Tag Archives: R&D

Favorite Things of 2012

1 Jan

Evolving with PLM

8 May

The enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM) software market is entering its third decade of life. The vision of the leading PLM solution providers has evolved dramatically since the early 90s, while the capabilities of the software platforms have continued to expand and improve. The early sales pitches and solutions were almost entirely centered on engineering workgroups and document management. Over the last ten years, the PLM software industry has gone through a consolidation phase and has seen significant R&D investment in PLM platforms. Today, companies have the opportunity to take advantage of mature, integrated enterprise solutions with modern user interfaces. The value proposition is now truly cross-functional and PLM has emerged as a respected enterprise software domain that is a source of competitive advantage for companies that harness its power.

These platforms support the end-to-end innovation cycle from the definition of requirements through after-sales service and support. The systems facilitate industry best practice process optimization and workflow configurations that can be implemented “out of the box.” Solutions have also improved bottom to top with more seamless integration to heterogeneous CAD environments up through innovation portfolio management and performance analytics that connect the engineer’s desktop to the executive suite. In essence, we have gone from a stripped-down utilitarian commuter vehicle to a high-powered Italian sports car.

In addition to the core functionality of managing bills of material and engineering change, today’s PLM solutions are easier to use and have developing capabilities that enable innovation by addressing:

  • Requirements management and traceability across hardware and software development
  • New product development stage-gate process, program, resource and portfolio management
  • Product and component cost management, often with supplier management functionality
  • Systems engineering and the integration of mechanical, electrical and software development
  • Manufacturing process design including simulation and validation linked to product engineering
  • Connection with internal and external supply chain and enterprise resource planning systems
  • Social collaboration and community tools for global information sharing and problem solving
  • Comprehensive product quality management including CAPA and statistical analysis tools
  • Environmental and regulatory compliance based on product content and sources of supply
  • Integration of product packaging, labeling and artwork with underlying product information
  • Management of technical publications and information for after-market service functions
  • Product and process performance dashboards and analysis tools for continuous improvement

In some cases, these new capabilities were built into the core Product Data Management (PDM) product and are available to existing customers with no additional licensing fees. However, all of this new functionality has made implementations more cross-functional, and therefore more complicated. This makes a comprehensive PLM strategy and plan for your enterprise more important than ever.

Find out how to take advantage of the power of PLM by reading the rest of this viewpoint on the Kalypso website by clicking here http://kalypso.com/viewpoints/resource/evolving-with-product-lifecycle-management/.

Predictions for R&D

5 Feb

Predicting the future in an ambiguous world is inherently risky. My track record in 2011 was mixed. The primary prediction was that companies would loosen up spending in R&D while constraining growth in headcount and other fixed costs. That was spot on with what actually happened in most industries. What I got wrong was the response to that squeeze. My assumption was that progressive executives would explore alternative product development models and new approaches to utilizing external expertise. While I am often too optimistic about how fast these things will happen, I also believe that people were finally expecting things to get back to normal, so they were not as motivated to explore new and radical solutions.

As the economic environment continues in an extended period of uncertainty, I believe that we will see accelerated adoption of innovative R&D models. In 2012, I expect to see even greater spending in R&D and product development in those industries where the underlying business is growing moderately (seems like just about everywhere outside of housing and construction). If hiring and headcount growth continue to be constrained, then I predict that we will see more:

  • Corporate Venture Investing – Working and investing outside the company to identify new ideas rather than remaining exclusively focused inside the four walls.
  • Private Expert Networks – Expanding available brainpower in product development by accessing external expertise with low fixed costs that are discretionary in nature.
  • Reverse Innovation– Developing new products in and for emerging markets at value price points that are also attractive in the developed world.
  • Social Product Innovation – Taking advantage of the power of social computing platforms to transform the way products are developed by increasing collaboration both inside and outside of company R&D departments.

If these tactics are broadly adopted, my predictions for 2011 will finally have come true a little later than I originally anticipated.

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