Can the “L” in PLM stand for lean?

Some manufacturers are finding that product life-cycle management (PLM) software can serve as platform for applying lean principles to the product development process. Jim Brown, VP of product innovation and engineering research at Boston-based Aberdeen Group, describes the application of lean principles to product development as “a leading-edge approach,” but one that is growing ...

09/01/2007


Some manufacturers are finding that product life-cycle management (PLM) software can serve as platform for applying lean principles to the product development process.

Jim Brown, VP of product innovation and engineering research at Boston-based Aberdeen Group, describes the application of lean principles to product development as “a leading-edge approach,” but one that is growing in popularity—particularly among automotive and industrial equipment manufacturers.

It is not yet as common as lean manufacturing,” Brown says. “However, these companies are looking for the same kinds of opportunities for improvements in product development that they have been getting by applying lean in manufacturing.”

Southgate, Mich.-based ASC Inc . drastically reduced the time it takes to turn out its custom open-air vehicle roofing systems by applying lean principles in conjunction with PLM software from Dassault Systemes .

Streamlining the product development process was critical for ASC because each of its customers requires a roof system that accommodates the specific characteristics—such as speed of operation, materials, and style—of a particular vehicle. While ASC works from a basic product platform called the InfiniVu, each customer order requires unique changes to that base design.

Prior to adopting Dassault's CATIA PLM package, it took at least a half-dozen of ASC's people about a week to adapt the InfiniVu design to a new vehicle. Now they can do it about an hour.

The CATIA package allows ASC to capture knowledge gained during InfiniVu development, so that lessons can be integrated with future designs for other vehicles.

We are now able to 'morph' an InfiniVu to a customer's roof surface and conduct analyses in a manner of minutes, instead of days,” reports Chris Theodore, vice chairman of ASC. “This provides benefits related to speed, accuracy, and minimization of waste associated with design errors.” In short, it creates a significantly leaner product development process.

The key to successful lean PLM is turning it into a formal process, or a set of formal processes. The same holds true when lean principles are applied to manufacturing and supply chain processes. “A lot of companies will report that they had a great lean project, but it ends up not being sustainable, scalable, or repeatable. A formal process provides these benefits,” notes Rory Granros, director of process industries product marketing for Infor, an ERP software vendor with a PLM suite.

Infor's PLM package is aimed primarily at process-oriented manufacturers. But that hasn't stopped Sypris Electronics , a Tampa-based electronics manufacturing services provider, from using the Infor solution to support its lean PLM initiative.

Sypris used the Infor PDM (product data management) module to create a library of electronic data files—e.g., drawings, bills of material, engineering change orders. “The lean portion of PDM allows us to electronically transfer data between our customers and our suppliers, versus having to create CDs and mail them,” reports Joan Fuhremann, senior business analyst for Sypris. “It provides accurate control of the documentation.”

Sypris is a prime example of the way in which Aberdeen's Brown says most manufacturers are applying lean principles to PLM: as part of small-scale initiatives that yield incremental process improvements.

For PLM to become mainstream, vendors and manufacturers will have to overcome challenges inherent to the product development process. For instance, Aberdeen's Brown notes that manufacturing processes are naturally more amenable to lean principles because they involve predictable tasks that are fairly easy to examine, such as gauging the cycle time for a press. “However, the cycle time for turning a concept into a workable design is more difficult to predict and manage,” Brown explains. “Some concepts—on both the lean and PLM sides of the equation—may need to be adapted to take the differences into account.p>





Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
July 2018
Ladder logic best practices and object-oriented programming, safety instrumented systems, enclosure design issues and challenges, process control advice
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
PLCs
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. Featured articles in this digital report compare PLCs and programmable automation controllers (PACs), industrial PCs, and robotic controllers.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
July 2018
Ladder logic best practices and object-oriented programming, safety instrumented systems, enclosure design issues and challenges, process control advice
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
PLCs
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. Featured articles in this digital report compare PLCs and programmable automation controllers (PACs), industrial PCs, and robotic controllers.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Engineers' Choice Awards
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers.
System Integrator Giants
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
How to Maximize Factory Automation Efficiency with Low Cost Machine Vision
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Wireless Reliability in Harsh Environments
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
September 2018
Optimize controls via cloud software, ladder logic simulation, industrial wireless best practices
August 2018
Augmented reality and virtual reality education, autotuning PID control, cybersecurity advice, educating engineers
July 2018
Ladder logic best practices and object-oriented programming, safety instrumented systems, enclosure design issues and challenges, process control advice
Edge Computing
This article collection contains several articles on how today's technologies heap benefits onto an edge-computing architecture such as faster computing, better networking, more memory, smarter analytics, cloud-based intelligence, and lower costs.
Data Center Design
Data centers, data closets, edge and cloud computing, co-location facilities, and similar topics are among the fastest-changing in the industry.
PLCs
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. Featured articles in this digital report compare PLCs and programmable automation controllers (PACs), industrial PCs, and robotic controllers.
SIDB

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, progressive cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
John O. Ayuk, PE, CFSE, PMP, CAP
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
Doug Baker
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me