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CIMdata Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group Addresses The Big 3
In March of this year global design consulting firm CIMdata launched the Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group., consisting of major aerospace and defense original equipment manufacturers and selected tier one suppliers. The group was organized to enable companies to join the organization to make more informed business decisions by providing timely and valuable information, insights, and advice, while also offering networking opportunities to companies with similar PLM challenges.

Together the members of this organization has identified three key challenges, that according to James L. Roche, aerospace and defense practice manager, CIMdata, are generally considered to be the top challenges for the aerospace industry. These challenges include global collaboration, PLM integration and obsolescence management.
Image courtesy of CIMdata
James L. Roche, aerospace and defense practice manager, CIMdata

Roche explained that the challenge of creating a system for global collaboration among aerospace stakeholders is primarily being hindered by the need for uniform data standards. Because aircraft are so much more complex than many other products they require aerospace and defense companies to maintain a complicated web of relationships between different suppliers and part designers, all of whom are using their own data standards and procedures, but who also have to come together at the end of the day to bring all of the parts together into a functional whole.

“Aerospace companies need to be able to provide their suppliers not just with the information for the component they are responsible for,” said Roche. “But also the overall context that component will work in so they can understand its role in the overall design.”

Right now it is very difficult for that level of communication to take place because each stakeholder in the aerospace design project is working with their own data standards and procedures that may or may not communicate effectively with each other. This can lead to the loss of key information and valuable context, which can in turn lead to time consuming re-work or even costly errors.

Roche said that while the Aerospace & Defense PLM Action Group is in the early stages of defining and finding a solution to this problem the general thinking seems to be that the answer is to begin developing procedures that focuses on explicitly outlining what data is being communicated and what information is needed in response. In this way stakeholders can hope to better understand if and when mission critical data is being lost in the communication process and how to best rectify any communication issues as they occur.

The issue surrounding PLM integration focuses on how to help aerospace companies derive more value from their PLM implementations by integrating systems that are not traditionally associated with PLM into the overall architecture. This includes concepts such as change management and service lifecycle management.

According to Roche, most major aerospace companies make a major investment in PLM, either changing to a new system or upgrading their current system, roughly every five to 10 years. But in more recent iterations of this cycle aerospace companies have been spending more money and seeing smaller returns on their investments. The reason for this appears to be because the traditional PLM components have reached the limits of what they can offer.
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Published 2014-06-06 00:00:00