Making things matters more than ever. Of late, the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) market has gotten a little lift from this renewed interesting in things. The confluence of some important trends is also catalyzing the market. Hence, an interesting conference looked at the trends across some key industries like aerospace, automotive, and industrial.
Product Management Trends
This event was a ‘closed-door’ event for analysts only, so I can’t share many specifics at this point. However, having an understanding of some of the major changes in the world of product creation is important to disclose.
Chuck Grindstaff, CEO and President, Siemens PLM Software (the Industry Automation Division), kicked off the session with an update on their progress. Siemens PLM is growing at a rapid rate. Part of the Siemens strategy going forward is to integrate Ideation (PLM) with Utilization (Manufacturing); thus, the combining of several of the Siemens software groups, particularly the PLM and MES products (SIMATIC IT), into one business unit.
We were treated to executive presentations from Boeing, Daimler Benz, NASA, ATK, Audi, and others. Their presentations revealed that several critical issues are driving the investments in PLM these days:
- Rethinking manufacturing: How and where products are made, new techniques for product design, or reconfiguring the supply chain is spurring companies to invest in a new generation of PLM software. Information today needs to be shared around the world and across business processes. The global auto manufacturing companies typify this, since they may have centers of expertise all over the world, yet their teams need to share information to crank out the next new design.
- Changing work force: Speakers from the aerospace industry pointed out some uncomfortable facts. For example, about 50% of the US aerospace engineering population will be retiring in the next four years. Thus, there is a need to codify designs and processes. This is a pervasive issue across many industries.
- Things — and the Internet: Increasing demand for better, faster, smarter, more traceable products is driving changes in product design — more software and devices within the designs — as well as thinking about how the information can be leveraged more effectively. Siemens, who is also a ‘things’ company and one of the world’s largest producers of medical devices, manufacturing and material handling systems, and plant and power generation systems, can leverage their software groups’ work within these products and across many of the mega-projects that some of thosedivisions of Siemens have.
These forces are not just changing the end-user industries, but also how the major PLM providers are organized and what software and services they sell to the market. We recently wrote an article comparing some of the major players’ differentiation strategies.
Siemens possesses great depth in manufacturing and therefore is focusing on design to manufacturing, vs. PTC, who is focusing across the supply chain from design to services. Both have visions of how a new generation of product developers will be able to use their vast product design libraries and software. And it was appropriate that the reception for the Siemens event was at Boston Harbor with a ship tour, since making those visions a reality will fall to a new generation when all those retirees sail away.
To view other articles from this issue of the brief, click here.