Arvind Krishnan, our senior analyst, met with Oleg Shilovitsky and Steve Hess from OpenBOM. The discussion centered around the critical capabilities and new product features in OpenBOM. Arvind also got to witness a small demonstration of the solution. The following are Arvind’s takeaways and observations.
Can OpenBOM’s PLM solution help small and medium-sized manufacturing companies?
OpenBOM’s pricing transparency and support for concurrent licenses make it a very ideal solution for small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses. SMBs can get to benefit from a PLM solution that their enterprise competitors have had for many years.
an small and medium-sized manufacturing companies benefit from a PLM solution? Yes, they can, and they should! But can they afford one? OpenBOM thinks so.
Today, I had the privilege of interacting with Oleg Shilovitsky and Steve Hess from OpenBOM. One thing that is open about OpenBOM is its transparency when it comes to pricing. You can look at their pricing structure by visiting their website.
Why is this important?
OpenBOM mainly targets small and medium-sized #manufacturing companies with its cloud-based #pdm and #plm solution. These companies can readily use OpenBOM to manage their design data, Bill of Materials (BOM), production planning, and procurement processes. SMBs need to know the total cost of ownership before investing in a digital transformation solution like OpenBOM. The decision-making for the manufacturing company’s executives becomes faster and easier if they can find the pricing information readily, and OpenBOM facilitates this.
Another related feature of OpenBOM is its support for concurrent licenses. This means companies using OpenBOM can give all their users login credentials (with relevant permissions and access restrictions) to access the solution. The OpenBOM cloud solution manages the number of people who can access the solution anytime. There is no more the hassle of using one login by all the team members. Engineers in these SMBs can operate efficiently with complete transparency of their engineering data and processes.
Engineering change orders (ECO) are difficult. Should companies spend an enormous amount of time getting all the necessary approvals?
OpenBOM’s ECO approval workflow makes it easy for companies to manage their ECOs. Managers can now visualize the status of the approval process using the OpenBOM dashboard. According to OpenBOM, ECOs don’t need to be cumbersome anymore.
Should gathering approvals for engineering change orders (ECO) be cumbersome? Not according to OpenBOM. The new release of OpenBOM has a simplified process to approve engineering change orders.
In product development, changes are inevitable. Many companies have an elaborate process of approving change orders. This process consumes time, involves multiple stakeholders, and delays the time taken by companies to bring their products to market. OpenBOM has a workflow that makes it easy for engineering teams to approve change orders. During a recent conversation, Oleg Shilovitsky and Steve Hess showed me the engineering change order approval workflow in OpenBOM. OpenBOM allows companies to define different levels of approval settings based on the role. Once a change order has been raised, managers can quickly determine the approval process, select the stakeholders who need to approve, and club a group of changes that needs to be approved. Finally, stakeholders agree on the changes or raise queries using a single collaborative signoff dashboard. Using the dashboard, stakeholders can get top-level visibility of the approval process – whom all have approved, what questions have been answered, etc.
Approving change orders is not that difficult if all stakeholders have access to all relevant information and are in the same room. In today’s product development, that situation doesn’t happen. Many company team members, including many remote participants and suppliers, must come together to manage the approval process for a change order. Not a trivial task. According to a recent Lifecycle Insights Digital Transformation study, manufacturing companies, on average, spend over eight days to approve and execute a change order. So, a solution simplifying change orders’ approval process benefits product development teams.
Does OpenBOM have product data management (PDM) capabilities?
It is a fact that not all companies that use a CAD solution are using a data management solution to manage all their design data. Actually, a good portion still uses shared drives and dedicated server machines to manage all their design data. As it becomes difficult to maintain and manage these on-premise systems, companies will be looking toward a more formal PDM solution. A cloud PDM is a good place to start for these firms.
What is OpenBOM Drive? Who needs it?
When Oleg Shilovitsky showed me OpenBOM Drive, the first thing that came to mind was, “Do we need another cloud-based file storage solution?” As it turns out, OpenBOM Drive is much more than a cloud storage solution.
Let us start by examining what engineers do when designing their products. Design engineers create hundreds of CAD files. They also develop and handle other product-related documents. Many of these files are Work In Progress at any given time. But nowadays, many engineers work on the same CAD data. They need a robust system to manage these files without overwriting each other’s work. Traditionally, companies have used a Product Data Management (PDM) solution to manage their CAD files and other engineering documents. Traditionally, PDM solutions are IT solutions that need dedicated servers and a team of IT staff to support the infrastructure. OpenBOM Drive is sort of a PDM solution minus all the IT support.
But don’t all companies using CAD have a PDM solution already. OpenBOM users belong to product engineering and manufacturing companies and use a CAD solution to develop their products. It turns out that the attachment rate for PDM is not all that high among CAD users. In the 2022 Lifecycle Insights PDM/PLM Adoption study, we found that more than 35% of all CAD users are not using a PDM or a PLM solution to manage their CAD data. An easy-to-deploy and use online solution to manage CAD, and engineering data is helpful for these companies.
OpenBOM Drive is an out-of-the-box cloud-based PDM solution that companies can deploy and use readily without any IT intervention. It has version control, check-in/check-out, history, and collaboration tools – a neat subset of features that most companies need. I firmly believe in the 80/20 rule, and OpenBOM Drive fits this principle perfectly.
Companies that don’t use PDM to manage their CAD files are highly unproductive. Their engineers spend enormous time correcting errors, firing emails, and chasing files. These companies can benefit from a solution like OpenBOM Drive.