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Putting the Q in PLM (PTC does quality management)

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I had the chance to talk with PTC about the important role that PLM plays in ensuring product quality. PTC shared their views on quality and reliability and followed up by giving me some detailed insight into their Relex reliability management solution and how it fits into the PLM ecosystem. It turns out PTC is doing quite a bit to bring a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) to their PLM community.

Putting the Q in PLM

The discussion was a follow up to some of my past posts (rants?) on expanding PLM to include quality management. Addressing quality early in the product lifecycle offers significant advantages by designing quality into the product up front. I have written in the past about the importance of Quality Lifecycle Management (QLM) and Quality Risk Management (QRM), and proposed that Quality Risk Management might be the missing link in PLM. My belief is that quality is inherently a product lifecycle issue and that integrating quality management into PLM helps companies design for quality and then close the loop between Engineering and product quality in the field.

What do they Do?

So where does PTC, one of the leading PLM vendors, come into play when we start talking about quality management? Well, PTC has been busy. They acquired Relex in 2009 and NetRegulus in 2007. With this combination PTC covers a large spectrum of the quality management systems spectrum. PTC helps companies develop quality requirements, and then trace them through design FMEAs to process FMEAs and all the way to control plans (including test procedures). This ensures that those criteria that are critical to quality are both designed into the product and designed into the quality assurance processes. At this point, the quality plans are ready to be passed on to execution systems (as shown in this diagram on integrating PLM, ERP, and MES).

Beyond planning, PTC also offers tools to help improve quality and reliability by capturing failures, documenting test data, developing non-conformance reports, and analyzing trends. PTC supports quality management processes such as FRACAS, 8D, and CAPA that are designed to help companies learn from failures and observations to improve quality. With these processes, PTC is executing on a vision to close the loop on product quality.

What don’t they do? I think it is important that PTC recognizes their role in the product lifecycle. Another main portion of QMS supports the execution side of manufacturing. This involves shop floor data collection and statistical process control (SPC) among other capabilities. PTC is sticking to the planning side of quality and design for quality, along with capabilities to provide feedback on quality performance to engineers. A good move on their part, because the execution side is crowded and more integrated to manufacturing execution systems (MES) than PLM.

What do they Offer?

Relex is PTC’s suite of solutions targeted at improving quality, reliability, safety, and risk management. NetRegulus is now a part of Windchill QMS which covers complaints, CAPA, non-conformance, and supports quality audits. Windchill QMS helps companies show due diligence and comply with industry standards for quality. Together, PTC has developed a suite of quality solutions that covers a broad spectrum of quality management needs that complement and integrate with their other products. PTC has clearly made a statement that quality management is a big part of PLM. Expect more from PTC, including increased integration of QMS into Windchill and PLM workflows. Integration will be a key value driver for PTC’s offering in a market where QMS systems themselves are frequently built of a collection of standalone tools. PTC has the opportunity to offer not just an integrated application that allows integration, communication, and data flow between QMS applications but also links into Windchill BOMs, ECRs, ECOs, and other product data. Pretty compelling.

So that’s what I hear from PTC, I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them?

SPEAK YOUR MIND

    • Jeremy,
      Thank you for your reply. I am aware of Agile’s quality module. I mention Agile specifically in one of my earlier posts on quality in PLM http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2009/plm-quality-risk-management/.

      Although it has been a while since my last exposure to it, there are some significant differences between what PTC and Agile do. Likewise, Siemens PLM has a quality solution that is taking another tact by focusing on dimensionality. Aras also offers a quality module as a part of their PLM system.

      There are a number of different PLM solutions focused on quality, but there is quite a bit of variation in the approaches taken by the different vendors. I think it will be some time before we see quality as a consistent part of the PLM footprint.

      Thanks again for commenting,
      Jim

    • Jeremy,nThank you for your reply. I am aware of Agile’s quality module. I mention Agile specifically in one of my earlier posts on quality in PLM http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2009/plm-quality-risk-management/. nnAlthough it has been a while since my last exposure to it, there are some significant differences between what PTC and Agile do. Likewise, Siemens PLM has a quality solution that is taking another tact by focusing on dimensionality. Aras also offers a quality module as a part of their PLM system.nnThere are a number of different PLM solutions focused on quality, but there is quite a bit of variation in the approaches taken by the different vendors. I think it will be some time before we see quality as a consistent part of the PLM footprint.nnThanks again for commenting,nJim

  1. Very interesting you point this article out Jim as I have worked with PTC software products before. I always cringe when I hear “I had the chance to talk with … PTC about…”. My point is don’t listen to what people say, but actually watch what they do. That being said, reinvestment in R&D, acquiring companies to compete, etc. is similar to being a laggard as PTC has always been. In the industries they try to sell to compare to its competitors has made them very susceptible to being replaced in many industries. Old products at cheap prices never bode well for the bottom line of such a company. I am not speaking of their “vision” of Creo here. That is something to try to get them to catch up to where their competitors have been for years. All in all, I would never purchase from such a company as I am unsure they will be in business year to year. Again, thank you for your article.

    • Thanks for the dialogue. I am not sure I follow your point about “reinvestment in R&D, and acquiring companies to compete” being something that laggard companies do. If I look at most of the major players, acquisition has been a part of their strategy:

      – Dassault with acquisitions in most of their brands, including MatrixOne for Enovia, Abacus for Simulia, Delmia (multiple), SolidWorks, and now Exalead and Blue Kiwi
      – Siemens with Unigraphics and SDRC, Tecnomatix, and more
      – PTC with Windchill, CoCreate, Synapsis, the quality vendors mentioned in the post, Arbortext, and more
      – Oracle with Agile (and before that Agile with Eigner and Prodika)

      So I guess I am missing the point. Who are the leaders if these are all laggards because they acquired technology? From my experience, that is how suites of products grow – by acquiring peripheral solutions and integrating them into the core. Some companies integrate them directly, others acquire them and rewrite them in their own technology stack. PTC has done a bit of both, if I think about it. That is how ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, and now PLM have grown in scope.

      So how does this make PTC a laggard? I realize I haven’t addressed your point about Creo, but can we start here?

      PS – I’m sorry if I went overboard with the examples, you probably konw all of that. history as well or better than I do

      • Hi Jim,

        Good dialogue indeed. I guess I have to digress to my response and explain what I meant. Sorry for the confusion. If we look at reinvestment in technology, PTC and Siemens from a PLM standpoint have always been laggards, close to pennies on the revenue dollar for reinvestment. It shows in their old technology adapted over the last 10 years. PTC delivering a new version of Pro/e every two years tells me they have let that part of the business go to focus on Windchill. Siemens owning UG (2% of their business) tells me they are just a blip that is still “static” and business as usual. TeamCenter I like, but lack lots of integrations, well almost all. The main issue I had with my companies TC implemention was the cost after purchase that was is in the multi-million dollar range after our initial investment. That is what new customers fail to understand. That and the fact it is old technology, working the way we have done for 20 years does nothing for innovation, and creativity. Unfortunately customers are still not satisfied. In regards to CREO PTC will have a lot to deliver based on words spoken (like their user conference mid last year announcing CREO), and I am yet to believe they can do it (based on prior history of words vs deliverables).

        On the other hand Dassault, with acquisitions like M1 for example, have made them the forefront what every company should aspire to use if they need to go to an all encompassed integrated solution. With Dassault reinvestment in R&D well above what their competitors do have assisted with them giving the customer what they require in software to benefit and I know it is hard to just rip and replace systems of course, but integrations in place to support a multi-pdm model is possible. I see them as having the best forward thinking strategy toward helping a customer with productivity and minimal service after sale reinvestment. I hope my company can stop the bleeding of dollars and just dump the old, and get with a new integrated solution. We struggle daily with lost data, duplicate data of the same data model, and just plain searching for data.

        I see the new Dassault vision as a vision that is less costly compared to digging a hole for another 20 years (my opinion).

        BTW, what is Blue Kiwi? I have seen on their site that they have done a case study of social media, but I am not aware of any acquisitions. Please let me know what you have heard.

        • Thanks for explaining. First, here is a link to the initial announcement about blueKiwi.
          http://www.3ds.com/company/news-media/press-releases-detail/release/dassault-systemes-and-bluekiwi-software-a-joint-vision-of/single/2156/?cHash=570d46f933044b1bc33f0567756a1f46
          It has progressed beyond that now, Dassault is using it internally and they have also developed a product with the technology known as 3dswym (3D See What You Mean). I wrote about it in Reflections on Dassault Systemes Business, Strategy, and Progress at DSCC.
          http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/dscc/

        • Now, to respond to some of your points:

          I am also impressed with the DS vision. But are you running Teamcenter and comparing the reality of that implementation to the vision of using Dassault’s solutions? I always try to speak with people using the technology in addition to talking to the vendor, you can never really compare the reality favorably to the vision or demo of the competitor. That doesn’t take anything away from the DS vision, I like what I see.

          As for PTC, let me just say that I fully agree that PTC has a lot to deliver on with Creo. We are all waiting to see what comes to market. See my first impressions in New PTC Design Suite Announced – Lightning Creates Creo
          http://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/ptc-creo/

          I don’t agree with some of your point about Siemens. Siemens PLM hasn’t disappeared as a part of Siemens. They still have to perform and compete as they always have, and they are continuing to grow. I don’t see how having a large, stable parent company is a bad thing. As for TeamCenter, what version of the software is your company running? Are you up to date? There is a lot of CATIA being managed in TeamCenter, so DS must not have the magic bullet for PLM that makes TeamCenter irrelevant. I guess time will tell if V6 changes that as M1 takes over as the new PLM architecture for DS.

          As for cost – I am not sure that any large PLM implementation is going to come without a significant investment, regardless of the vision. There is a lot of value being achieved, and the vendors will charge more as usage expands. If you want to solve that one, maybe consider something like Aras which is open source and has no per-user license fees?

          Thanks again for sharing your story and your opinions,
          Jim

  2. Very interesting you point this article out Jim as I have worked with PTC software products before. I always cringe when I hear “I had the chance to talk with u2026 PTC aboutu2026u201d. My point is donu2019t listen to what people say, but actually watch what they do. That being said, reinvestment in R&D, acquiring companies to compete, etc. is similar to being a laggard as PTC has always been. In the industries they try to sell to compare to its competitors has made them very susceptible to being replaced in many industries. Old products at cheap prices never bode well for the bottom line of such a company. I am not speaking of their u201cvisionu201d of Creo here. That is something to try to get them to catch up to where their competitors have been for years. All in all, I would never purchase from such a company as I am unsure they will be in business year to year. Again, thank you for your article.

    • Thanks for the dialogue. I am not sure I follow your point about “reinvestment in R&D, and acquiring companies to compete” being something that laggard companies do. If I look at most of the major players, acquisition has been a part of their strategy:nn- Dassault with acquisitions in most of their brands, including MatrixOne for Enovia, Abacus for Simulia, Delmia (multiple), SolidWorks, and now Exalead and Blue Kiwin- Siemens with Unigraphics and SDRC, Tecnomatix, and moren- PTC with Windchill, CoCreate, Synapsis, the quality vendors mentioned in the post, Arbortext, and moren- Oracle with Agile (and before that Agile with Eigner and Prodika)nnSo I guess I am missing the point. Who are the leaders if these are all laggards because they acquired technology? From my experience, that is how suites of products grow – by acquiring peripheral solutions and integrating them into the core. Some companies integrate them directly, others acquire them and rewrite them in their own technology stack. PTC has done a bit of both, if I think about it. That is how ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, and now PLM have grown in scope.nnSo how does this make PTC a laggard? I realize I haven’t addressed your point about Creo, but can we start here?nnPS – I’m sorry if I went overboard with the examples, you probably konw all of that. history as well or better than I do

      • Hi Jim,nnGood dialogue indeed. I guess I have to digress to my response and explain what I meant. Sorry for the confusion. If we look at reinvestment in technology, PTC and Siemens from a PLM standpoint have always been laggards, close to pennies on the revenue dollar for reinvestment. It shows in their old technology adapted over the last 10 years. PTC delivering a new version of Pro/e every two years tells me they have let that part of the business go to focus on Windchill. Siemens owning UG (2% of their business) tells me they are just a blip that is still u201cstaticu201d and business as usual. TeamCenter I like, but lack lots of integrations, well almost all. The main issue I had with my companies TC implemention was the cost after purchase that was is in the multi-million dollar range after our initial investment. That is what new customers fail to understand. That and the fact it is old technology, working the way we have done for 20 years does nothing for innovation, and creativity. Unfortunately customers are still not satisfied. In regards to CREO PTC will have a lot to deliver based on words spoken (like their user conference mid last year announcing CREO), and I am yet to believe they can do it (based on prior history of words vs deliverables). nnOn the other hand Dassault, with acquisitions like M1 for example, have made them the forefront what every company should aspire to use if they need to go to an all encompassed integrated solution. With Dassault reinvestment in R&D well above what their competitors do have assisted with them giving the customer what they require in software to benefit and I know it is hard to just rip and replace systems of course, but integrations in place to support a multi-pdm model is possible. I see them as having the best forward thinking strategy toward helping a customer with productivity and minimal service after sale reinvestment. I hope my company can stop the bleeding of dollars and just dump the old, and get with a new integrated solution. We struggle daily with lost data, duplicate data of the same data model, and just plain searching for data. nnI see the new Dassault vision as a vision that is less costly compared to digging a hole for another 20 years (my opinion). nnBTW, what is Blue Kiwi? I have seen on their site that they have done a case study of social media, but I am not aware of any acquisitions. Please let me know what you have heard.n

        • Thanks for explaining. First, here is a link to the initial announcement about blueKiwi. nhttp://www.3ds.com/company/news-media/press-releases-detail/release/dassault-systemes-and-bluekiwi-software-a-joint-vision-of/single/2156/?cHash=570d46f933044b1bc33f0567756a1f46 nIt has progressed beyond that now, Dassault is using it internally and they have also developed a product with the technology known as 3dswym (3D See What You Mean). I wrote about it in Reflections on Dassault Systemes Business, Strategy, and Progress at DSCC. nhttp://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/dscc/

        • Now, to respond to some of your points:nnI am also impressed with the DS vision. But are you running Teamcenter and comparing the reality of that implementation to the vision of using Dassault’s solutions? I always try to speak with people using the technology in addition to talking to the vendor, you can never really compare the reality favorably to the vision or demo of the competitor. That doesn’t take anything away from the DS vision, I like what I see.nnAs for PTC, let me just say that I fully agree that PTC has a lot to deliver on with Creo. We are all waiting to see what comes to market. See my first impressions in New PTC Design Suite Announced u2013 Lightning Creates Creo nhttp://tech-clarity.com/clarityonplm/2010/ptc-creo/nnI don’t agree with some of your point about Siemens. Siemens PLM hasn’t disappeared as a part of Siemens. They still have to perform and compete as they always have, and they are continuing to grow. I don’t see how having a large, stable parent company is a bad thing. As for TeamCenter, what version of the software is your company running? Are you up to date? There is a lot of CATIA being managed in TeamCenter, so DS must not have the magic bullet for PLM that makes TeamCenter irrelevant. I guess time will tell if V6 changes that as M1 takes over as the new PLM architecture for DS.nnAs for cost – I am not sure that any large PLM implementation is going to come without a significant investment, regardless of the vision. There is a lot of value being achieved, and the vendors will charge more as usage expands. If you want to solve that one, maybe consider something like Aras which is open source and has no per-user license fees?nnThanks again for sharing your story and your opinions, nJim

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