Breathing new life into PLM

Have you ever wondered how a product, let’s say a simple smartphone for illustrative purposes, gets to market? What does it take to move from plant conception to full production? And how different is today’s product lifecycle to that of just a decade ago when the term Industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution) was unheard of?

Digital is key here. Its potential impact on manufacturing and the end-to-end product lifecycle is huge. I say ‘potential’ because many manufacturers have yet to fully benefit from the move to digital. In fact, the Capgemini 2015 World Quality Report assessing global trends in Testing and Quality Assurance suggests that the manufacturing sector – along with transportation – is lagging behind the digital maturity of other sectors.

Nonetheless, we are beginning to see its impact as it enables faster product and assets lifecycle management that accelerates time-to-market. Digital can help to extend product life with optimized industrial operations management, such as remote management, preventive and proactive maintenance, and it is introducing increasingly intelligent configurations of production processes, factories and infrastructure.

Transforming PLM

To fully reap the benefits, however, manufacturers must embrace product lifecycle management (PLM) transformation. At Capgemini, we believe this is part of the evolving digital journey that is preparing our clients for tomorrow. It’s a future in which the intelligent use of data and insight, driven by customer experience, offers market differentiation and competitive advantage.

So what will a transformed PLM solution look like? It will see more manufacturers being able to imagine a product even when it doesn’t physically exist and simulating all the component parts of its lifecycle. It will break down silos of operation. How? Digital will enable extended collaborations around process and in the management of master models within different systems using new technologies, such as XBOM, etc. This collaboration will extend across Bill-of-material (BOM), Digital-mock-up (DMU) and Building information management (BIM).

The greater visibility and cooperation between business, engineering and manufacturing operations that comes with PLM transformation will reduce duplication, improve resource efficiency and inventory management, and align product development with known customer need.

Intelligent digital practices

A transformed, next generation PLM capability will also be one in which new and emerging technologies play a part. In the digital manufacturing context, the PLM environment has to deal with production optimization tools and intelligent digital practices provided to the digital worker, for example around augmented reality, connected objects, etc.

This truly is an exciting time for those of interested in products and how to better manage their lifecycle right through to retirement. Sourcing, integrating and deploying the right PLM solution in a digital manufacturing context will have lasting business impact.

To find out more about Capgemini Digital Manufacturing services, read our brochure.

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