20 March 2012
Value Chain Transformation; Oracle Agile Product Lifecycle Management Summit 2012 (Commentary)
Oracle held its 2012 Agile PLM Summit in February. This user-targeted event was similar in concept to past Agile customer conferences, known as Agility and attracted Agile PLM users from diverse business segments. The 2012 Agile PLM Summit had a number of themes for life sciences, high-tech electronics, and companies that design products using mechanical CAD systems. Over 200 users attended from more than 100 companies.
One important concept presented by Mr. John Kelley, VP of PLM Product Strategy, and illustrated in the following figure, was that the reality of what constitutes a best practice in technologies and work processes is always changing—the benchmark continues to evolve. The challenge for organizations like Agile PLM is to constantly upgrade their capabilities to assure that the user is not stranded in an old paradigm. The challenge for PLM users is to recognize that change is continuous, and to embrace changes at appropriate times, both as the company’s requirements change and as PLM products evolve.
Best Practices of the Past May be Only Stable Practices Today
Among the user presentations was a compelling story from Ms. Jennifer Chapman, Dell’s Director of Global Product Data Program Office. Dell processes an enormous number of online customer contacts each day from around the world. They use Agile to manage product data based on these inquiries and other information from both internal and external users. Dell has over 10,000 users. Interestingly, over 4,000 of these are external to the company, in its suppliers and are distributed globally. Ms. Chapman offered advice on some of the main challenges with implementing a large and complex PLM environment. First, diligently manage PLM program complexity. Second, secure global business alignment, to avoid fragmented and disparate solutions. Third, business leadership will help facilitate business transition to new solutions and processes.
Another strong customer account was presented by Mr. Mark Rutkiewicz, Quality Director of St. Jude Medical/AGA Medical Corporation. He related how Agile is used to support activities relating to change orders, field complaints, CAPAs, and other quality related activities, as well as for regulatory compliance. He also discussed management of the device master record (DMR) and design history files (DHF) for companies in the medical devices industry. One substantial benefit among many he presented was the ability to handle change more quickly in Agile when compared to manual processes. In their paper-based work process they could handle about 12 change orders per month, with each taking about 26 days from submission to close. With Agile they are able to process 50 product changes per month (plus 250 non-product changes), and these take an average of 4½ days from submission to close. St. Jude’s experience is that having a 100% electronic process helps them immensely with FDA compliance reporting and provides greatly improved visibility to product-related information throughout all parts of their business. The St. Jude Agile configuration continues to grow and evolve.
Another important part of the AgilePLM Summit 2012 was the description of advancements in CAD integrations. This is critical for Oracle as they grow their discrete manufacturing market. The Agile Engineering Collaboration module provides an architecture for creating connectors and provides fluid management in a number of areas that are important to mechanical manufacturing organizations. These include WIP and released data management, native MCAD data management, automatic creation of viewable files, bi-directional attribute exchange, version and revision control, and BOM publishing from CAD design structures. Direct CAD connectors that are currently available include those for Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Siemens NX, CATIA V5, and Inventor.
The Agile PLM Summit 2012 was well presented and attended. From CIMdata’s point of view it was good to see a more publicly visible presence by the Agile team than has been apparent over the past several years. Many enhancements to the Agile PLM applications were presented and the overall direction was well supported by customer reports and comments.
CIMdata, an independent worldwide firm, provides strategic management consulting to maximize an enterprise’s ability to design and deliver innovative products and services through the application of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). CIMdata provides world-class knowledge, expertise, and best-practice methods on PLM. CIMdata also offers research, subscription services, publications, and education through international conferences. To learn more about CIMdata’s services, visit our website at www.CIMdata.com or contact CIMdata at: 3909 Research Park Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA. Tel: +1 (734) 668-9922. Fax: +1 (734) 668-1957; or at Oogststraat 20, 6004 CV Weert, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 (0) 495 533 666. Follow PLM News: http://twitter.com/#!/CIMdataPLMNews
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