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November 18, 2022

As defined by McKinsey, PLM systems “help companies to capture, codify, process, and communicate product knowledge across their organizations.” It stands, then, that the product knowledge being fed into a PLM system needs to be of the right type to support those activities. Shipbuilding projects are only getting more complex. Let’s explore how to bridge the gap between the information contained within your project and what’s needed for your shipyard to succeed with a PLM system. 

Where does the PLM start? 

Typically, a shipyard’s technical ecosystem will consist of three pillars: a CAD, PLM, and ERP system. The CAD system is where ongoing changes are made to the CAD model. Work here starts with the creation of the initial model and continues throughout the engineering process. Most importantly, the CAD system is a work-in-progress environment. Changes are constantly being made, and it’s not always clear whether work is ready to be released to production. 

That’s where the PLM system comes in. The PLM captures released snapshots of the work-in-progress model and manages it in combination with other documentation, requirements, vendor-furnished information, and manufacturing information. Most importantly, the PLM system becomes the source of truth for what is reviewed, approved, and ready to be released downstream.  

Feeding the rest of the organization, the PLM is able to provide information about the project either directly or via the ERP on procurement, planning, scheduling, shop order status, resource planning, and work execution. 

Fulfilling Downstream Requirements 

The heart of every modern shipbuilding program is a digital twin. That digital twin needs to have sufficient information to satisfy the requirements of the stakeholders using the digital twin. Needs will be different during construction compared to sustainment. The production model’s fidelity is much higher than is needed (or practical) for sustainment purposes. For example, there’s no reason to access fabrication details once the vessel is on the water. 

Consider how downstream stakeholders will: 

  • Search for information 
  • Use information 
  • Prepare work orders 

Avoiding Common Pitfalls 

While it will never be possible to predict every downstream requirement, let alone satisfy them, there are a few best project best practices that, when applied, maximize the value of the CAD model with minimal or no additional work. 

Maximize metadata 

Sometimes it can be simpler to have parts that don’t contain any metadata, but downstream, the result is incomplete information. Minimizing the number of reference models and ‘dumb’ objects could mean saving hours of searching through data sheets for attributes that would otherwise be accessed just through the PLM. 

Don’t neglect the build strategy 

Ensure everything in the project is assigned its place in the build strategy. The PLM will take advantage of the same structure when finding and visualizing the project. Reviews will be simpler and complete if the team is confident everything is captured in the build strategy. 

Stay consistent 

One of the most important benefits of a PLM is knowing that the information accessed through it is accurate and contains the right information. Staying consistent in what information is included, the templates used, and how outputs are created keeps the PLM working as a trusted source of truth. 

No One-Size-Fits-All Approach 

There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach that works for every project and shipyard. There will always be a need to tailor how a project is set up to maximize the benefit to downstream PLM users. However, that is made easier when the PLM system is pre-configured for the specific needs of shipbuilding and has shipbuilding-specific processes and structures built in. Removing the need to do that configuration work means connecting the project with PLM happens quickly, and the organization can see value quicker than traditionally possible. 

Getting Ready for a Successful Implementation of PLM 

Is your project set up to get the most out of PLM? Our Solution Specialist Simon Crook expands on the above strategies and outlines how have a pain-free connection from your project and CAD system to your PLM in this webinar. 

This webinar takes place: 11/22/2022 2:00 pm PT.

Register Here

This webinar took place: 11/22/2022 2:00 pm PT.

See our Webinars on Nexus

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