Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Changing Face of US Manufacturing

Do you worry that manufacturing in the US is dead? Do you worry that jobs for skilled machinists, and other manufacturers is going to other countries? Do you often spend too much time reading blogs when you should be working (especially this one)? This may not be something we need to worry about in the future.

A recent article describes what is being called the "third industrial revolution". Look around and you will see fewer and fewer people on factory floors. Armies of intelligent machines and robots now dominate the manufacturing landscape. Many jobs that were once available in the US have moved over-seas, or have disappeared forever. But, the US has always been about technology and innovation. What we are witnessing may indeed be another industrial revolution, where jobs, industries, and products are changed forever.

This doesn't necessarily mean the end of manufacturing dominance in the US. Many people who have lost jobs on traditional manufacturing lines could be easily retrained to support innovation and creativity early in the design process. This would provide a greater emphasis on tasks that require users to interact with the virtual product and with early virtual prototypes. More iterations early in the design process usually results in more innovative products, with higher quality, that get to market faster.

Doesn't it make sense to put more emphasis on innovation and creativity? Hasn't that always been the strength of the US economy? Machines and robots can manufacture products, but they cannot innovate, nor can they imagine new and creative products. Putting more people at the front end of the design process makes sense because that is where innovation happens. PLM manages the virtual product and supports innovation.

Three cheers for PLM! The US workforce needs to change and match the new opportunities we find for innovative products and greater creativity. I, for one, will welcome this new change.

What do you think?


- Jim

In Case You Missed It - PLM Blog - Week 21

Welcome to the very first edition of "In Case You Missed It". The blog that reviews all the PLM happenings from the past week. It's hard to stay up to date on everything that happens during the week when you are suppose to be doing your regular job. But, on the weekends, you can kick back, grab a cup of joe, and feast your eyeballs on all the exciting PLM happenings from the week gone by.


3D Systems Acquires Bespoke Innovations

AVEVA Acquires Bocad

SAP to Expand Cloud Presence with Acquisition of Ariba

Weekly PLM Reading List:

Other Important PLM Stuff:

Until next time, have a great holiday weekend!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How Will Social Media Technology Impact PLM?

I just read an article (Read it here, if you like) that highlights the amazingly fast rise of Pinterest as a social media site. I also found some interesting statistics about people's experiences with social media:

  • 91% of today’s online adults use social media regularly
  • 300,000+ businesses have a presence on Facebook
  • 28% of smartphone owners watch video on their phone in a typical month
  • It has been found:
    • $15,000 in direct mail = 200 new customers
    • $7500 in billboard ads = 300 new customers
    • $0 spent on Twitter = 1,800 new customers
  • Only 18% of traditional TV ads generate a positive ROI
Facebook, Youtube, and eBay were the three top brand searches in 2011. The most popular social networks are Facebook, Twitter, and moving into third place, Pinterest; pushing Linkedin to number four.

Facebook is #1 today: 1 in 4 page views are on Facebook. Second is Youtube for video content, and finally Google is third. What this means is that if you don't have a presence on Facebook, or Youtube, then you are missing many of the eyeballs that you need to make money.

If you have a blog, or a traditional web presence, then you need to make sure people can link between your various social personas easily and quickly; many companies do not understand this yet. Mobility is also a strong trend, as more and more people log into the internet from smart-phones, iPads, Kindles, and other mobile devices. If your web site looks like a steaming pile of moose poo-poo on a mobile device, then you will not get the kind of traction you are hoping for from your web site.

Companies are not only working on their traditional web presence, but some of the heavy-weights are getting into the social media space big-time. SAP just bought Ariba for $4.3 billion to support the cloud and mobility, bought Buddy Media for $690 million, and Oracle just bought Vitrue for $300 million and then they bought Collective Intellect, all to support social clouds, mobility, and social analytics.

All of these new technologies will have a big impact on PLM. The way your users collaborate will change dramatically in the next 5 years: We will go from a predominantly email collaboration model to a cloud-based social platform model; We will see a much stronger push for mobile access to all information; We will see the emergence of Social PLM. These changes will help you, or your competitors, to be more efficient and productive; which, is up to you.

What changes do you see coming in your business?



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top 10 Ways to Tell if Your Business Needs PLM

How can you tell if your organization needs PLM? It won't help to use a crystal ball, or consult your daily horoscope. It will require you to look at your business and figure out how it can be more innovative and efficient. In my opinion, everyone needs PLM. Take a look at this list, and see where PLM can help you.

How to tell if you need PLM:

10) It takes a long time to find the correct information, and after you find it, you are still not 100% sure it is the latest information.
9) In order to find product design information, you need to look in 3 or more different systems.
8) Large parts of your business are still managed with Microsoft XL Spreadsheets.
7) Email is your companies #1 collaboration method.
6) There is no link between your Engineering BOM and your Manufacturing BOM
5) You believe PLM is just another basic module of ERP that can be easily implemented.
4) Your existing PDM/PLM software is heavily customized.
3) You are still using intelligent part numbers.
2) Workflow and change processes are handled manually by passing around file folders.
1) PDM and PLM are used interchangeably and mean the same thing in your organization.

One of the best ways to get on the path to PLM is with education throughout your organization. PLM education will dispel misconceptions, solve the above challenges and more. If you think your organization needs a better understanding of PLM, there is no better way than to get educated.

A typical plan for this kind of activity might have you or one of your colleagues attend a PLM Certificate Course, then make a plan to bring a customized course into your company where many people can be trained.

Keep working, and soon your organization can realize the benefits of PLM efficiency and innovation.


- Jim

Monday, May 21, 2012

Making Connections at PLM Connection 2012

I recently spent several days at the Siemens PLM Connnection 2012 event in Las Vegas. Luckily, I did not lose all my money and end up in a ditch. I also did not sell my hair to a wig shop; but I digress. Despite all the distractions there, I was able to learn a lot of new things. There were tons and tons of sessions to choose from and a lot of good information was shared; three of the sessions were actually mine (below), so I am a bit biased.

CIMdata PLM University Session 1
CIMdata PLM University Session 2
CIMdata PLM University Session 3

Most importantly I met some great people! We often follow people on Twitter, or read blogs, or watch videos, but often we don't actually meet many of the people we follow. Two of the people I met there were Susan Cinadr (@susancinadr) and Dora Smith (@dorsmith). I have followed both of these interesting people for several months on Twitter, and now I have actually met them; they are much nicer in person, by the way.

There are many lessons one could take a way from PLM Connection 2012. What stands out for me is the amazing breadth and depth of PLM technologies available today. A popular Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting times", was actually an ancient curse. All the options for PLM today might seem daunting, but there is no reason to worry when you have an event like PLM Connection where you can learn as much as you want.

These are certainly interesting times for PLM. There are new technologies like cloud computing, big data analysis, mobility, gamification, social PLM, and others that will make big impacts. I look forward to seeing what Siemens PLM will do in the future to support these and other exciting technologies.

For me, PLM Connection 2012 provided a peek into the expanding world of PLM, and provided a lot of food for thought. I look forward to future events where I can continue to connect with my social peeps!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Nobody Cares About Your Stupid Website!

I was touring some local model homes with my wife recently. We are not in the market for a new home, but this is one of my wife's "hobbies". She just loves to go look at new model homes. I guess I can see why: they are clean and welcoming, they smell nice, and the people there always make you feel wanted.

The other day I was searching around the internet (like I do almost every day), and I realized that I don't look for websites as much as I use to. In the old days, I was always looking for the best website to tell me about a product, or gain information, or find a cool link. Today, I have noticed that I tend to follow links from my social media "friends" that send me to blogs, to Facebook, to Tweets, to Linkedin, and eventually, maybe, to a traditional website.

Most of the time, when I visit a corporate web site, I can't find a link to their Faceboook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, or other social accounts, this leaves me frustrated (I get frustrated a lot). At the very least, a corporate web page should provide a solid jumping off point for the rest of their social presence. This led me to wonder just how important web sites, search engine optimization (SEO), and site optimization in general is to the overall brand messages and information that we seek on the internet.

I recently read an article titled: "Why 'The Atlantic' No Longer Cares About SEO". One of the things they are doing is not worrying about writing articles for Google search algorithms, but writing articles that real people want to read, share, rewteet, repost, etc. They are, "capitalizing on the growing importance of social networks, rather than search engines, as sources of traffic." I think this is a growing trend, and one that I see more and more every day.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, the first place people look for information about you or your brand is not necessarily on your web page. They likely look at blogs, tweets, videos, and other sources as well. By the time they get to your website, most people have already formed an opinion about you; sometimes they NEVER get to your web site at all! Your competition is becoming more social as we speak, can you afford to do nothing?

Just like walking into someone's home, people must find a very social and friendly atmosphere on your web site. If you have an old-school site with static pages and very little social content, you will likely miss out on many potential customers. These potential "friends" will get up, spill their drink, and take their social presence elsewhere; and no one wants that.

What do you think? Is your website inviting people inside, or pushing them away?


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Center of PLM Universe Has Been Discovered!

Have you ever asked yourself, "where is the center of the PLM universe"? Do you  often find yourself looking up at the sky and dreaming of a day when the knowledge of PLM will distill upon your soul like the dew from heaven? Do you ever find your mind wandering aimlessly when you are suppose to be focusing on important projects? Yea, me too. I have good news for all you star-gazing dreamers: the center of the PLM universe has been discovered, and it's in Norway!

The location of this cosmic discovery might surprise you. However, if you are familiar with the origins of man on this planet, you will not be surprised at all. Norway has long been regarded as one of the prime inception points of man. What is surprising, is that this location can be further narrowed down to a picturesque house just outside of Oslo (see picture).

During the month of June, this will be the center of the PLM universe. For 5 days there will be a strong selection of PLM education provided here for anyone that wants to  increase their knowledge. Take a look at the agenda and you will see that this education will be comprehensive and very focused. Don't waste your time implementing PLM without the knowledge to do it right.

Sign up today, and get the PLM education you need to take your business to the next level.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Off to Las Vegas for Siemens PLM Connection 2012

I am currently packing my bags for Siemens PLM Connection 2012 happening next week, May 7-10 in Las Vegas. My daughter and 2 grand kids live in Las Vegas, so I am planning to have a fun, fun time. All I can says is, there better be some golf along the way.

I will be joined by my CIMdata colleague Ken Amann. We will be providing PLM education on Monday and Tuesday. I look forward to "hitting the strip" and meeting some of the excellent people I have been interacting with on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, and Pinterest (ok, I'm just kidding about Pinterest).

The agenda for this conference is jam packed with presentations and information about all kinds of interesting topics: the US manufacturing aging workforce crisis, transforming your business, and Boeing's PLM vision, just to name a few. There are also many product related sessions on NX, Teamcenter, HD3D, Active Workspace, Tecnomatix, Velocity products, and more. It appears to me there is no one place where you could possibly learn so much about Siemens PLM technology in a short time, and have fun doing it.

I will be tweeting from the conference (follow @plmjim with #plmconx), and plan to share a blog with pictures when I return. I know there will be a lot to share, and I look forward to the opportunity to learn just a little more about the direction of PLM as charted by Siemens PLM.

I am also excited to provide some PLM education to the participants. I hope they are ready for a lot of information in a short time; I have so much to share.

We are living in an exciting time! There are so many new technologies on the horizon that portend powerful changes in the PLM landscape. But, change is scary. Those who are not well equipped to handle change will fade away. Those who are ready to embrace change will prosper.

I will share more with you when I return!

Full Disclosure: Siemens PLM is paying my expenses to attend this conference (but not the golf).