This series of posts focuses on the perspectives on executives, managers and staff personnel in the engineering organization. This post features Howard Schimmoller discussing how the PTC’s PLM system Windchill was used at Lockheed Martin to support development on aerospace and defense contracts.

I’ve always been extremely curious about PLM deployments in larger enterprises. Based on my experience, larger companies tend to take on PLM to support an internal initiative. And because internal initiatives often widely vary from company to company, the ultimate form that PLM takes within those companies can be completely different from one another. A few weeks ago, I conducted an interview with Howard Schimmoller, formerly of Lockheed Martin. Some of that conversation went into the post Is the Generation Profile of Engineering a Saddle?. We talked about a number of other issues in that conversation, including some detail on the PLM initiatives in Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Mission Systems and Sensors and their use of PTC’s Windchill. Take a couple minutes to listen below.

For those that want to skip ahead, here’s some of the major points that are covered.

  • 00:00 – PLM projects are oriented around products or product lines, like new fighter development, which involves several multi-national companies.
  • 00:46 – The state of information about the development project is in flux. With tight regulations around security, there is a high priority around controlling who can see what.
  • 01:04 – Most of what the PLM implementations were trying to achieve was secure collaboration in this context.
  • 01:20 – Talks about launching different executables based on different deliverable file formats.
  • 01:39 – Key KPI for PLM implementation was could they manage all the deliverable data to turn it over to their customer, assure them it was secure over the history if it’s existence and use it to collaborate during the design phase.

One thing that comes through to me on this interview is just how large the deployment of Windchill is at Lockheed Martin. In essence, it’s used to secure manage huge amounts of data on development projects for truly complex products. Another complexity is the number of very large multi-national manufacturers and suppliers that collaborate on this platform. And lastly, security is the upmost priority. If you’re at another very large manufacturer, is your PLM deployment similar? If you’re at a smaller manufacturer, is your deployment very different from this one? Sound out. Let us know your thoughts. Take care. Talk soon. And thanks for reading.