Palm Springs, CA —Theme of the recent CIMdata 2000 Conference on product definition lifecycle management here might best be summed up as: it's a small world. And it's a world in which more and more people engaged in product design, development, sales, and service must work together quickly and easily.
Ed Miller, president of CIMdata, a consulting, research, and industry-education firm, pointed out that growth of investment in collaborative Product Definition management (cPDm) reached $1.76 billion in 1999—26% annual growth. He anticipates continued annual growth of around 20% worldwide over the next few years.
"CPDm is a strategic business approach, applying a consistent set of business solutions to collaboratively manage the product-definition lifecycle across the extended enterprise," says Miller. CPDm is provided through a combination of processes and technologies, including product-data management, collaboration, visualization, collaborative product commerce, enterprise-applications integration, and component-supplier management. "CPDm doesn't mean a focus on technology, but rather an approach to solving business problems. It requires defining the problems, and identifying the technologies and actions needed to solve them," Miller says. With the globalization of industry today, he sees implementing such strategies as "a change from competitive advantage to competitive necessity."
At the conference, CIMdata announced its first annual awards for outstanding performance in the cPDm market. The "cPDm Market Presence in 1999" award went to Structural Dynamics Research Corp. (SDRC; Milford, OH) for the largest market presence, based on revenue both directly through SDRC and through systems integrators and other partners. Industry investments in SDRC's Metaphase information-infrastructure product totaled $284.4 million in 1999.
The "cPDm Revenue Increase in 1999" award for the greatest direct-revenue increase was garnered by PTC (Waltham, MA). The company posted a 156% gain in revenues, from $45 million in 1998 to $115 million, for its Windchill collaboration package.
Says Miller, "People have voted for these suppliers with their pocketbooks."
Hot topics. Companies can use cPDm tools to track design process progress—from customer request through manufacturing. One of the competitive necessities underscored at the conference centered on being prepared to launch successor products before the end of an older product's lifecycle. That's why these tools have become necessary.
Three themes predominated in the user presentations: finding ways to reuse designs to speed up the development process; opening access to design, tracking, and planning tools within a company; and collaboration (usually web-based), either internally or including suppliers and customers.
For example, Jan Haase, head of General Electric R & D, described changing his company's business culture toward intense customer focus. Since 1997 and the start of GE's Six Sigma program, "We've grown a tremendous number of products," Haase said. "We use a PDM (product data management) solution to tie together customer requirements, trace systems and give us integration at the system level. We're evolving customer collaboration across the web—even if the customer is in Japan, engineering and marketing in the US, and component design and manufacturing in India. Where it used to take years to develop a product, it now takes only months, and with e-engineering we can customize the product in weeks."
Johnny Barnes, director of Hardware Common Tools for IBM, told of the firm's integrated product development. In 1993, IBM suffered an $8 billion loss. The main problems centered on having too many parts, insufficient part use, and inefficient product information management. Barnes said, "Those problems led to high development and product costs, and slow product development." Focusing on collaboration, parts selection, bills of material management, common building blocks, procurement, and supply chain management, IBM re-engineered its design processes, encouraged part reuse, provided easy access to design and part information by divisions worldwide, and developed a system fed by CAD, visualization tools, and PDM—all organized by partner Dassault Systemes' Enovia.pm into a global network.
Time to market was reduced by 2/3 to 3/4. At the same time, IBM reduced design cycle time 35% and the number of engineering change steps by 75%. The impact on the bottom line was substantial: From an $8 billion loss in 1993, IBM scored a $6 billion gain in 1997.