Advent of Open Source in PLM

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1 Advent of Open Source in PLM By SuryakumarShivasagaran, COO and MD of Plural Technology Pvt. Ltd. Contents About the Author... 2 Abstract... 2 What is Open Source Software?... 2 Open Source versus Closed Source... 2 Open Source Business Model... 3 Case for Open Source PLM... 3 Features Comparison between Open Source and Closed Source PLM... 4 Open Source PLM Architecture... 4 Going the Open Source Way for PLM... 4 Open Source in Apparel Manufacturing... 5 Benefits for Stakeholders... 5 Open Source PLM Advantages for Service Providers... 5 Implementation Challenges... 6 Conclusion... 6 About PLURAL TECHNOLOGY:... 7

2 About the Author Mr.Suryakumar is the Co-founder and Director at Plural Technology Pvt. Ltd. and has headed delivery of several large PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and Enterprise Application Implementations globally. His experience in setting up and managing offshore delivery centers for end-to-end software development has helped establish Plural in delivering high quality software profitably. In his current role Surya drives the overall technical product strategy as well as the development of collaboration tools to combine social computing and new product development. Surya also plays a critical role in the design of Social Product Development software and the management of R&D in creating exciting new tools and heads the operations at Plural. Abstract Open source software (OSS)made a major impact on the computer industry in the late 1990s and has since then redefined the way the software is designed, developed and deployed in many areas including Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). There are several open source software products available for all kinds of businesses including apparel and retail among others. This paper examines open source in PLM and explains its impact of PLM implementations. It also discusses the advantages and challenges faced in its pre- and post-implementation phases. What is Open Source Software? Open source refers to software application, tool, utility, component or framework which is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge. The source code is typically a result of the collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the original code and share the results within the enterprise or community. The rationale for the open source is that the programmers can produce a bug-free product for everyone to use. The concept of the open source relies on peer review to find and eliminate bugs in the existing program code. Programmers can read, modify and redistribute the code and as a result the software evolves with the changing needs. Popular open source software offerings include Red Hat Linux and Apache. Open Source versus Closed Source A brief comparison between open source and close source software is given below. Open source 1 Revenue is generated from services such as implementation, support and maintenance required for the product. Maintenance can include bespoke adaptations and extensions for any functionality through re-distribution of the software. 2 There is no user support. If required, support can be bought from the product owner or third party vendor. Closed source Revenue is generated through traditional avenues such as sale of individual copies through licensing and technical support. Maintenance is provided by the product owner. Users can avail product support and upgrades as per the maintenance contract.

3 3 Core aspects such as source code, architecture protocols of software are provided to the users. 4 Businesses can tap into a broad community of developers for improvements and modifications. 5 Product innovation opens to the OSS community. Source code is not made available to the users. The closed source restricts access to people that can access and modify the code. Product innovation limited to product developers. Open Source Business Model The open source business model shifts the commercial value away from the actual products and generates revenue from associated services like application training, systems integration, support, tutorials and documentation. Another possibility to generate revenue from OSS is by selling the source code to customers who are willing to pay, at the same time, provide some binaries for free. Alternatively, the vendors can also provide free source code but with some terms and conditions applicable on the derivatives of the source code. Some companies generate revenue by providing the latest versions of the software to their paying customers. They provide proprietary extensions, modules, plug-in or add-ons as part of the open source package. In some cases, independent developers also accept donations. As a case point, SourceForge.net, accepts user donations to hosted projects. Software users can also come together and pool money and resources to implement a desired functionality. Companies can also sell subscriptions for online users or customers who use the application through the web. Example Much of the Internet runs on open source software tools: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, collectively known as LAMP. Software developers use the open source for the following reasons: Access to source they can customize for their requirements Engage with a community to generate a robust code and quick fix any issues or bugs that surface Minimum or no cost involved Case for Open Source PLM PLM software is often sold to companies as a technology that can help them face the biggest challenges in trend-driven industries and beat competition by rapidly delivering products to market, meeting customer needs, keeping costs under control and facilitating global collaboration. The PLM tools can meet these demands by providing cutting-edge solutions for line planning and calendar management, integrated specification development and global sourcing. PLM software facilitates capturing new ideas at the front end of innovation and design, and efficiently helps teams collaborate across the extended supply chain. This said, the license fees associated with most PLM software can prove to be a major investment for organizations. Also, it is difficult to anticipate the number of licenses needed and to fit the costs involved into a budget. This is one reason why most PLM software end up being used by engineers rather than by all stakeholders and teams involved in the design, development, and deployment of the products. When the design, manufacturing, merchandising, supply chain and product teams work within a PLM system, you are better able to address the complexity and speed requirements to launch product in the market and optimize ROI. And this is why there is the need for an open source software license model in PLM for industries.

4 Features Comparison between Open Source and Closed Source PLM The table below highlights some of the differences between open source and the traditional PLM packages. Quality planning and management CAD Feature Open Source PLM Closed PLM Quality and planning management is part of an open source PLM. Usually there is no tight integration with CAD and open source PLM has to depend on third party tools. The feature is not part of the PLM; however the product owners usually provide as a separate product. PLM software usually has Pro-E as default CAD tool. Product customization Integration capabilities The software can be customized like the commercially available products using any of the latest technologies like SOA for integration and flexible customization. The software has various tools through which integrations can be done. The product can be customized to an extent but customization can t change the core application layer. Some PLM offer services through a SOA tool kit for external integration but the tools are not fully matured. Open Source PLM Architecture Open source PLM is built on advanced Model-Based Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and its applications can be customized to meet specific business requirements. Rules, workflows, data structures, graphics, business logic, and other features and functionalities can be created or modified using browser-based graphical administration tools without complex programming. The solution is scalable and flexible and can be adapted to suit the organization s needs rather than the other way round. Going the Open Source Way for PLM The main advantage of open source PLM is to provide a license-free PLM tool, thereby reducing the total PLM implementation cost. Besides, it also empowers organizations to avoid complex licensing schemes and hidden costs options that are the hallmark of closed PLM packages. The software also removes the need for up-front capital budget for implementation. Open source PLM provides service-oriented architecture, which is a flexible software based on reusable components. The tools allow users to analyse and process information graphically. The business analytical and logic is separate from the underlying core software system. The way the software is built allows for easy updation and modifications.

5 The open source PLM software can be used by both small and large-scale enterprises. While some companies use it as a primary system, others may use only some features and functions. The PLM provides a broad suite of functions and functionalities for product management, vendor collaboration, design analysis, quality planning, and product engineering. The software incorporates the most advanced service-oriented architecture (SOA) on the Microsoft platform, which is flexible enough to support a company s specific business processes. The innovative business model means that users can gain access to a comprehensive enterprise PLM solution with the significant advantages of the open model. Open Source in Apparel Manufacturing In the apparel manufacturing industry, open source PLM can manage the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. The core of open source PLM lies in the creation and central management of all product data and the technology used to access this information and knowledge. Open source PLM integrates tools such as CAD, CAM and PDM tools with methods, people and the processes through all stages of a product s life for: BOM Management Global Product Development Manufacturing Process Outsourced Manufacturing Advanced Document Management Benefits for Stakeholders Designers: Coordinate and manage product information, design ideas, style mixes more effectively. Product Managers: Collaborate with the extended enterprise across the complete product development lifecycle and better address the complexity and speed requirements. Operations and quality: Complete transparency across the supply chain to ensure sustainability, regulatory, and customer compliance. Vendors: Real-time visibility of the procure-to-pay processes and access to data required to plan capacity and production. Executives: Visibility into costs, schedules, and progress for product launch. Unlimited licenses: No limit to the number of licenses that a business can use. Open Source PLM Advantages for Service Providers The open source PLM delivers a broad suite of applications that cover the entire product development lifecycle from concept to design through production to end delivery. There is a comprehensive set of tools for art workflow, version control, security and change management. The software is available for free as a commercial open source offering. This gives companies the licensing flexibility and the power to modify source code.

6 The platform works with Microsoft technology allowing companies to leverage Microsoft technology applications already in use within the organization. The software supports CAD integration functionality like UG-NX, Solid Edge, Pro-E, Co Create, CATIA, Solid Works, Inventor and AutoCAD2 for a wide range of Computer-Aided Design already in place in their organizations. The.Net based architecture enables connection with other applications like ERP and CRM systems through a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). The business advantage is that it allows organizations to effectively use their existing assets rather than invest in new ones. The software also makes redundant silo culture within the organization and at the same time streamlines, automates and enables better tracking, visibility and communication within various processes. Implementation Challenges Throughout the manufacturing industry like apparel and retail, companies employ a wide array of IT practices and solutions to improve productivity, reduce costs, and promote innovations in products and design to retain a competitive edge in the market. Manufacturing organizations, in addition to developing their own software, need to choose and invest in other software applications for better ROI and to remain ahead of an ever evolving market dynamics. It is no longer enough for organizations to use open source PLM software to improve their operations they also have to ensure that the software integrates seamlessly with multiple applications that are already part of the production processes. In order to maximize product and business innovation with open source PLM, the companies must also have in place important cross-life cycle business processes to manage the overall product portfolio; programs and platforms to simulate the system across the product development lifecycle; and capture and manage the marketplace. Also, the introduction of new technology, and one that has yet to gain common ground in the market place, is bound to meet with resistance and friction by the employees and other stake holders. It can also lead to insecurity of job loss and fear of underperformance. Companies need to address the insecurities of the employees and limit risk exposure before implementing the open source PLM. To achieve seamless integration, organizations must define all adoption procedures, identify and describe reactive and proactive outcomes, and communicate the implementation process to management, colleagues and project stakeholders. Conclusion This paper builds a strong case for companies to conduct a PLM pilot around the open source software. This will provide a yardstick against which to judge the incremental value it provides in strengthening the organization s operating processes.

7 About PLURAL TECHNOLOGY: Plural Technology Pvt. Ltd. (PTPL) is a Systems Solutions and Consulting company focusing on Apparel/Textile Industry. Our team of experts both functional and technical in PLM, and Apparel/Textile Process Consultancy can ensure solving your organizations' enterprise needs around systems selection, implementation, customization, integration and support. In the current market scenario, organizations continuously strive to reduce costs of their operations. A one stop shop for organisational productivity improvement covering Textile Consulting, Operations, IT consulting, is much sought after because of its unique advantages. At PTPL we understand the significance of cost reduction through productivity improvement that Organizations would benefit from. PTPL offers the most cost effective solutions to its customers, with the latest in technology offerings. PTPL brings to you solutions which have great performances, functionalities and yet low on the costs of implementation and support services. Established by a group of professionals with passion for Technology in Apparel/Textile. PTPL is an associate member of CMAI (Clothing Manufacturers association of India) and engaged with Fibre2Fashion, AEPC (Apparel Exporters Promotion Council) Mumbai. Over 70 percent of our business is repeat and referral and with our customer roster. Our consultants have helped organizations like Whirlpool, Blauer Manufacturing, Amscan, PDP etc For more information on our Products and Services visit

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