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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

PTC Virtual Corporate Visit — Operations and Strategy

March 22nd, 2012 by Jeff Rowe

I recently attended a web-based company update by way of a quarterly PTC Virtual Corporate Visit. Over 500 people registered for the event that featured Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s President and CEO, as well as a customer, Dave Winter, VP R&D Lifetime Products. This time, though, I’ll focus on what Mr. Heppelmann had to say.

He started off by saying that PTC has a product and service advantage, meaning that PTC vision is being the premier provider of technology solutions that are transforming how products are created and serviced. PTC focuses on product companies and the processes that determine what and how they will create products and where and how those products will be serviced.

What PTC is offering is not just better products and services, but rather, a better way of creating products and services.

To explain what differentiates PTC’s offerings from ERP, Heppelmann said that ERP optimizes operations through operational coordination, while PTC optimizes product strategy (what-if) with strategy coordination during all phases of the product lifecycle with different functions within a manufacturing organization:
-Hardware and software engineering
-Supply chain and manufacturing
-Sales and service

While what PTC offers is different than ERP, Heppelmann believes it is complementary to ERP to optimize and align the various functions. He likens PTC and ERP as an analogy of left brain (creative) and right brain (logical); both being necessary for a manufacturer to succeed. Another analogy he used was a word processor and a printer. PTC as the word processor for creating and collaborating ideas and information, and ERP being the printer that uses raw materials for creating its end product. He said that it’s a lot more cost effective to make changes with the word processor than it is at the printing stage. True enough.

The bottom line is that Heppelmann was driving the point that it is strategic planning that adds the most long-term value to a company and the products it produces.

According to Heppelmann, PTC consists of five related businesses with the applications and services it offers – PLM, mechanical CAD, application (software) lifecycle management (ALM), supply chain, and service lifecycle. Product information is shared across the various PTC software applications that provide what PTC calls a single source of “digital truth” that represents aligned and optimized decision making – a strategy focus. It also provides an operational focus for managing downstream operations for physical product and service output. For a part created in mechanical CAD is also reflected in the PLM and ALM parts of the PTC ecosystem.

Coming from Mr. Heppelmann the material from this presentation was relatively dry because no specific PTC products were mentioned, but he wants to offer customers products that yield the best business value and enable business process improvement over time. “PTC  doesn’t view it as a transaction, but more of a journey that PTC takes with a customer to solve problems that provide the maximum gain in deployed technologies.”

An interesting take on things from PTC.  Let’s see where this mindset takes PTC.

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