PLM in Standard Product and CTO businesses

Posted on Posted in PLM, Product Management

PLM in Standard Product and CTO businesses

Continuing on the PLM implementation success factor topic. What is the optimal PLM approach for a specific business model? Your PLM implementation will succeed more likely if the overall vision – what is the key PLM driver and target? – for our business, is toughly understood and shared cross the organization.

PLM in Standard product / Serial manufacturing

PLM in standard product businesses focuses very much on product definition lifecycle. The beef is a capability to manage evolution of the product definition efficiently.

In standard product business the PLM domain usually ends to the point when a design or a part has been released and approved for manufacturing and transferred to an ERP system for purchasing, fabrication and assembly.

In practice the key expectation for PLM is flexible capability to manage engineering BOM and localize them to manufacturing BOM’s that may be factory specific and open controlled access to product data and change management to external parties such as manufacturing partners.

Serial manufacturing PLM has a lot of emphasis on the capability to manage different manufacturer parts and their approved suppliers in a global scale. All in all, PLM in standard product business is very much about efficient change management of individual parts, bills of materials and related manufacturer parts and approved suppliers.


PLM in Configure-To-Order / Mass customized manufacturing

PLM in CTO (configure-to-order) business must cover the product definition management for sure, however CTO PLM has a lot more requirements on managing the product variation and variability. PLM in CTO business must also support the management of modular products and their modular definitions.

In configure-to-order business one really significant PLM related decision is whether to have the bill of material configuration capability in the PLM system or in an ERP system. This decision sets at the scope of PLM and defines the crucial PLM – ERP relationship. The decision related to home of BOM configuration must also cover disciplines outside mechanical and electrical design such as software engineering and product documentation configuration.

Configure-to-order PLM is in many cases tightly related to the design systems and the way 3D modeling is utilized. Driving the BOM configuration in PLM system makes it possible to configure the 3D models simultaneously together with the BOM. However, this has a lot of requirements for the 3D model creation and management philosophy. Using the BOM configuration to drive the 3D configuration of individual product instance 3D models requires utilizing e.g. skeleton based 3D modeling paradigm though out the entire 3D model ranges in a coherent way.

PLM in configure-to-order business also means the creation of unique product structures for each configured product unit or instance, requiring good support for managing the individual bills of materials with serial numbers.

Having an end-to-end configuration support in PLM side makes it possible to automate the creation of separate product asset with serial number with a specific BOM and spare part catalogue as well as an asset based 3D model, e.g. for augmented installation and maintenance guide and unit specific documentation set creating a huge value automatically for customer and service teams.