The cost of product development for a vehicle program accounts for about 5% of the spend, according to Mike Ray technical director, Transportation & Mobility for Dassault Systèmes (3ds.com). Yet PD affects about 75% of the total cost.
Sort of makes you think that it is pretty important to pay attention to that PD part of the equation, doesn’t it?
Dassault Systèmes, of course, provides software for product development. And what’s interesting is that whereas for the past few years software companies have been describing their offerings as “solutions,” there is a terminology change as the company has evolved its V6 platform of late. Now it is offering what it calls the “3D Experience.”
No, this isn’t like one of those movies for which you have to wear those funny plastic glasses (although there is the capability of viewing designs within a 3D CAVE (cave automatic virtual environment), for which headgear is de rigueur). Rather, what they’re talking about is providing the means by which product development encompasses parties including designers, engineers, marketing managers, and consumers in a so-called “social enterprise.”
Paul Silver, Dassault global industry program manager for Auto, says that the “3D Experience goes beyond PLM,” that it ranges from conceptual design all the way through after-sales considerations.
To that end, the company has been acquiring a number of companies (e.g., Exalead, a search-based software developer) and putting its capabilities in the cloud. It is working to provide the means by which designers and engineers can truly work on a 24/7 clock and, as Mike Lalande, a director/consultant within the company’s Transportation & Mobility sector, a man with more than 25 years of product development experience at General Motors, puts it, “everything is the same on all screens.” That is, the model is always current; there isn’t the need to run a refresh to update the system to get the current version.
What’s more, as more vehicle platforms are becoming global and variants are being built off of them, having the ability to leverage already-existing parts, components, features, and/or systems is becoming increasingly vital for cost-effective development. Again, this is something that they say the “3D Experience” facilitates.
In a more tactical development, the company has announced that they’ve launched a new release of its Version 5 PLM platform, V5-6R2012, which allows users to edit features of V6 models within V5, thereby allowing downward compatibility between versions, making it easier for customers to work in mixed V5/V6 environments.—GSV