Migrating to Advanced PLM

INDUSTRY OUTLOOK

Migrating to Advanced PLM
Jonathan Scott, Razorleaf

As those who have been involved in the PDM/PLM marketplace for any period of time can attest, the acronyms and related functionality morph frequently. Yesterday’s simple TDM (Technical Document Management) system is today’s PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) backbone. The trend we have seen over the last few years is the strengthening of advanced functionality in the mid-range packages that once were considered mainly for CAD-file management and basic process management. Some of these packages, like ENOVIA SmarTeam, are now major players in managing BOM and configuration data, all levels of processes, compliancy, supply chain collaboration, etc. While the benefits of these maturing systems can be impressive it’s not always trivial to take advantage of new system features when operating with a vintage data model or schema.

Several Razorleaf clients have recently found themselves in just such a position. One in particular has been using SmarTeam for over ten years, primarily as a CAD data management tool. Over that time, pressures to expand their IT systems capabilities have built up due to:

  • Increasing data management requirements from organic growth and growth-by-acquisition
  • Global manaufacturing needs and evolving sourcing models
  • Directives to consolidate overall software footprint and 'do more with less'

As this client evaluated their IT landscape, they realized that PLM could and should be a pillar of their business along with ERP and a front-end sales configurator. Once PLM was validated as a critical business system, it was decided that ENOVIA SmarTeam was still the best choice to serve this need. The versatile platform had served them well over the years, and a review of the software’s current functionality revealed that it would be capable of taking their PLM system to the next level. Advanced multi-view Bill of Material management, dynamic process management, business rule enforcement, and bi-directional synchronization with external LOB (Line of Business) platforms like ERP had all been added since their initial deployment of SmarTeam. But having these advanced PLM capabilities in software and deploying them in their environment proved to be two entirely different matters.

To successfully take advantage of these new PLM capabilities, this client realized that they would need to move from their existing data model, which was antiquated and built with a CAD management focus, to a new data model structured around current best practices for item-centric information management. As a result, they needed a way to get the volumes of data already in SmarTeam (in the old data model) into a new data model with full history and associativity.

First, the new environment definition needed to be built. Razorleaf and the client worked together to define the process and information requirements to ensure that the newly defined structure would provide a solid foundation for their functional and growth needs. To address the need to migrate data, Razorleaf applied a deep knowledge of ENOVIA SmarTeam’s underlying structure to define database level mappings between the existing system and the new data model. The result was an extremely successful data migration with millions of records of data being transformed and transferred over a weekend and with no interruption to production use when the users returned on Monday.

This client is now well positioned to add the advanced PLM functions they need. Over time, they expect to replace dozens of LOB systems with PLM, and then to tightly tie their PLM, ERP, and configurator into one loosely-coupled Master Data Management system for governing their entire product definition and delivery process. As an added benefit, the new data model has better positioned them to migrate to Dassault’s ENOVIA V6 platform when the time comes.

As more companies look to the benefits that the expanded PLM vision and next generation functionality provides, the topic of data model migration will increase in relevancy.

This article was contributed by Razorleaf Corporation, a COE member and ENOVIA services provider. You can find more information on Razorleaf here, access additional content like this in their monthly newsletter here, and contact them via this link.

You can reach the this article, Jonathan Scott, at 330.676.0022, extension 7133 or via e-mail at jonathan.scott@razorleaf.com.

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