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Business Management

Rafiq Somani (India) - Attaining Value from PLM Adoption

Asia has tremendous manufacturing potential for niche and innovative custom product development. In the last 20 years, manufacturers have become standards-based. If you look at the downturn, manufacturing's growth rate dropped from around 14% to 12%, and this is speaking only about India. R&D continues to be significantly invested in.

There is definitely a lot of demand in the market. A significant revenue in Asia is generated from manufacturing. At the same time, the Asian consumer is also becoming more demanding. When Ford launched the Escort in India, it flopped because customers wanted the new, most recent model. So the potential for manufacturing has not only grown exponentially for global consumption, but also within Asia. With such potential, it is only fair that manufacturing companies invest in a PLM solution that helps them not only reduce their time to market, but also helps them innovate to meet customer needs and demands.

Automotive OEMs, industrial engineering companies, tier 1 auto component suppliers as well as defense companies are going in for PLM to help their manufacturing processes become more progressive, efficient, and innovative. In discrete manufacturing, over the last five to six years, the top brass have realized that their product gives them a competitive advantage. PLM helps reduce cycle time, improve quality and cuts down the cost of products. If you have to bring out innovative products, then PLM is key.

Today, CAD/CAM is a piece of PLM. Chennai-based auto component maker, Ditech, is a 16 crore company and it has invested 25% of its revenues towards buying Windchill with the goal of capturing knowledge as the company faces a high rate of attrition. So set ups of all sizes and categories are realizing the benefits of PLM.

What differentiates PLM from ERP is that ERP is transactional in nature and does not come with strategic advantage to the organization. However PLM cannot solve organizational issues single handedly and user behavior must change to achieve significant advantage out of it. That's the bigger challenge, how to get people to do things differently. It is not sufficient to have teams work in isolation, focused only on their piece of the puzzle. And it is definitely not wise to think about product development as disconnected from the economics of the company.

Instead, think about product development as a strategic lever used to improve the corporation. Consider the results when product development is supported by comprehensive PLM technology that offers not only great capabilities, but also real improvement for key business process which are tightly aligned to the company's financial goals. When these things converge, the PLM adopter is in for a good ride!

 

Rafiq Somani is Area Vice President, PTC

 

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