Cloud-based PLM a necessity for successful digitalisation

Posted on 4 Jan 2023 by The Manufacturer

With an increasing number of companies attempting to embrace digitisation, PTC’s Dave Hughes stresses the need for management to drive it and to place your faith in the cloud.

To fully benefit from digitalisation in an organisation, it must be implemented from a holistic perspective – and driven by management.

If you want to maximise the business benefits of digitising the process of bringing new products to market, you need to look cross-functionally. This, then becomes a management issue, says Dave Hughes, Director of Solutions Consulting at PTC.

In a survey by McKinsey, 21% responded that a move to the cloud is what is required to succeed with their digitisation, whilst 20% said that a holistic view of the organisation’s data, a single source of truth, across all functional boundaries is also required. A further McKinsey study shows that cross-functional working can improve organisational performance by 30-40%.

PLM needs to go to the top

As a result, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are now increasingly becoming a management issue.

“Historically, PLM has only been used by the Engineering department, but today PLM, or more accurately, the data that is sourced in PLM, is also used by production and aftermarket,” continued Hughes.

“These are three overarching functions that must constantly talk to each other to develop, produce, deliver and service products. No matter where you are in the production chain, whether you are creating the digital product, producing the physical product, or using the final product, you can contribute product information in some way. Now we’re talking product lifecycle management for real.”

By moving your PLM solution into the cloud, all data is collected in one place, and becomes accessible to everyone in the organisation, regardless of function, geographical distance, or time zones – 24/7.

“This is a fundamental difference in approach. In many companies, small islands of information have been created that don’t talk to each other. There is then a risk that the business starts to sub-optimise its decisions, which negatively affects quality and time. That’s why PLM should be positioned at management level.”

Dave Hughes, Director of Solutions Consulting at PTC

Dave Hughes, Director of Solutions Consulting at PTC

PLM solutions increase sustainability

Now the sustainability of the business can also increase. When all production equipment and machines are connected and data is easily accessible, there is a better understanding of where emissions or waste could be unnecessary idling in the production chain.

“When all this information comes back to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), action can be taken. Sustainability becomes another aspect of the product lifecycle, and it is with PLM that it is created,” said Hughes.

Windchill+ is the latest version of PTC’s PLM software and is a cloud-based SaaS solution. It was launched this spring.

“If you want to digitise, you must think big and across functional boundaries. Infrastructure built in the cloud achieves this, and Windchill+ does just that,” concluded Hughes.

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