How OpenBOM Platform Is Different From Other PLM Systems

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
1 April, 2023 | 7 min for reading
How OpenBOM Platform Is Different From Other PLM Systems

The manufacturing world is leading toward digital transformation. Digital innovation is at the top of the minds of every manufacturing company looking at how to transform their business processes. The question about selecting the right system for your PLM journey is the one we can hear from manufacturing companies of every size – from early-stage startups to global industrial OEMs. Companies are often confused when they need to select business management software and choose between product lifecycle management, product data management, and ERP systems. How to keep up-to-date information and how to focus on product data first is at the top of people’s minds.

Differentiators are important during digital transformation because they help organizations stand out in a crowded market and succeed in an increasingly competitive business landscape. In the digital age, companies need to differentiate themselves to stay relevant and grow their market share. Therefore choosing the right platform is becoming an essential factor that will help manufacturing companies of every size choose the right solution.

Why PLM System Differentiation Is Hard To Get?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems are software solutions designed to help organizations manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from concept and design to development, production, and end-of-life. PLM systems are used by a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, and consumer goods, among others.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is a complex and multifaceted domain that involves managing a product from its initial conception to its retirement from the market. PLM encompasses a broad range of functions, including product design, engineering, manufacturing, quality control, and supply chain management, among others.

One reason it can be challenging to find differentiators in the PLM world is that many vendors offer similar features and functionality. This is partly due to the fact that established PLM systems have evolved for many years to meet the same basic set of requirements, managing documents, Bill of Materials, Change Management, and Collaboration. As a result, it can be difficult for customers to distinguish between different PLM solutions.

Once you decided what the right time to implement PLM is, the next question will be coming about what system we need. Talking to many prospects, we found that it is extremely important to define an integrated information flow helping companies to understand their requirements and help companies to make the decision about purchasing PLM systems.

Integrated Information Flow and Digital Thread Use Case

For years, PLM was all about a single source of truth – a single database to manage all the data. While the idea of single source of truth is appealing, the implementation is often complex and very often conflicting with modern digital manufacturing reality. An attempt to put all information in a single database most probably will lead to a failure in the company with a distributed workforce and digital processes. 

At the same time, the complexity of product development is skyrocketing and even a small manufacturing company needs to manage a very complex set of information, to connect and communicate with many contractors and suppliers. Therefore the key element in the decision-making about the PLM system should be the focus on data. Not focusing on how to get the right data, manage it, connect, and integrate it with other elements of your company environment can end up very badly. Add to that, focus on how to understand the data, to bring data to the center of your decision-making process.

The next step is to realize that the data is processed and moving between different people and their working environments. It is quickly becoming obvious when you ask any company to speak about their existing processes (even so, they might not have them), and, for most of the use cases, you will learn about 3 fundamental processes – design, engineering, and procurement. The outcome of these processes is a ready product, but getting there is hard because you need to coordinate all processes and people.

The thread of a typical product lifecycle management and development circles around very fundamental processes – (1) how to manage design; (2) how to provide engineers to collaborate without limits; and (3) how to connect design and procurement in a single digital process. The fundamental engineering and manufacturing software is simple and requires a focus on important data.

While ideas of digital thread concept first were described 15-20 years ago, these days it is becoming obvious that without making all information connected together and flowing painlessly between organizations and people, the goal of digital transformation will not be achievable. This leads us to build a modern digital thread platform – OpenBOM. Let’s talk about how OpenBOM differentiates from other PLM systems.

6 pillars of OpenBOM Differentiators from Other PLMs

We’re building OpenBOM to support engineering and manufacturing activities while focusing on data, digital thread, and information flow. We are doing so by combining new technological approach with our understanding of customer needs and the way OpenBOM is growing to support a wide range of manufacturing companies – starting from SMBs and moving up to larger enterprises.

Below I want to bring key differentiators of OpenBOM and what we do compared to other PLM providers

  1. Multi-Tenant Data Management

    Traditional PLM systems cannot share data beyond a single database boundary. You need to export/import it. OpenBOM is different and can be used by multiple companies working as a network. OpenBOM’s multi-tenant data architecture allows for collaboration between teams, departments, and external partners. It provides a central repository for product data that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, using any device. This enables teams to work together in real-time, improving communication, and streamlining workflows.
  2. Digital Bill of Information Core

    At the heart of OpenBOM is its digital product model (Digital Bill of Information) core. This provides a single source of truth for product data, connected information, and files allowing teams to track changes and revisions throughout the entire product lifecycle. The foundation of this BOI Core is modern data management architecture including NoSQL and Graph Database. The portion of Graph Data Management is a unique differentiator of OpenBOM because it provides unique semantic data management capabilities to model data with all relationships and elements.
  3. Real-time collaboration, instant data sharing and simultaneous editing

    OpenBOM built patented real-time collaboration capabilities which provide granular data sharing combined with simultaneous data editing that can be performed in a complex product structure with flexible data modeling capabilities. Each user can make changes to the BOM data, and these changes are instantly visible to all other users who have access to the same BOM. This allows teams to collaborate on complex BOMs in real time, reducing the time and effort required to manage changes and updates. OpenBOM also offers granular access control, which means that users can be given specific permissions to view, edit or approve changes to the BOM data. This ensures that the right people have the right level of access to the BOM data at all times. Overall, OpenBOM’s real-time simultaneous collaboration feature helps to streamline BOM management processes and improves collaboration between teams working on complex products or projects.
  4. PDM, PLM, and ERP Features

    Traditional PLM systems are focusing on what is perceived as a standard PLM function set. It is the outcome of the creation of PLM systems for large companies. Some of these SaaS systems are purely focusing on BOM management without providing tools to manage CAD data. OpenBOM is different. OpenBOM offers a comprehensive range of PDM (Product Data Management), PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) features. This means that businesses can manage all aspects of their product data, from design to engineering lifecycle and downstream to procurement. Such a unique blend of functions makes OpenBOM ideal for all SMBs and NPD departments of large enterprises.
  5. Openness and REST API

    OpenBOM is designed with openness in mind. It provides a comprehensive REST API (Application Programming Interface) that allows businesses to integrate with other systems easily. This enables businesses to customize their workflows and connect OpenBOM with their existing systems, creating a seamless experience for users.
  6. Integrations with Many CAD and ERP Software

    OpenBOM has built-in integrations with many CAD and ERP software. This means that businesses can work within their preferred software environments while still benefiting from the features and benefits of OpenBOM. This ensures that businesses can continue to work efficiently without needing to change their software systems.

Conclusion

OpenBOM offers a unique blend of PDM, PLM, and ERP functions using a modern technology platform and includes customization and integration capabilities. for managing product information. OpenBOM focuses on connecting design, engineering, and production silos by streamlining data flow and integrating with all existing systems and files. By providing a single integrated source of truth for product data, OpenBOM enables businesses to work collaboratively, reduce errors, and streamline workflows.

REGISTER FOR FREE and start 14 days trial to explore OpenBOM.

Best, Oleg 

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