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3 advantages of PLM in Aerospace program management

Posted by Geoff Haines on 13-Apr-2016 16:11:00

3 advantages of PLM in aerospace program managementMajor disruptions present a huge risk to your aerospace program. When they occur, a comprehensive plan must be drawn up, distributed to stakeholders and executed. Yet, sometimes this just isn’t enough. 

The complexity of most aerospace programs means multiple projects run simultaneously. With numerous departments and countless internal teams involved, it’s tough to roll out a response to a major disruption that can efficiently minimise the fallout.

For example, a customer may increase an order but require the same deadline for delivery. If there’s a failure to communicate this to all the relevant teams and individuals involved in production, this can lead to costly delays in production, missing the deadline and poor customer satisfaction. 

This is the problem with reactive program management. By the time the risk has presented itself, it’s a case of damage limitation rather than damage avoidance. 

Instead, taking a proactive approach to program management can help you to operate more efficiently with fewer errors. By identifying potential risks and issues before they occur, you can maximise co-operative efforts at preventing the risk from surfacing.

This is where Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems are useful. PLM systems provide an effective platform to organise and co-ordinate efforts at risk-avoidance. So here’s 3 advantages of PLM in aerospace program management.

PLM in Program Management

In program management, PLM systems enable effective management of the entire product development process, including management of contractual requirements, engineering design deliverables and scheduling.

The benefit is that product development is housed in a single platform where team members can collaborate in real-time on product development. 

Contractual negotiations

Using a PLM system in contractual negotiations provides a single platform that customers, contractors and suppliers can all work from during negotiations. 

Each party can digitally interact with each other and collaborate in real time, so where changes occur, each party is notified so everyone remains on the same page, ensuring communications go smoothly. 

Avoid the risk of a breakdown in negotiations and loss of a potential customer by making contractual discussions easy.

Collaboration across disciplines

Engineering deliverables such as 3D models and system engineering artefacts all reside in the same PLM system. As system engineers run their processes and develop system architectures, design engineers can start detailed design in parallel, instead of waiting for the completion of the system architecture.

Essentially, the PLM system acts as a powerful collaboration medium between the two groups. This boosts efficiency in production and ensures all relevant parties have the knowledge to spot potential risks and communicate with the right internal teams to avoid the risks from surfacing.

Simultaneous management

One of the most important advantages offered by a PLM system is traceability. Artifacts and deliverables like contracts, requirements, 3D models, project schedules, and more are not only in the PLM system but also connected with each other. This enables program managers to see how they are all related which is critical when a change is proposed or pending. 

When there is a change pending against a contract, the program manager can understand which requirements, parts and schedules are affected.

For example, when an engineer suggests a design change, the program manager can understand which customer requirements and suppliers are affected. This provides powerful visibility into the implication of any change, acting as an early warning system.

Overall, proactive program management can help aerospace companies to manage and avoid potential disruptions to their projects, rather than having to respond to disruptions and limit the damage.

For more information about how you can improve the design capabilities of your aerospace program, download the eBook 'Aerospace supply chain: Real-world strategies for surviving and handling growth'.

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Topics: Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)