Circling Back on Quality with Siemens PLM


I had the chance to talk withSiemens PLM a couple of times in response to my post on Quality Lifecycle Management titled Expanding PLM’s Pervue – Quality and Risk Management. QLMWhile I mentioned that some of the major PLM vendors had developed solutions for quality management, I did not mention Siemens PLM. The reason for not mentioning them, I explained, is that I didn’t know about their solution! I since had a good conversation with the Siemens team about their offering. It is interesting, takes a bit of a unique approach, and I think it is worth talking about. So here it is!

What do they Offer?

What I find unique about the Siemens Dimensional Planning and Validation (DPV) solution is that it does not replicate what standalone Quality Risk Management (QRM) and Quality Lifecycle Management vendors offer. It is a relatively unique approach, which also makes it a complementary solution.¬† One of the main things things that manufacturers can do to improve quality is to “close the loop” on quality by feeding actual results back into the manufacturing and design processes to improve quality. That is what the Siemens solution does.

Providing feedback on quality to upstream functions¬† is one of those concepts that is obvious to most people, few will disagree with, but most companies don’t do. Why? It is hard to cross organizational boundaries and get people to work together. Frequently, Engineering and Manufacturing don’t have access to information (or at least information that they trust.) Sometimes, as I am sure some will point out, they just don’t listen. What I like about the Siemens solution is that the feedback is quantitative and based on actuals. In fact, what the solution does is take actual dimension product measurements (typically from automated testing equipment) from the shop floor and provide feedback upstream.

By tracking actual dimensional results by plant, production run, and other manufacturing parameters the solution offers the ability to analyze performance over time and look for improvement opportunities. One of the key elements that makes this beneficial is the analytical engine behind it, similar to other trends to use business intelligence (BI) in PLM. Another nice feature is that the results become a part of the PLM data model, and can even be shown against the 3D model. The goal is to provide feedback to Engineers so they can adjust designs, features, tolerances, and inspection points to improve quality by design. In short, they are closing the loop.

Siemens explained the value in simple terms, which I will use as the last words for this section. I think these words some sum up the difference in their solution, because it is based on actual results, uses analytics and allerts to provide the right information to Engineers, and puts the results into the product/PLM context to be shared broadly across the enterprise. In their words, the solution helps manufacturers:

Find it quicker, fix it faster, share the knowledge

Who do they Work with?

This solution is primarily intended for discrete manufacturers with dimensionally based parts. The early development customer that Siemens worked with is in the automotive industry, where quality is critical and production volumes are high enough to make this feedback useful. Other similar industries can benefit from this as well.

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