PLM Goes Mobile

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Issue in Focus: PLM Goes Mobile – Reducing Barriers to Engineering Decision-Making and Innovation explains how mobile devices like the iPad have set the stage to extend the ways engineers and others in the product lifecycle contribute, decide, act, and innovate with PLM. There are significant barriers to taking the value of PLM into the plant or into the service center – namely the available devices that run PLM. This means that much of the value of PLM gets left behind when an engineer leaves their workstation to get a firsthand view of production or see their products in the field. Find out how mobile applications and device in PLM can help.

Please enjoy the Executive Summary below, or click the report title above to download a PDF that overviews the report (free of charge, no registration required). For the full report, visit the Siemens PLM website (free of charge, registration required).

Table of Contents

  • Introducing the Issue
  • The Value of Mobility to Engineering
  • Business Value of Mobile PLM Decision Making
  • A Mobile Engineering Scenario
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • About the Author

Introducing the Issue

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) provides significant value to engineers and product developers, including control of product data, process management, and better access to information. PLM helps companies manage the increased complexity of today’s products and product development environments. As Tech-Clarity Insight: The Five Dimensions of Product Complexity states, “PLM solutions help manage the five dimensions of product complexity on an enterprise scale, resulting in greater efficiency and better products.” The result is increased innovation, higher revenue, decreased cost, and faster time to market.

Today, however, there are significant barriers to taking the value of PLM into the plant or into the service center – namely the available devices that run PLM. This means that much of the value of PLM gets left behind when an engineer leaves their workstation to get a firsthand view of production or see their products in the field. This is also the case when a worker in the plant needs information and doesn’t have easy access to a terminal. There are further barriers for employees when they travel, according to Tech Clarity Issue in Focus: Product and Program Management Goes Mobile, resulting in lag times in decision making and project execution.

The issue is the devices typically required to access PLM information and processes. Traditional choices for PLM have been laptops or workstations with bulky form factors, short battery life, and long boot times. Other choices include smartphones or netbooks, each with their own challenges. Beyond devices, software applications built for a personal computer or engineering workstation are simply not suited for the realities of mobile environments. Some things just don’t work on a smaller device but aren’t worth the overhead of booting up a laptop or struggling with a smartphone in a mobile environment.

As a consequence, a lot of decision-making and innovation goes uncaptured or gets put on hold when an engineer is mobile. Manufacturers need to reduce the threshold to use PLM to extend the benefits beyond the desk. Otherwise, they might lose a brainstorm, or a technician might pass on an impulse to verify a detail that could have a large impact on product performance and profitability. Mobile devices like the iPad have set the stage to extend the opportunity for engineers and others in the product lifecycle to contribute, decide, act, and innovate with PLM.