Manufacturing leaders share insights on end-to-end configuration management transformation.
Online Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) Summit May 17-19.
By David Soyka, Senior Editor, Industry Today
Manufacturers of complex products take note: the Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) Summit 2022 online event is coming up soon, May 17, 18, 19. This year’s topic is “Mastering Configuration Complexity to Enable Growth, Mitigate Risk and Reduce Cost.” Interested attendees can register here.
The first Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) Summit was held in 2015 to discuss how to change disconnected thinking about product development and implementation among engineering, manufacturing and sales operations.
“Back then CLM wasn’t that well-known of a concept, except among engineers,” notes Johan Salenstedt, CEO of Configit, the global CLM solutions leader and supplier of business-critical software for the configuration of complex products, which hosts the Summit. “Today, CLM is more well-known. But it is still our job to educate, and this year’s Summit is a part of that effort.”
The 2022 Summit is free to attend, with many of the sessions archived for repeat viewing. “The initial reason for doing the Summit virtually is of course the pandemic,” Salenstedt points out. “But there is something to be said for actual face-to-face meetings. As there is for the convenience and accessibility of virtual. So going forward, some sort of hybrid combination of in-person and online participation is probably going to be the norm for conducting the Summit.”
The keynote speakers are Rajesh Patnaik, Partner and Principal, PwC U.S.; Dave Rhodes, Senior VP, Unity; and Lakshminarayanan C., Industry Principal, Infosys Limited, Infosys. In addition, there are case studies and panel discussions featuring leaders representing Configit, Jaguar Land Rover, Emerson, Signify, FG Wilson, CNH Industrial, and Johnson Controls. There are also breakout rooms with opportunities to visit virtual vendor booths and book one-on-one sessions with presenting experts.
Potential attendees can choose three tracks to follow for this year’s summit: Senior Management, Sales Leaders and Engineering Leaders. “It reflects the different perspectives of these functions, with the understanding that they are all making decisions using the same data,” Salenstedt says. “Senior managers are coming from an enterprise-wide view to make decisions on how to grow revenues, reduce costs and mitigate risks. Salespeople are looking at digital strategies to close deals faster, reduce time-to-market and deliver exceptional customer service. Engineers want to make things cost-effectively using technology to develop the products sales can best market and help the overall enterprise grow and gain competitive advantage.”
Single Source of Truth
The underlying concept of CLM is to unite engineering design, manufacturing and sales to reduce costs, enable growth and minimize risk. “It’s a more holistic approach,” Salenstedt explains. “The same data used by engineering to create a product is needed to make it and market it. For complex products, that data is going to change over the product life cycle. You don’t want engineering making a product that costs too much to manufacture, or sales marketing it at the wrong price point or with certain features that aren’t marketable. And the data that affects these kinds of decision are constantly changing in response to dynamic market conditions, customer needs and technological improvements.”
He adds, “Everything that goes into making a product needs to work with the same information. It’s what we call the single source of truth. Manufacturers can best attain and maintain competitive advantage with an end-to-end configuration management process based on this single source of truth.”
What stands in the way of obtaining this single source of truth? “Legacy systems are hard to support and update,” Salenstedt says. “You’ve got five to ten systems working independently. Even modern ERP, CRM and CPQ systems aren’t completely integrated. So, unfortunately, many manufacturers of complex products still operate within these data silos. The inability to understand, share, update and effectively utilize this data among functional departments results in delays and bottlenecks that hinder product development, competitive advantage and exceptional customer experiences.”
Product Configuration-Driven Data Transformation
CLM shifts the focus of traditional digital transformation initiatives from process-driven to product configuration data-driven. “Like any digital transformation, there’s no real endpoint. It’s a continual journey of discovery and response to what you discover. And like any digital transformation, there’s a need to redefine assumptions considering new technology. An elevator isn’t just an elevator anymore. It’s a personal transport system. Thinking about it that way makes you think about different kinds of data sets you might need to cost-efficiently design, manufacture and market a personal transport system, as opposed to just an elevator.”
An additional benefit to CLM is greater transparency. “Customers are concerned about sustainability practices and CO2 consequences. With CLM it is so much easier to track and document the use of sustainable product configurations. Customers know exactly what the carbon footprint of your product is because they know exactly what goes into configuring the product. Sustainability is also a competitive differentiator; these days, customers are more likely to choose the more sustainable product,” Salenstedt says.
Configit was co-founded in 2000 by current CSO Henrik Reif Andersen whose research led to the development of Virtual Tabulation® (VT), a patented, compilation-based software that calculates every possible correct configuration before a product is manufactured, ensuring only valid configurations are ever sent to the manufacturing floor. Virtual Tabulation® is the building block of all Configit solutions.
Salenstedt notes that Configit provides customers with an open-source platform to integrate systems and introduce new apps. “We work with the customer’s existing systems and wherever they are on their digital transformation journey. But wherever they are in that journey, developing a single source of truth helps them get to market faster, update products faster, better serve customer needs and gain significant competitive advantage.”
Perhaps the most significant indicator of the growing “buy-in” for CLM is that Configit competitors are widely adopting the term. But according to Salenstedt, adopting the term isn’t quite the same as building the concept. “Our competitors are using CLM as a marketing tool to position their CPQ or CPM systems. But they don’t have experience in the necessary technologies and strategic partnerships, or the complete understanding of the CLM eco-system. We’ve been doing this for over 20 years. Configit is unique in our competencies and our technologies.”
Stop product complexity from holding back your business transformation. Achieve peak operational performance using CLM technologies. Create a strategic path to growth, cost savings and risk reduction. Attend the CLM 2022 Summit.
Configit helps customers solve complex configuration problems to achieve competitive advantage by employing strategic partnerships, Virtual Tabulation®, a multi-patented configuration technology that easily integrates into applications and a community of open-source platform apps and services.
This article is sponsored by Configit.