You are Affected by PLM. What is PLM and How to Stop It?

You are Affected by PLM. What is PLM and How to Stop It?

This article is not about stopping a wide-spread, silent and dangerous disease as the title may suggest, but you’re here now so let’s talk about PLM, Product Lifecycle Management. To put it dryly, it’s an information management system that can integrate data, processes, business systems and, ultimately, people in an extended enterprise. [1] Most importantly, it’s a disciplined way to connect and supercharge a ridonkulous amount of information in your company to get a product to market faster, decrease redundant activities, and increase profits. To readers not operating “extended enterprises”, you can imagine PLM to be like the work of ecologists who study complex, living ecosystems. (more…)

Autoshow 2018: Tricky Times Ahead

Autoshow 2018: Tricky Times Ahead

2018 Ford GT at Detroit Auto Show

Image courtesy of Maury Fredricks

Just returned from a trip to attend the Industry Preview Days at the Autoshow in Detroit. It’s about a three-hour drive down I-96 from our home in Grand Haven. Typically, drivers are doing an average of 15 over the prescribed limit and traffic is tight in spots. You can move swiftly across the state and it’s worth the drive to check out the NAIAS, the Autoshow. As designers and engineers, we go to witness and take note of styling and technical trends. For us, it’s a bit of a museum of the past and lens to the future. Ironically, the most innovative vehicles shown may be the death of the show itself.

As I confirmed through multiple conversations at Cobo Hall, the show is dying from the inside. Difficult to change the course of a large ship and the NAIAS is at risk of not being able to adapt to the blurring social and technological landscape. (more…)

We Have a Food Problem in America

We Have a Food Problem in America

Two different viewpoints…

Recently, I’ve attempted to wean myself from daily media sources and the talking heads. It’s a hard habit to kick. My primary sources of news lean towards liberal publications and daily news programs. It does not matter which side of the political divide you’re on, the world is in rough shape and nothing is getting done in the capitals of the world. It’s a pretty depressing picture.

There was an article (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/dining/kimbal-musk-food.html) published in the NY Times last Monday that prompted a welcome diversion in my thinking and a refreshed viewpoint on a few key issues.

Kimbal Musk is a tech entrepreneur who made his early fortune working with his brother Elon. He has the resources to do great things and his ideas about the food ecosystem in this country are worth reflection. His heart is in the right place and I was beginning to embrace his thinking until mid-way through the article. The goal of scale for the food business runs contrary to the immediate need in many communities for healthy sources of food and clean water. The need is now and urgent. Scaling industries takes time, capital and environmental resources. “The problem is that the people who made their money in tech understand disruption and scaling and all of these terms, but they don’t know how to get their hands dirty and engage the neighbors and the farmers and the cooks who make a food community”, said Michel Nischan, the founder and chief executive officer of Wholesome Wave.

Real change happens at the community level and we all have the power to affect positive change.

(more…)

How to Plan, Develop and Deliver a Show Property

How to Plan, Develop and Deliver a Show Property

Naias AI17 Front Seat Render

Well, it’s now only 48 days until the doors open at Neocon 2017…yikes!

Many of our friends in the furniture business are drag racing to the deadline for installation of show properties and prototypes. Wash, rinse and repeat…it’s the same every year.

The furniture industry is not alone in their lean and compressed approach to new product development. Our work with automotive suppliers and consumer products companies is focused on the development of advanced projects, show properties, mock-ups, and prototypes. These are best-in-class companies with brilliant leadership, professional managers, gifted marketers, and fantastic creative and technical teams. Since the downturn, many of these companies have also accumulated significant stockpiles of cash. They have all the resources to do things well and we still find ourselves with tight timing, almost constant scope changes and team misalignment moving from early ideation to completion of show properties.

These are the top three reasons for this condition with a few suggestions for improved team performance and a better outcome to industry shows… (more…)

CES and Auto Show 2017 Automotive Insights

CES and Auto Show 2017 Automotive Insights

I’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on my experience over the past two weeks at CES and Auto Show.

The sequential timing of the shows this year was challenging. I am curious about what is going on behind the scenes with the planning teams for both shows. Will the shows be held during the first two weeks of January 2018 or will they get smart and collaborate on timing to attract more automotive attendees out to the desert? Schedules aside, it was a wonderful experience and I am energized about the future of the mobility business and the challenges ahead!

We find ourselves at unique moment in time to work on wicked problems for drivers and passengers. The trending for autonomous vehicles continues to pick up pace and it will not be long before we are able to call up a guided vehicle to make our way from point A to point B. The real work is just beginning… (more…)

CES 2016 Insights

CES 2016 Insights

 

Photo by John F. Martin for Delphi.

A visit to CES is like taking a trip to Europe. You have to choose where you spend your time or you run the risk of experiential overload. There is a lot to see and too little time. A high degree of patience is required for any visit to Las Vegas. There are people everywhere and dinner reservations are at a premium. These, of course, are developed world problems and I was lucky to be able to experience the show over two busy days.

CES is set up in 2.74m square feet of space housed in three different venues from the north of the Strip to the south end. There were 3800 companies exhibiting and the show attracted approximately 175k visitors from North America, Europe, Asia and many other countries. The investment in manpower, travel, marketing, show design, exhibit fabrication, setup and tear down must be an astronomical number. It’s really amazing that anyone with business credentials, a nominal fee for entry and the desire to walk miles every day can experience everything the show has to offer. (more…)