Company Intranet Sites and PLM

Now a days, Intranet Sites are available in all companies which think of implementing PLM. They already invested in intranet to share company announcement, events and so on. To reduce time to market for their product they think of implementing PLM. In many organizations which have both I have observed some gaps.

Let us talk about what is Intranet? In layman’s language, it is nothing but a website which can be accessed which organization network only or if possible outside organization network with some secured access control. Normally intranet sites are used for announcement, some sort of publishing method, sub-sites for departments, individual sites and so on. Intranet sites go more close to public websites and give similar features like searching content, publishing photos etc. If it is SharePoint site, then it may offer much more but less than a PLM tool. More or less, it is a communication or collaboration medium or content management system like Drupal or SharePoint.

Now if we think of a PLM tool, ideally we do not have similarities. But it you think deep, there are 2 common points. Those are

  1. PLM Web Client can be used to collaborate and view information instantaneously over the browser.
  2. Web Client as name suggest are web based and security is same as intranet, internal or secured.

Now most of the organization which have both the application. They may use single sign-on facility. But they are rarely integrated. PLM talks about collaboration. Intranet provides a platform for information sharing which is nothing but collaboration.

Now if we integrate both what can be achieved? Or what is that I expect as output of integration?

  1. Part/Object Search: Intranet sites provide search facility, PLM Tools provide search facility. Then why not to make PLM Object Search available on intranet site?
  2. Task Integration: All PLM Tools provide task notification through emails or their UIs. If companies are using intranet site, they normally provide outlook like facilities, so why not to provide a widget in intranet site which can show me my task related to my project in PLM. Those tasks might be of just notification or approval or any thing which is listed against my name.
  3. Discussions: SharePoint sites or CMSs offer discussion facility. Now if give a facility to link a PLM Object and start a discussion on intranet, it can increase collaboration level to next level and decisions can be taken much faster.
  4. Document Management in SharePoint: PLM performance can be improved by using SharePoint for document management and using URLs to document in PLM as reference or specification documents. This can reduce load on PLM file server. SharePoint provides workflows hence document approval can be done in SharePoint and even office integration works much better with SharePoint.

These are some of my thought on PLM and Intranet/CMS integration. Till date I tried to find some readily available tools but I could not find a satisfactory results. If you know anything just leave a comment to this post. if anyone is interested to develop something let me know.

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Alternate and Substitute Parts

When somebody asks, what is the difference between Alternate Part and Substitute Part? We always get confused. Hence I am putting definitions for each.

Alternate Part:

An Alternate Part is a component that is a suitable replacement for another part in every assembly in which the original part occurs. Companies use alternate parts when multiple vendors can supply parts that serve the identical function and fit.

 

Substitute Part:

A substitute part is a component that is a suitable replacement for another part in only one assembly in which the original part occurs.