and less time on resolving design and quality issues with their suppliers.

So leveraged these ways, PLM gives visibility to a company’s total spend exposure by supplier, and identifies the preferred parts by supplier, as well as enhances the ability to collaborate and resolve design issues in key areas of new technologies.

In my next article in this PLM as the Enterprise Backbone series, I will address the ability of PLM to mitigate the risks of regulatory compliance and environmental challenges.

Best,

Brian



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