When it comes to manufacturing solutions for your customers, streamlining your research and development processes with a PLM solution can help reduce the amount of time and resources spent on each aspect of the product lifecycle without sacrificing quality. In fact, many using a PLM suite can actually improve results when implemented.
At 4D Systems, we’ve delivered and maintained best-in-class product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions for Fortune 500 companies across the world. We partner with Siemens and Dassault to integrate their PLM solutions into our client’s workflows.
Today, we are going to cover how you can select the best PLM option for your business. We will start with explaining what PLM systems are, why we choose to partner with Siemens and Dassault compared to other competing solutions and explore relevant data that should help you make your decision.
When it comes to enterprise solutions, PLM is one of those rare instances where the acronym is a good self-descriptor all by itself. PLM solutions help manufacturers manage product flows across the entire lifecycle, from ideation to simulations, production, and beyond.
Discrete product manufacturers tend to be heavily vertically integrated. This has significant potential advantages, in terms of cost, design flexibility, and turnaround time. But it requires that you’re able to manage the product and see it through, every step of the way. PLM solutions, like the Dassault and Siemens solutions 4D Systems implements, can help you do this.
The primary benefits that a PLM solution offer include, but are not limited to:
PLM solutions provide your internal and external teams with greater information-sharing capabilities. Account for resource usage, changes, and product data within a dedicated solution that creates a comprehensive overview of the entire product lifecycle.
Simply stated, PLM systems help improve efficiency at all levels of the lifecycle. This results in the more efficient use of time and resources by removing operational barriers due to the lack of a comprehensive management solution.
With greater communication, documentation, and information-sharing capabilities, you can significantly reduce the time to market your products. This allows your teams to scale operationally without sacrificing the quality of the outcome.
There are a number of PLM solutions currently out on the market. At 4D Systems, we focus on Siemens and Dassault PLM because they offer enterprise clients the best value in terms of feature sets and scalability. Let’s take a look at why this is the case. When you’re making a decision about what PLM solution to leverage, there are three core areas you’ll want to consider:
By definition, PLM solutions are comprehensive in nature. This means that a top-tier PLM solution should be able to guide your manufacturing process end to end. With this in mind, here are a few of the key features you’ll want to look out for:
Discrete products are made out of a number of parts, each with its own price implications. The BOM management modules in Siemens Teamcenter and Dassault Enovia enable you to go beyond order quantities and unit costs, factoring in different sub-assemblies and a range of BOM hierarchies. This lets you discover and rationalize cost centers with a high level of granularity.
While Aras Innovator, Arena Solutions, and Oracle PLM do feature built-in, hierarchical BOM management, their capabilities are not as comprehensive. Siemens and Dassault shine through in terms of cross-domain BOM management. Both of these solutions let you break down costs in terms of different functional domains. This means you can monitor just engineering costs, or just sub-assembly costs, resulting in finer-tuned controls.
Change is a natural occurrence across the product lifecycle. Products evolve at every stage, and it’s important that key changes are reflected across the board for consistency.
Change management software can help your team document and track occurrences of change at every step of the lifecycle. The Siemens and Dassault PLM suites feature exceptionally complete change management modules.
Siemens Teamcenter, for instance, allows you to configure change hierarchies. Simple changes can be implemented by the process owner, but the system can flag significant changes that will require vetting by decision-making personnel. Teamcenter’s closed-loop change management process provides organizational leaders with comprehensive feedback regarding the impact of a given change, helping you to optimize and iterate.
For example, if you’re a car manufacturer and you’re tracking the impact of engineering changes to comply with new safety standards, Siemens Teamcenter’s closed-loop system will notify you about updated safety characteristics after the change. A leader in your organization can then review these notifications and make a far more informed decision regarding the next steps after the change has occurred.
Arena Solutions and Aras also feature change management capabilities. However, Arena’s CM module focuses on Engineering and Aras places greater emphasis on collaborative change, which might not be useful if you have approval processes and channels in place. Relative to Enovia and Teamcenter, change management capabilities are a bit more niche and less feature-complete.
The product lifecycle is increasingly data-driven. From multiple CAD models to requirement specifications and manufacture instructions, there’s a large range of data, per product, that needs to be tracked and managed.
Both Teamcenter PDM and Enovia Smarteam feature sophisticated product data management capabilities. They prioritize security and process enablement while administrative functions and version checks ensure that your IP is in the right hands at all times.
These two PDM solutions can tightly integrate with your processes, change management, and BOM management capabilities. This enables you to ensure that process owners at every step of a project have access to the right product data and the ability to update the changes that are made at any point in the product lifecycle.
You are likely using a wide range of software solutions at different stages of the product lifecycle. This highlights integration capabilities as a critical factor when deciding on the right PLM solution. When your business systems are united, this provides a complete picture of the various stages, changes, and generated data that results from processes and operations.
Both Siemens Teamcenter and Dassault Enovia are tightly integrated with a range of tools across the product life cycle. This ranges from CAD/CAM at the ideation stage to OLP solutions for manufacturing to your accounting and ERP.
As market leaders, Enovia and Teamcenter possess broader compatibilities than their competitors and it is why 4D Systems deploys these solutions to our customers. Simply put, Teamcenter and Enovia solutions are more likely to work right out of the box with your existing process flow when compared to other available solutions.
As enterprise solutions, all the PLMs we have discussed require thoughtful consideration from a financial investment standpoint. When making an important decision that impacts your operational budgets, selecting the right option that will generate the most value for your business is paramount.
While setup costs may be slightly more, we’ve found Enovia and Teamcenter to be more cost-effective for businesses of all sizes, relative to Arena and Aras, with enhanced cost scaling at 250-500+ seats. And because 4D Systems handles implementation and support, your TCO comes down further as well. As you scale up, Enovia and Teamcenter can offer a 2-3x cost advantage as you scale up.
At the end of the day, selecting the right PLM solution for your product lifecycle processes involves identifying the capabilities, integrations, and pricing that best align with your business needs. When you decide to invest in improving information sharing and operational efficiency across your teams, you deserve to receive the value that you expect.
With over a decade of experience in enterprise-scale PLM integration, our team at 4D systems can help you generate the most value from your investment in a top-tier PLM solution. We have provided solutions across a wide range of use cases and industries worldwide.
Our team has thoroughly tested and vetted a broad range of PLM solutions to identify the top-tier systems that can generate the most value for your business. We offer Teamcenter and Enovia because we have found that these two offer consistent, cost-effective results across the most use cases.
If you are considering integrating PLM solutions across your workflow, please contact 4D Systems at (800) 380-9165 or by emailing us at [email protected]. Our team looks forward to speaking with you about aligning Siemens Teamcenter and Dassault Enovia with your business needs by improving accountability, saving costs, and reducing time to market.