Earlier this week, LNS Research attended the Siemens PLM Connection 2012 Americas User Conference where enhancements in the Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) space were the focal point. The event, running from May 7-9, opened discussion for recent changes in the industry and also highlighted several of Siemens’ current and future projects. Starting off with first-hand experiences from customers such as Boeing, Honeywell, GM, and more, presentations on emerging products and processes were later given by leaders in the Siemens organization.
The following is a two-part blog. Today’s post will note on industry trends and also client presentations given at the Siemens PLM Connection 2012. The next post will have a short analysis of discussed Siemens product enhancements and the future direction of the vendor’s strategy.
Manufacturing Industry Trends
Siemens is keyed-in to many of the same industry trends that LNS Research has been following for the past several years. Of all these trends, perhaps most notably is the digital revolution of the manufacturing industry. Many leading companies today are looking to create a digital representation of the complete value chain. Take for example P&G, a company LNS Research follows closely, where it is well documented that there is a corporate directive straight from the CEO, Bob McDonald, to create a digital enterprise that stretches all the way from “molecule to the shelf.”
Although P&G didn’t present at this event, Siemens executives quickly focused on similar issues. For example, Siemens Teamcenter SVP and General Manager, Eric Sterling, discussed a recent feature on the topic in The Economist, where the magazine referred to the current period of advancement as the “Digital Revolution.” This term, an updated version of the Industrial Revolution, could be dissected in many ways, but the general meaning for manufacturing relates to the replacement of laborious shop floor jobs with more service and information oriented positions.
This topic is an area of particular interest to LNS Research and we will be conducting a follow-up blog on the Digital Revolution in the near future.
Viewing the World through the Eyes of the Client
Since these industry changes have emerged from the increasing use of software to standardize, automate, consolidate and analyze data across an enterprise, it is very relevant to vendors like Siemens and its users.
A series of customers took the stage to discuss challenges faced in the manufacturing industry and the part Siemens has played in helping to overcome each issue. At a high level, the general tone of the client presentations seemed to revolve around integration. Large companies with thousands of processes and products, for obvious reasons, are met with adversity when trying to manage data throughout the value chain. Customers described using Siemens interoperable solutions to centralize information and processes as an initial way of moving closer to operating at a higher level of efficiency. The subsequent step toward this was using the system to analyze the data to find and resolve gaps.
A good example of this trend was highlighted in a customer presentation from Mercury Marine, which credited its recent stock price upswing to the use of PLM and the delivery of a new product release of its 150hp motor on time, on spec, and on budget.
Regarding the future, user focus surrounded the need to further integrate Siemens solutions; for example, finding improvements by linking the processes of mechanical to electrical engineering or engineering to the supply-chain. Cross-functional integration seems to be a growing theme and concern in the manufacturing space, as most companies already have strong groundwork in place by now.
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