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Complexity Drives Changes in PLM Industry

By Patrick Waurzyniak
Senior Editor 

The rapid pace of technological change in manufacturing took center stage at CIMdata Inc.’s (Ann Arbor, MI) 2012 PLM Road Map annual conference held this week in Plymouth, MI, focusing on new product lifecycle management (PLM) strategies for managing the manufacturing global IT and engineering enterprise.

Manufacturers seeking the latest engineering tools to manage global product developments presented their approaches to PLM at the conference with the theme "Strategic Imperative: Managing Lifecycle Complexity to Drive Competitive Advantage." Among the trends discussed were the impact of lower-cost, cloud-based PLM systems and a “democratization” of simulation with much more widespread use of CAE tools.

“Complexity is driving change, and there’s a need for convergence of CM [configuration management], PLM and engineering,” said CIMdata President Peter Bilello. “The Brave New World is here and the social-savvy workforce is upon us—but is the corporate world ready for this wave of workers who expect instant download of apps and data with little or no training necessary?”   

Today’s PLM users are witnessing a convergence of three technology-driven themes, Bilello noted: The consumerization of IT, availability of mobile information delivery devices, and a social-media-savvy workforce. The consumerization trend also was noted by Mark Johnson, executive technical leader–IT, Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) in his talk “Rethinking PLM in a Systems Engineering World.” According to Johnson, “within IT, we are spending a lot of time on consumerization of IT—integrating iPads and dealing with security and legal issues.” Johnson said that Ford is piloting several new technologies, and the automaker is seeing more value-add in its later iterations.

Other speakers at the conference included:

  • Tristan Gegaden of EADS N.V. (Leiden, The Netherlands), who discussed “Why PLM is Strategic” for the aerospace-defense consortium comprised of Airbus, Astrium, Eurocopter and Cassidian
  • Glenn Valine, director, Engineering IS/IT, GKN Driveline, with his discussion, “A Novel Approach to Enterprise PLM Workflows Within CAE Democratization”)
  • Randy Huber, division manager, Advanced Virtual Product Development (VPD), at Caterpillar Inc., who described the physics-based simulations of Caterpillar’s VPD team in “Simulation: Helping Shape Future Caterpillar Products”, and
  • Frank Popielas of Dana Holding Corp., who spoke about “Simulation-Driven Engineering: The Future of Product Development.”

CIMdata also announced the formation of its newest PLM member service, the CIMdata PLM Industry Consortium. Robert A. Hellow, with 25 years of industrial and PLM practice leadership, has joined the company and will lead the consortium as CIMdata’s PLM Consortium Practice Manager. For more information, contact CIMdata at or call (734) 668-9922.

Contract Patrick Waurzyniak at



Published Date : 10/5/2012

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