• This infographic shares the importance of developing a cohesive digital thread when developing formulated products in the consumer packaged goods industry. The digital thread should be driven by customer requirements and incorporate the recipe / formulation, specifications, packaging design, compliance information, claims, cautions, ingredients, labeling, artwork, and more to provide a full view of the product and it's design history. An effective CPG Digital Thread relies on an integrated Product Innovation Platform to connect product data from early in the front end of innovation through development, … [ read more ]

    The CPG Digital Thread (infographic)
  • Join Tech-Clarity's Jim Brown on this webinar sharing  recent survey results from almost 200 Consumer Packaged Goods companies, delving into their quality issue and how top performing CPG companies achieve better quality without suffering from excess internal cost. Learn the process, organizational, and technology approaches that Top Performers leverage to overcome their challenges and drive cost-effective quality. This Business Review Webinars event is brought to you by Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA. Register for the June 20th webcast now (free of charge, registration required). All registrants will … [ read more ]

    Cost Effective Quality in CPG (webcast, survey results)
  • On Thursday June 8, 2017  please join Michelle Boucher as she conducts a live interview with Mark Turner, Technical Manager for Development IT at Alcon, a Novartis Division. They will focus on key topics for medical device companies, including the Case for Quality. During the discussion, Michelle will share research on medical device industry trends. She will also discuss the implications for the Case for Quality and offered advice to efficiently manage regulatory compliance. Throughout the discussion, she will have an interactive conversation with Mark Turner. Mark will reveal how Alcon addresses their … [ read more ]

    Live Interview – Medical Devices: Making the Right Choice — Your Case for Quality
  • This eBook shares survey results analyzing companies' ability to hit new product development (NPD) targets, then offers seven practical tips identified by the research as best practice processes, organization, and technology leveraged by the top performing product developers. The research provides recommendations to companies based on the approaches taken by the Top Performers, those that are able to outperform their competitors in revenue growth, margin expansion, and delivering innovative products to market. Please enjoy the summary below. For the full report, please visit our sponsor Autodesk (free … [ read more ]

    7 Ways to Outperform Your Competitors in NPD (eBook, survey results)
  • Medical Device companies have the opportunity to leverage digitalization and the digital enterprise to develop innovative products and bring them to market quickly. Watch this edition of Tech-Clarity TV to learn about the digitalization opportunity and stay tuned for the rest of the series detailing specific business improvement opportunities including: Digital design Digital design transfer Paperless manufacturing The video shares how medical device manufacturers are embracing digitalization and gaining significant benefits including faster time to market, increased quality, and improved … [ read more ]

    The Digitalization Opportunity for Medical Device Companies (video)

PLM Hits the Road – and the Plant – and the Service Depot…


A quick peek into some research on … how mobile devices like the iPad can extend PLM value. Tech-Clarity recently published two papers, PLM Goes Mobile and Product and Program Management Goes Mobile. These papers explore the ways that using mobile PLM applications and devices can extend the opportunity for engineers and others in the product lifecycle to contribute, decide, act, and innovate with PLM.

UPDATE: For the IT perspective, please see this post about What the CIO Should Know about Mobile PLM

The Research Findings

Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 are revolutionizing the way people access media and information. About a year ago, I decided to buy one of the first iPads available as a birthday present (yes, for myself). I never regretted the decision until I saw how much more elegant and functional the iPad 2 is. Now I am envious. But as new as the iPad is, mobile devices and applications are not new. I researched business uses of mobile devices in papers such as SLM Goes Mobile which discusses taking field service applications into the field. But up to this point, the value of PLM hasn’t been widely available in a mobile setting. Things are changing. As these reports say, “Devices like the iPad are well suited for the intersection of business and mobility.”

The reports highlight the issues that traditional PLM-capable devices put on mobile workers. The report discusses two distinct sets of users, each with their own challenges:

  • Users that are extending the reach of their enterprise systems outside of the office, such as in a plane, doctor’s office, or meeting
  • Those that use mobile applications as their primary device, such as service technicians or manufacturing supervisors

The reports point out a wide variety of locations and scenarios where mobile applications can help with PLM (see Mobile PLM Framework diagram). They also point out the limitations of current devices in mobile scenarios. For example, one of the biggest differentiations (you know what I mean if you have an iPad) is that laptops are not mobile devices, they are portable devices. They are of very little use until you get from point A to point B and set them down on a flat surface. And for all of us that struggle with trying to type on a PC in coach airplane seats, you know that even that is a challenge. Compare that to the challenges faced by someone climbing up and down a piece of equipment or an aircraft in the hangar! The report also points out why smart phones fall short. Although the iPad will not be the only device that will be capable of running PLM applications, it will set the trend because it is the first one ready.

The reports also highlight mobile scenarios for different functions in the business. In fact, the papers were designed to address different perspectives:

  • For engineers and engineering managers, the issue is a lot of decision-making and innovation goes uncaptured or gets put on hold when an engineer is mobile.
  • For manufacturing personnel in the plant or service technicians at the service depot (or in the field), they simply don’t have convenient access to the product information they need to do their jobs.
  • For product and program managers, the issue is that mobile team members need to decide, approve, and contribute to their projects and programs in real-time regardless of whether they are sitting in front of a computer.

Please feel free to download the reports, there is far too much to go into in a blog post. But I hope this gives you some idea of what to expect in the reports.

Implications for Manufacturers

So what can manufacturers do to take advantage of the mobile PLM opportunity? The first thing they should do is recognize the limitations that they currently face from their devices. They should also recognize that the challenges for mobile PLM are not limited to devices, but also the applications. Simply running an existing PLM application in a web browser will fall short of expectations (and likely not get used). Mobile users need mobile apps, not PLM applications built for desktops or laptops (with a mouse, keyboard, and one or more large monitors). Mobile PLM applications should be built for mobile scenarios and use visual navigation. The iPad has great graphics and is very capable of showing high resolution product graphics, but work their best when they are running “apps” specifically designed for their form factor. The opportunity to extend PLM information and decision-making to mobile scenarios is in reach with the iPad (and other devices to come) and the availability of mobile PLM apps.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on how mobile technology can have a positive impact on PLM, I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.

Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity.


  1. Thanks for this, it is an interesting challenge to create PLM solutions that can be used by people on-the-go. I think it will be interesting to see what comes first – market demand, or technological availability.

  2. Thanks for this, it is an interesting challenge to create PLM solutions that can be used by people on-the-go. I think it will be interesting to see what comes first – market demand, or technological availability. n


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