Implementing PLM Across Organisations - For multi-disciplinary and cross-functional product development

Abstract: Nearly all product development organisations and processes have information as their key deliverable. The immense quantities of information being produced and utilised along the development lifecycle together with the commonly large number of IT tools used highlights the importance of continuously keeping the content in the overall information management system in order. The complexity of maintaining consistency in two different dimensions of product information management is enlightened in this thesis. The first dimension is support for multi-disciplinary product development, as in mechatronics. The second is cross-functional product development, where the development of operative and downstream solutions is performed in parallel and synchronised with the product-related engineering activities. Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is in many respects an enabler for productrelated information management. PLM is an applicable enabler for manufacturing companies to support the fulfilment of those business objectives that touch upon the utilisation of processes and IT related to the definition of the product and process system. PLM originates in the product development process and propagates towards and into every lifecycle state of a product, e.g. sales, manufacturing and aftermarket. The main objective of the conducted research has been to support the integration of engineering disciplines and collaboration across engineering functions. Specifically, the way forward in achieving that has been to elaborate information modelling aspects related to PLM and the product development interface between engineering and aftermarket. The results in this thesis signify that an integrated information model for multidiscipline (mechatronics) integration is possible to implement. Furthermore, the results map out the prerequisites for an efficient coordination between product and aftermarket development activities in terms of PLM. Attached to that is a software prototype that demonstrates a possible realisation of excellent conditions for aftermarket to participate in the engineering process. However, the most prominent result in the thesis is an empirical study on how to implement PLM in practice. The study unfolds experiences from a more than ten-year long PLM project in industry. The main conclusions relate to the guidance for implementing PLM. They encompass directions for how to perform information management for multi-disciplinary product development with support from acknowledged design methodology and industrial information standards. The conclusions also relate to cross-functional product development and the utilisation of PLM therein. Comprehensive guidance for how to implement PLM in practice is provided, combining multi-disciplinary and crossfunctional perspectives.

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