3 Ways to Visualize Hierarchical Structures

By Oleg

I’m always thinking about alternative ways to present information to PLM software users. I think one of PLM’s challenges is to be able to present complex data in a simple way. Using 3D is one of the possibilities to reduce the complexity of data representations and visualize it for users. Hierarchical data is everywhere in PLM – product structure, bill of materials, drawing. Today, I’d like to show three possible ways to visualize hierarchical data to make it more presentable to a user.

Tree Map

A tree map is a visualization of hierarchical structures. This type of visualization is very efficient in a space constraint situation. The best you can do with such a visualization is to show attributes of leaf nodes in trees with appropriated color-coding and size. You can read more about this type of visualization on IBM’s Many Eyes project and here on 3D Perspectives. On the picture below you can see an example of a tree map visualization related to car fuel consumption. You can change the order, color code and sizing. This is, of course, depends on a specific implementation.

Botanical Tree

Here’s another interesting approach o visualizing huge structures. You can take a look at this research for more information. I found it very interesting. The authors are proposing models for tree organizing and visualization. I found this 3D visualization approach as something promising when we face a huge structure of information we want to discover. On the below image you can see the visualization of a Unix Directory using this method presented in this work.

Timeline Tree

This type of visualization, in my view, is an efficient way to combine hierarchical structure and time-related information. In many situations in product development, this is an interesting case. So, you can download and take a look at this research. I can imagine many situations when such visualization can be very useful (i.e. to present product structure with the relevant maintenance schedule and many others).

I’m sure there are many additional ways to visualize hierarchical data. I’m looking forward to your comments and discussing this.

Best, Oleg

Enterprise PLM for Integrated New Product Market Launches

By Brian

Over the past 6 months I’ve been blogging about Enterprise PLM in a series called PLM as the Enterprise Backbone: Emerging with Advantage. A PLM enterprise backbone anchors all enterprise systems around a forward view of a company’s product and market strategy.

Today, the most competitive corporations are establishing their market strategies based on new product portfolios, as well as the manufacturing platforms and sourcing strategies that support them, and are integrating their PLM systems across all critical functions.

To conclude this series I will emphasize what Enterprise PLM means for the fourth pillar of the enterprise backbone: integrated product and market launch, and will tie it all back together.

(As a side note, I must admit it has been a challenge for me to keep in the informal and chatty style of 3D Perspectives, but I’ll do my best. You see, my father in his day was a power systems engineer, and both my brothers have been practicing engineers (electrical / electronic and civil / environmental). My forte in life took the path of a profession in corporate strategy and technology management, rather than engineering itself, but I still think my family legacy is hard to shake off . . .)

Product Market Launch & Integration

A repeatable product launch capability that builds core competencies and competitive advantage requires integration and coordination among multiple functional areas, including product design, procurement, finance, planning, manufacturing, services, sales and marketing.

Organizations not only need to integrate internally to support product launches, but also externally with suppliers, distribution channels, and customers, creating end-to-end supply chain and aftermarket processes and capabilities which differentiate on product and customer requirements.

For example, without PLM integration new product programs have been known to get placed on hold until the technical documentation important to downstream activities (channel sales, marketing and after-market support), can be updated to the final versions of the released product.

Imagine what happens when management in a product launch readiness review meeting realizes that final changes to the product still haven’t been pushed to technical documentation for manufacturing and aftermarket service to use, and the data sheets for sales haven’t yet been updated.

It becomes clear to the business that the launch is not feasible until these updates to the technical documentation have been completed. Critical market timing windows can be missed by such a delay to market launch.

For highly engineered individual, small batch or engineer-to-order projects, for example, in shipbuilding, aircraft, or plant engineering, there are similar new product introduction requirements for project completion, bringing the systems online, and maintaining them through their extended life. Contract delivery delays can be equally costly to the business.

Integrated Launch from PLM

Product launch planning and execution, while a discipline itself, needs to be integrated to PLM as part of a company’s overall new product introduction capability.

The text-box below on Integrated Launch Planning defines the major components. Integrating the PLM system for launching the new product across operations, services, marketing, packaging and labeling, as well as other customer and end-user facing systems further leverages the virtual 3D models, product data and PLM business processes.

On this basis, there is the same source of information that is kept up to date and shared appropriately through user-role access controls, improving quality and cost, as well as reducing launch timing delays.

Market / Business Planning and Commercial Readiness

As the new product program moves through development it is important to be able to readily gauge the product readiness against the program market segment requirements, product positioning, and pricing / cost targets. Late changes to the product can impact manufacturing readiness and costs, as well as the business targets and brand strategy established for the project.

Integrated PLM systems can manage this risk from late program changes.

Downstream Sales, Services and After-Market Integration

As the product is prepared for launch, sales and service organizations are mobilized with documentation and processes to sell and support the product in the field.

  • Advanced PLM systems are able to provide technical documentation online and in interactive 3D formats.
  • Virtual training environments can leverage these models to gear up the workforce across all functional areas to improve the timing, quality and to reduce re-work or scrap in their functions.
  • Technical brochures for marketing, sales enablement and channel readiness also need to have the most up-to-date product definition, value propositions, and product positioning information.

Enterprise PLM as a Market Driven Core Competence: Tying it all Together

Companies invest in PLM to support all internal and external functions that need to use the program and product data, as well as the 3D virtual models. New product development processes and product launch activities are the roots of growth and success in most industries, and are core to competitive advantage.

Companies that systematically integrate PLM across their other enterprise systems (ERP, MRP, CRM, and SCM) can drive repeatable processes based on this integration. By continually improving their success rate of market launch, they will drive their markets in a way that others will not easily challenge.

The figure below depicts the market dynamics of firms competing with a tightly integrated and repeatable launch process over traditionally managed firms that do not establish PLM as an enterprise backbone. In this case the company with Enterprise PLM is able to consistently achieve a price / performance advantage over its traditionally organized rival.

© http://perspectives.3ds.com/

Companies that base their product launch cycles with PLM as an enterprise backbone will be able to be a technology generation ahead of their competition in a short period of time. It is on this basis that companies can leverage enterprise PLM systems to ‘emerge with advantage’ from this current global downturn and nascent recovery.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.



Related posts:
PLM as the Enterprise Backbone: Emerging with Advantage
PLM Enterprise Backbone Pillar 1: Product Portfolio Management
PLM Enterprise Backbone Pillar 2: Working with the Supply Chain
PLM Enterprise Backbone Pillar 3: Sustainable Development and Regulatory Compliance

Mr. Texturesaurus-Rex, what do you think about this?

By Kate

I recently had the pleasure to meet Mr. Texturesaurs-Rex (above).  My first spy was from BostonDave‘s Twitter feed, and then I followed him to Cliff’s Clips and see that he’s a veritable 3D star, featured in at least two videos.

So when Jérôme from Barcelona sent me this commercial this morning (gracias!), I couldn’t help but think of Mr. Texturesaurus.  Notice the clever use of texture in the below clip:

Ok, this is an ad selling paper, so the 2D references are perfectly excuseable.  Yet the mix between 2D paper scribble, 3D and mixed reality hits me like poetry.  

Tex-Rex, what’s your assessment?  



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