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Business and Information Management Architectures for Delivering Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in Engineer to Order (ETO) Products


Abstract and Figures

BAE Systems Naval Ships is undertaking a comprehensive overhaul of all aspects of its approach to the engineering, design and manufacture of complex warships. Through a partnership with the University of Strathclyde, research is underway on the implementation of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to meet organisational objectives. An overview of PLM is provided highlighting the challenges specific to the characteristics of Engineering to Order (ETO) products. These challenges relate to understanding PLM organisational objectives and aligning these with the relevant technology. Central to BAE Systems Naval Ships PLM approach is the Integrated Bill of Materials (iBoM) which is a critical enabler for the organisations transformational objectives. The implementation of the iBoM will be used to develop a framework for implementing PLM to ensure that the technology supports the business objectives of ETO product development, i.e. the integration of business and technology architectures.
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DA McKendry, BAE Systems Naval Ships, UK
RI Whitfield and AHB Duffy University of Strathclyde, UK
BAE Systems Naval Ships is undertaking a comprehensive overhaul of all aspects of its approach to the engineering, design
and manufacture of complex warships. Through a partnership with the University of Strathclyde, research is underway on
the implementation of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to meet organisational objectives. An overview of PLM is
provided highlighting the challenges specific to the characteristics of Engineering to Order (ETO) products. These
challenges relate to understanding PLM organisational objectives and aligning these with the relevant technology. Central
to BAE Systems Naval Ships PLM approach is the Integrated Bill of Materials (iBoM) which is a critical enabler for the
organisations transformational objectives. The implementation of the iBoM will be used to develop a framework for
implementing PLM to ensure that the technology supports the business objectives of ETO product development, i.e. the
integration of business and technology architectures.
BAE Systems Naval Ships is the UK’s leading provider of
surface ships and through-life support, a world-class
industrial partner for the UK Ministry of Defence and a
leader in the global market for warships and innovative
naval surface ship support.
At BAE Systems Naval Ships, a comprehensive overhaul of
all aspects of its approach to the engineering, design and
manufacture of complex warships is underway. Significant
investment in technology, infrastructure, people and
processes is enabling a step change in efficiency, quality
and safety, helping to ensure Naval Ships remains
competitive and delivers the best value for money to its
BAE Systems has established a long-term partnership with
the University of Strathclyde, one of the UK’s top centres
for engineering research and education. The move aims to
encourage close co-operation in the development of
advanced maritime research and technology. This paper
describes research collaboration between BAE Systems
and the University of Strathclyde on the implementation
of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) on Engineering to
Order (ETO) Products. The paper demonstrates that a
tailored approach to PLM implementation is needed for
ETO products to ensure that PLM aligns with the
organisation’s strategic objectives, related processes,
requirements and technology. The paper will provide an
overview of PLM followed by a description of specific PLM
challenges on ETO products compared to other product
types. There will then be a description of the concept of
an Integrated Bill of Materials (iBoM) which is a key PLM
enabler for achieving BAE Systems Naval Ships
transformational objectives. The next step for the
research will be to analyse the implementation of the
iBoM on a BAE Systems Naval Ships programme with the
findings used to develop a framework for implementing
PLM as an enabler to technology supporting business
objectives on ETO products, i.e. the integration of
business and technology architectures
To realise business objectives in complex new product
development requires sophisticated IT systems such as
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Computer Aided
Manufacturing, (CAM) and Computer Aided Design (CAD)
[1]. Whilst these technologies bring significant benefits
they also introduce new challenges to the organisation,
such as balancing design creativity with the robust rules
implemented in the system, and the difficulties with
managing the configuration of the information across
multiple geographical locations. The technologies have
enabled organisations that produce large-scale, complex
(Engineer to Order) products to become integrators of
systems developed in an extended enterprise by the
various stakeholders across multiple geographical
locations [1,2]. These technologies are a key enabler to
BAE Systems Naval Ships ensuring cost and quality
improvements for their products considering the
challenges of designing complex Naval Ships across an
extended enterprise.
Sääksvuori and Immonen described the benefits of PLM as
providing easy access to up-to date, relevant and
configured information [3]. This enables tasks such as
design or planning to be improved and timescales reduced
as the approved information can be presented, used and
reused in a more efficient way. PLM supports the
extended enterprise by ensuring not only that information
is available to all those who require it, but at the same
time controlling access to only those who have authority
to view or update this information. This is especially true
in BAE Systems Naval Ships where the design and build
takes place across multiple locations with multiple
stakeholders. Information access must be carefully
analysed, configured, implemented and managed, to
ensure quality and that the organisation is compliant with
its security and regulatory obligations.
Information management in the context of PLM is not
only to aid the delivery of a configuration chosen by a
customer, but to ensure the design, build and support of
the product is robust. PLM ensures that during the
product’s lifecycle, the information is properly structured
and that any design changes are highlighted and
effectively communicated, aiding improved decision
making, decreased approval time, decreased rework and
improved quality as relevant information is presented to
those who need it when it is required [3]. Robust
configuration management processes and technology
across the entire project and supply chain are needed,
which is a requirement from the high volume of evolving
information which affects the design of Naval Ships,
resulting in a critical need to capture, understand,
communicate and action new information concurrently
with the design, manufacture and support phases. A full
audit history of the timing and responsibility of change is
critical for decision traceability. This not only contributes
to the organisation’s knowledge but is also necessary for
managing the maturity of the design and to support
business measurement for targeting areas for
These descriptions and benefits can be summed up as
PLM being a product centric business model which is
supported by Information Management Technology (IMT)
across the entirety of a product’s lifecycle, involving
people, processes and organisations in order to achieve a
product performance or service goal [4]. Brunsmann and
Wilkes describe the main goal of PLM as being to support
the integration of people, information, process and
systems, to provide an information backbone to the
business [5]. What is certain is that “IT Applications that
support PLM have assumed critical importance as
companies focus on enhancing the efficiency and
effectiveness of their innovation across the enterprise”
[6]. These benefits are especially important for major
defence products given the limited budgets but increasing
demand for advanced capability [7].
It’s important to distinguish between the concept of PLM
and the supporting technology. PLM is often mistakenly
confused with the PLM technology, when in fact the
technology is there to support the people, process and
product objectives of the organisation. The supporting
technology, or PLM System, is typically referred to as a
Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) product which aims to
provide a single vendor integrated solution to meet all the
PLM needs of an organisation, often by acquiring and
integrating smaller commercial solutions into their overall
suite of systems. A single solution which meets all the
needs of an organisation throughout the lifecycle of the
product is not yet available; a more accurate
representation of a PLM system is a series of
interconnected applications, or systems of systems, which
perform various functions throughout the lifecycle of the
product across the extended enterprise [4]. These
interconnected systems have their own integration
challenges resulting in numerous examples in industry
where the COTS products are heavily customised by the
organisation to meet their capability needs within a single
solution. They can be integrated for data exchange and
reporting purposes through a backbone such as a data
warehouse where the information is structured and
represented based on the source PLM systems [8]. An
important requirement of a PLM system is to capture
information and to provide traceability throughout the
lifecycle of the product [9] including providing version and
audit management of the product information [10]. This
information should be ‘smart’ to ensure that it can be
used effectively and to support the transformation into
knowledge [9]. Capturing this information across the
lifecycle of the product in the PLM system will support
design reuse through managing the configuration of the
design and its intent [5]. This reuse is supported through
the relationships with supporting documentation and
workflows, ensuring that when engineers change roles,
retire or leave the organisation, the legacy of their work
can be exploited in the future [5].
Changes to the traditional nature of Naval Shipbuilding
have resulted in the transformation from a
design/manufacture perspective to include the product’s
behaviour in-service and after sales support, which is
driven by the customer’s need to increase quality and
reduce costs. This product-service paradigm means that
information management technology must be robust
enough to last the entire lifecycle of the product from
concept through to disposal [11]. Ensuring that this
information can be robustly stored, controlled and reused
has been an area of research for industry and academia
over the last decade [12-14] and has been identified as
being a way to increase revenue and customer
satisfaction, for both the product provider and customer
PLM Systems are now seen as a mandatory element in
reducing risk in large-scale, complex, long-life products by
supporting virtual simulation and prediction [16]. This is
especially true with defence products which have to
undertake rigorous inspection and auditing in not only the
virtual and physical elements but also with the supporting
decision making information [7].
In their 2012 PLM market analysis report, CIMData stated
that PLM implementation was extremely challenging and
expensive with $29.9 billion being invested in PLM in 2011
of which $19.1 billion (64%) of that was in the applications
themselves. Despite these investments, few companies
have realised the projected benefits [6]. There are
numerous reasons for the varying degrees of success
including the organisation focusing on individual aspects
of PLM and failing to take a holistic approach. This may be
due to the organisation failing to really understand what
PLM means [17]. There are gaps in literature and research
relating to PLM [17] highlighting a lack of detailed
research into actual PLM implementations [18]. There is
also the challenge of understanding which functionality
should be adapted to support the business processes, and
which processes should be adapted to support the
functionality [3]. This is a key point as often organisations
will turn to system vendors or internal
analysts/programmers to solve their PLM problems, which
leads to heavy customisation of the PLM systems, and in
turn results in the organisation assuming more ownership
of these systems, impacting on-going support and future
upgrades [19].
When implementing PLM, the organisation should first
understand its strategic objectives and core processes and
use this to decide on the PLM approach, which in turn
should influence the PLM system implementation. This is
certainly not trivial as the alignment of business
objectives, process and functionality is one of the key
challenges to PLM implementation [20] and is an area that
the PLM systems vendors have difficulty in resolving [17].
This may be due to a lack of understanding on the part of
the PLM system vendors with regard to their customer’s
needs, which may in turn be due to a customer’s inability
to understand their own relationship between strategic
objectives, process and technology requirements.
Therefore it is clear that further research is required in the
implementation of the technology to align with the
organisation’s processes and the strategic vision, with
problems arising tracking performance and quality across
the extended enterprise [1]. Without this research, the
organisation will suffer the fate impacting other major
enterprise IT investments, that of a disconnect between
the investment in IT itself and lack of return in business
value due to problems with aligning IT with other aspects
of the organisational [6].
Engineer to Order products, such as Naval Shipbuilding
are extremely challenging due to their unique
characteristics and challenges, these are described below:
Complexity and uncertainty
The level of complexity is one of the greatest challenges to
manage within the development of ETO products as they
have a large number of different types of elements
interacting across its lifecycle in difficult to predict ways.
Complex systems can be described as being unpredictable
as a result of change within their operating environment,
which differs from complicated systems where there are
many interactions between the elements of the system
but they can be predicated and understood.
A naval ship can be described as being complicated in its
operational behaviour as a product but is highly complex
in its design, manufacture and support due to its
unpredictability throughout its lifecycle, meaning that its
complexity varies through life.
Customer interaction and procurement
The delivery lead-time for ETO products is considerably
longer than other product types as the design and
subsequent procurement is developed to satisfy the
customer requirements [21]. These delivery lead-times
relate to the commitment from a customer on the order.
Customers generally commit earlier within ETO projects,
this is often called the customer order de-coupling point
[22] or order penetration point [23]. The customer in ETO
products commits to the order early in the design lifecycle
and therefore has a significant input into the design,
manufacture and procurement strategies, such as insisting
on a supplier tendering process for each programme.
Product Customisation
Hicks and McGovern state that ETO products have a high
level of customisation due to their low volume and high-
complexity [2]. This results in higher levels of risk relating
to longer lead times and increased costs. They also state
that the structure of ETO products consists of a mixture of
supplier systems that are both designed bespoke or
heavily customised to perform a specific function, and
subject to a unique and specific set of requirements such
as a weapons systems on a naval ship. These are alongside
aspects of the design which are commercially available
off-the-shelf, which are subject to a more general set of
requirements such as valves. This mixture results in
various degrees of complexity in the design and
manufacturing process, where the design is managed
through careful interaction with the suppliers, which is
achieved using contract management principles and
sporadic data flow through the lifecycle of the product.
Bill of Materials (BoM), change and maturity
Customer commitment early in the design lifecycle
requires significant product information management to
ensure the evolution of the design is managed to conform
to their specific requirements. The Bill of materials (BoM)
is well defined within MTS and ATO products once
manufacturing begins, which means that there are few
emergent patterns to contend with during the
manufacturing planning and execution phases [24]. Naval
ship products have an evolving BoM where the product
information gradually matures and requires careful
management due to the emerging variables and its
dynamic nature [24], these variables include changes due
to the evolving supplier information which impacts the
design, such as the size of a gas turbine increasing which
in turn affects the space allocated in the compartment. In
naval ship new product development, the manufacturing
phase begins before the BoM is fully mature, in order to
reduce the overall design and manufacturing lifecycle.
Therefore changes to the BoM can have extensive impact
to schedules and costs of the product if not managed
effectively [24]. The impact of these changes increases as
the design and manufacturing lifecycle evolves due to the
locked in costs; the more mature the lifecycle phases the
more rework is required which will have a potentially
considerable impact on the product’s development cost
and schedule. Hicks and McGovern describe standard
product development as a structured evolution from
concept, design and manufacturing [2]. However in ETO
products this is a highly iterative process which results in
change in areas such as the design, manufacturing,
contracts with supplier and customer, and with the cost
model. Due to the close interaction with the various
stakeholders, these changes must be analysed,
understood and managed carefully, with impact-
assessment being one of the key techniques used to
support this management. Hicks and McGovern go onto
say that whilst there is considerable research into change
management there is little with direct relevance to ETO
products [2].
Project management
Amongst the challenges of ETO delivery are the
complexity of the product due to emerging patterns which
impact the initial cost estimations and requirements
resulting in cost increases and schedule overruns [25].
These complexities require consideration within project
management for the design, manufacture and in-service
support of these products [25]. This recognition of the
need for robust project management reflects a history of
considerable schedule and cost overruns on ETO products
which results in a need for more advanced project
management principles beyond those normally applied to
less complex products relating to risk, schedule, resource
and governance management [26]. These are used to
support specialised production processes that have widely
varying operational types spread across an activity driven
schedule, which are based on the lifecycle of the product
[27]. The challenges relate to the difficulty in taking a
bottom-up approach to estimating and establishing plans
for these products, which are the norm in other
engineering and construction projects [28], which is due
to the characteristics of ETO product delivery such as the
emerging patterns and lack of prototypes that require a
means of contingency and risk management which are
difficult to predict and manage. The lifecycle of these
products mean that the requirements are at a very high-
level before a gradual transformation into a physical
product over a long period of time; this transition
introduces changes to the product which affect the cost
and schedule estimates [28]. The extent of the project
management challenges has been highlighted by Merrow:
65% of 300 projects with a budget bigger than $1B failed
to meet their objectives, whether it’s safety, cost,
schedule or realising the primary function of the product
No prototype
With ETO products there is a critical need to ensure that
it’s ‘right-first-time’ due to the lack of a prototype which
in turn is due to the small number of similar products
produced [7]. Typically prototyping allows error removal
and efficiency improvements through their various
iterations, this includes aspects relating to the design,
manufacture and in-service support. While considerable
design and planning is undertaken prior to a prototype
being developed, before actual mass production is
started, the prototypes have proven the design and
manufacturing process and demonstrated the concept. In
comparison, a first of class (FOC) naval ship begins
manufacturing prior to the design being completed, it
would therefore be accurate to state that an FOC naval
ship is both a prototype as well as a delivered product.
PLM plays a significant role in virtual prototyping, in
conjunction with the 3D CAD models, allowing for
visualisations of the product to be produced, but there are
no physical prototypes produced prior to the FOC.
Automotive and Aerospace in comparison have
prototypes created prior to the production-line generating
actual products.
As described above PLM is a critical enabler to the
successful new product development process for Engineer
to Order products due to their unique characteristics and
challenges. BAE Systems Naval Ships has implemented an
approach to manage these challenges for Naval
Shipbuilding. The core of the PLM approach is the concept
of an Integrated Bill of Materials (iBoM). The vision for the
iBoM is: an integrated Bill of material which evolves
throughout the products lifecycle to enable the business
objectives of all of the stakeholders’.
This means that Naval Ships will create BoMs for each
stage of the lifecycle that are aligned, integrated, are
timely, and do not need translating at the point of use
This will enable significant benefits to all activities which
rely on quality product information. There are a number
of key business objectives of which the iBoM is a key
enabler, these include:
Maturity Management to support product evolution and
cost/schedule adherence
The iBoM is the backbone to the maturity measurement
and management approach for Naval Ships. In order to
enable active management of the parts, and their
associated data within the iBoM, a policy has been
developed to capture and measure maturity, such as with
Geometry, Electrical Data, Wild Heat; Weight, Provenance
etc. These not only enable individual use of the BoM data
to feed key engineering activities such as the design
review programme, but they will also serve as a
foundation to enable maturity measurement at spatial
(e.g. compartment) and system level.
Cross functional BoM hierarchies
As shown in Figure 1 the iBOM consists of a number of
hierarchies that break the product definition down in
ways appropriate to different business needs. These
hierarchies are interdependent forming an integrated Bill
of Material. This is achieved by using a common set of
configured items to identify part usage across multiple
hierarchies. These configured items uniquely identify
every usage of each part within the Parts Catalogue and
link to applicable hierarchies to create a cross functional
product definition. They include: Design, Planning,
Operations and Support
Association of related BoM elements
Where there are instances of the design which relate to
one another but require to be configured in their own
right, they will be related and managed through the iBoM.
Examples include seats or mounts for equipment,
contents of a server or those which constitute a module.
PDM as the Master
First time quality will be improved by reducing waste and
change within Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain
caused by inadequate alignment to engineering product
data between CAD, PDM and ERP. This is shown in Figure
The benefits of this approach are:
Significant reduction in waste and rework from
misalignment of the product data, the consequential
cost of change and ensures Engineers spend more
time focussed on value-add activities to improve the
quality of the product.
Toolset rationalisation to reduce data duplication,
misalignment of data and technology costs
A key enabler to the reduction in the cost of product
change management
PDM as the means to drive the population of ERP
Enables a full BoM in the PDM system to support
other initiatives, e.g. Digital Planning, Completions
Management, PDM to ERP etc.
Digital Planning
An integrated Bill of Material which identifies the product
breakdown to an installable level, and accurately
describes their maturity, enables planning activities to be
undertaken 18-24 months earlier than is traditionally the
case. As shown in Figure 1, this coupled with a 3D
visualisation of the model, means that work sequencing
can be planned earlier and data pushed to ERP when the
maturity is deemed to be at the required level.
Design for support
Traditionally there have been issues with capturing and
managing in-service support product data that have
caused the transition of BoM management between the
design and build phases into in-service support to be
problematic. These include:
Not effectively capturing the required Support data
against the BoM, resulting in misalignment and
quality issues
A lack of transition planning, including responsibilities
and process, between the Design & Manufacture and
the In-Service Support teams;
A lack of coherence between Naval and design
Figure 1 the iBoM and its relationships as part of the over BAE Systems Naval Ships PLM concept
numbering structures,
Maintainable level parent and child relationships not
being captured in the BoM prior to the handover
Different IT systems used for the management of the
As shown in Figure 1 the iBoM will address these concerns
Maintainable parent and child breakdown and
associated data from the supply chain which will be
captured and integrated with the design
Use of in-service support numbering convention for
BoM occurrences.
Use the same capability for iBoM management within
the in-service environment
No duplication of data between design and support
systems therefore no misalignment and quality issues
Supply chain data capture and delivery
A requirement for PLM is to reduce manual data entry and
improve data quality, particularly with the supplier
information. The iBoM will incorporate a mechanism to
support the receipt and verification of supplier equipment
information, as shown in Figure 1. This enables the
capturing of supplier equipment attributes and
breakdown, which in turn can be easily reviewed and
when approved automatically implemented into the PDM
system, thus significantly reducing review, data entry and
quality issues. The key benefits of this approach are:
Increase in data quality from the supplier
Reduction in same data being requested (and paid
for) more than once
Engineering no longer have to manually update
supplier information into the PDM System
Reduces queries with suppliers
Full Parent/child breakdown of Part captured and
automatically loaded into the iBoM for support and
damage/loss activities
Reduces timescales for review and verification of
supplier data
Comprehensive attribution of Parts for Engineering,
support, planning and supply chain
Repeatable manufacturing identification
One of the key PLM enablers for business transformation
is using the iBoM is to support the identification and
management of repeatable manufacturing processes to
reduce the number of bespoke activities during build, in
Figure 1. The benefits of this approach are:
Reduced Norms through defined\simpler designs &
developing specialised processes
Eliminate process redundancy/unnecessary
Standard operating procedures & improved safety
Reduced design effort - pick from a controlled,
refined product catalogue or design within known
Spatial requirements defined , reduced rework
Supply chain
Reduced material variation and greater order
volumes thus reducing cost
Reduced inventory foot print, and easier part
Defined design characteristics for re-sourcing like
In-service support
Reduced inventory cost\ footprint for in-service
support and enabling commonality across the fleet
Standard operating methods for removal and refit
Predefined routings to support Digital Planning &
reduce planning at quarterly look-aheads
Enables planning focus on the bespoke activities
Earlier & more accurate capacity planning
PLM is central to meeting the transformational objectives
of BAE Systems Naval Ships, with the iBoM
implementation a critical enabler. An approach to the
successful implementation of PLM for ETO products can
be generated by examining the implementation of the
Enterprise Architecture (EA) provides a potential approach
to PLM implementation within ETO product development
as it is designed to facilitate the alignment of business
objectives and organisational models/processes (business
architecture) with technological capability (technology
architecture). Amongst the benefits of using EA is the
capture of an as-is problematic state and a targeted to-be
environment which aids greatly in managing the transition
and capturing the organisational complexity.
EA supports the creation of information describing the
business strategy, model, process and technology in an
organisation. This allows a business to manage a major
undertaking, such as remodelling a complicated design
and manufacturing process, by splitting it up into smaller
chunks [30]. These smaller elements are documented and
their relationships captured, which enables an improved
view and understanding of the relevant aspects of the
business, thus supporting an improved decision making
environment [31].
One of the key challenges with EA is the link between the
business and the technology architectures. Research has
been undertaken to provide guidance on integrating
business and technology architectures and also to validate
the importance of aligning business strategy with
technology investment [6, 32], but not in the context of
implementing PLM for ETO Products.
The business architecture focusses on people and process
to meet the needs of the product or management of the
product delivery, and to produce resultant requirements
to move to an improved position. The technology
architecture links the technology required to enable the
requirements identified through the business
architecture. In order to realise the business value
required by the technology, the investment must ensure
alignment between the organisational context and the IT
itself, so that they complement each other [6]. Further
research is required to identify the level of connection
both environments should share in the context of PLM
implementation in ETO products. This gap is identified as a
significant problem in both industry and supporting
literature, with little research on solving the problem.
The implementation of the iBoM will be piloted on a BAE
Systems Naval Ships programme with the benefits
measured and compared across multiple ships. The results
will be analysed and the findings used to improve the
realisation of the BAE Systems Naval Ships
transformational objectives. In collaboration with the
University of Strathclyde a framework for the successful
implementation of PLM as an enabler for the integration
of business and technology architectures for Engineer to
Order products will be developed.
ETO products have considerable challenges to overcome
when implementing PLM to meet organisational
objectives. These are described as:
complexity and uncertainty
customer interaction and procurement
product customisation
BoM, change and maturity management
project management
no prototype.
PLM is central to BAE Systems Naval Ships achieving its
transformational objectives, with the iBoM being a critical
enabler. In partnership with the University of Strathclyde
a framework to successfully implement PLM on ETO
products will be developed using Enterprise Architecture
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Danny McKendry holds the position of Product Lifecycle
Management (PLM) and Integrated Bill of Material (iBoM)
Engineering Manager at BAE Systems Naval Ships. Prior to
his current role he was the Information Management and
Technology Manager for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship
with BAE Systems Naval Ships. Danny has over 25 years’
experience in large-scale, complex, Engineer to Order
products. He has a BSc in Computer Aided Engineering, an
MSc in Manufacturing: Management and Technology and
an MBA. He is currently a 4th year part-time PhD student
with the DMEM faculty of the University of Strathclyde
with research focusing on PLM implementation in
Engineer to Order products.
Robert Ian Whitfield is a Lecturer in the Department of
Design, Manufacture, and Engineering Management at
the University of Strathclyde. He has approximately 20
years of systems integration experience applied within
large complex product development projects, and has
worked extensively with the shipbuilding industry across
Europe. His research background covers issues relating to
knowledge and information management, design
coordination, collaboration, resource management,
process modelling and optimization, and modular design.
He is chair of a worldwide Special Interest Group on
Collaborative Design.
Alex Duffy is a Professor of Systems Design and currently
Head of the Department of Design Manufacture and
Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde.
His main research interests have been the application and
development of artificial intelligence techniques in design,
knowledge modelling and re-use, process optimisation,
integrated systems, sustainability of technical systems,
performance and value based design, and design
coordination/product development. He is the Editor in
Chief of the Journal of Engineering Design and worked in
the UK’s Ministry of Defence (Naval) for six years on
various practical, technical, and managerial projects. He
has a BSc in Naval Architecture, a PhD in Artificial
Intelligence based Ship Design and over 30 years research
collaboration experience with the European maritime
... The ability to reduce lead times and costs while providing high customisation and flexibility levels is critical to ETO firms' competitiveness (Birkie & Trucco, 2016;Cannas et al., 2018;Gosling et al., 2015). Complying with all of these requirements is challenging, primarily because of the ETO environment's main features, including high product variety and low volume (one-of-a-kind products) (Gosling et al., 2013;Strandhagen et al., 2019), different customisation levels (Hicks et al., 2000), high unpredictability and volatility of customer orders (Adrodegari et al., 2015), no prototype (McKendry et al., 2015), contractual relationships with customers (Adrodegari et al., 2015), long lead times (Hicks et al., 2000), variable processes durations (Hicks et al., 2000;Wikner & Rudberg, 2005), and various engineering disciplines involved (Adrodegari et al., 2015). ...
... However, several authors highlight that among the main challenges ETO projects have to face there is the lack of planning and monitoring of design and engineering activities, while production is typically planned in detail, and the lack of an integrated approach to the management of all processes (Adrodegari et al., 2015;Little et al., 2000). The recognition of the need for robust project management reflects a history of many schedules and cost overruns on ETO products which results in a need for more advanced project management principles beyond those generally applied to less complicated products relating to risk, schedule, resource and governance management (Floricel and Miller, 2001;McKendry et al., 2015). One critical issue is determining the engineering due date and the order delivery date (Grabenstetter & Usher, 2014). ...
... Therefore, the effective management of the specification and design processes is crucial because 75-80% of total avoidable costs are controllable at the requirements definition and design stages (Burt and Doyle, 1993). ETO products need to be "right-first-time" because a prototype is not available (McKendry et al., 2015). ...
This paper analyses the characteristics of a knowledge management system supporting an Engineer-To-Order manufacturing strategy in the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For this reason, after the identification of a set of knowledge management system requirements, three in-depth case studies of Italian small and medium-sized enterprises are discussed. The paper introduces an IT-based tool to support implementing a knowledge management system to enhance Engineer-To-Order manufacturing performance. The paper contributes to advancing the understanding of knowledge management systems’ relevance to improve SMEs’ performance, specifically in the operative context of the Engineer-To-Order business and provides practical implications for IT-based tools defining a platform for the development of knowledge management systems.
... The unique nature and related challenges require PLM implementation to be tackled differently compared to other product types, e.g. aerospace or automotive [6]. A summary of ETO challenges are described below. ...
... BAE Systems Naval Ships has made significant improvements on its approach to PLM including process, information and toolset integration, and its data quality methodology [6]. Through the partnership with the University of Strathclyde, research has been completed to create a framework for PLM implementation guidelines for large-scale, complex, long-life, no prototype, highly customised, one-of/few-of a kind Engineer to Order products to meet organisational objectives. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
BAE Systems Naval Ships has undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of all aspects of its approach to the engineering, design and manufacture of complex warships. Through a partnership with the University of Strathclyde, research has been completed on the implementation of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to meet organisational objectives in the development of Engineer to Order (ETO) products. Engineer to Order (ETO) products include characteristics such as high capital value, large-scale, long-life, no prototype, highly customised and few or one off. An overview of PLM is provided highlighting the challenges specific to the characteristics of ETO products. The paper then provides a summary of the key findings of approximately 30 semi-structured interviews with leading industry personnel, in the UK and internationally, on PLM implementation in ETO products. These participants are engaged with PLM in ETO products either as an implementer or as a key stakeholder with an interest in its successful use within their organisation. The findings have been used to support the development of a framework to ensure that PLM implementation supports the business objectives of ETO product development.
... design and re-design of businesses taking into account the business processes, information systems and supporting methods as well as the related infrastructures [21,22]. Referring to product development as an integral part of an engineering enterprise, the methods of enterprise architecture are also applicable in a design context, in particular when considering PLM [25]. The ArchiMate graphical modeling language [46] has been developed as a standardized task precedence modeling language for enterprise architecture. ...
Full-text available
Current industrial practice does not reflect the opportunities provided by state-of-the-art design automation methods. The limited application of computational methods to support the design process by automating design tasks is caused by the lack of methods for comprehensive design automation task definition. Therefore, potential design automation tasks are not recognized and already deployed solutions lack integration to design practice from a product lifecycle management (PLM) perspective. In response to these shortcomings, this work proposes a method for identification and integration of design automation tasks that features collaborative workshops and enterprise architecture modelling for comprehensive analysis of design processes including its technological environments. The method applies design automation task templates that contextualize the knowledge levels required for design automation task definition and the design process including its technological environments. Evaluation with three industrial cases shows that the method enables efficient identification and integration of potential design automation tasks in a PLM context. The application of knowledge levels in conjunction with enterprise architecture modelling support the identification and validation of the relevant sources of knowledge required for design automation task formalization. Thus, this work contributes by introducing and evaluating a novel method for design automation task definition that brings the opportunities of state-of-the-art design automation methods into line with requirements stemming from design practice and the related PLM.
... CAx [30] or design automation [31], [32]. Still, the works presented in [33], [34] have shown that the principles of enterprise architecture are also applicable in a PLM context. Hence, in this work methods of enterprise architecture are also used for the design and monitoring of PLM strategies. ...
The complexity and dynamics of IT landscapes and related PLM strategies of engineering enterprises are continuously growing due to trends such as Industry 4.0 and ever shorting product development cycles. To ensure interoperability, robustness, flexibility and efficiency of the IT systems and PLM, methods are needed that can handle these dynamics and complexities. In this paper, a method is presented that combines principles from enterprise architecture as well as business process mining to enable continuous improvement of PLM processes and the related IT systems. In particular, process mining is applied to validate the alignment of IT systems with related PLM processes. The method is demonstrated using an industrial case study that highlights the requirements from industrial practice and the applicability of the approach for PLM related processes. The method is shown to be particularly beneficial for the enterprise architects to support them with quantitative data as a basis for the design of continuous improvement cycles to make the PLM evolve. Future work will address the application of process mining for PLM related processes with distributed IT systems and the handling of the related complexity.
This paper presents the first ever framework for implementing Product Lifecycle Management within high value Engineering to Order programmes. When implementing PLM, the organisation should first understand its strategic objectives and core processes and use this to decide on the PLM approach, which should influence the PLM system implementation. The research first highlights that the scale, complexity, uncertainty, long-lifecycle, maturity management and an inability to prototype ETO products results in significant challenges necessitating a tailored approach to PLM Implementation. Thematic analysis of 27 semi-structured interviews from PLM practitioners within ETO product development, was used to develop the framework to address these challenges. The interviewees were selected based on their relationship with PLM on ETO products either as an implementer or as a key stakeholder with an interest in its successful use within their organisation. The framework themes were described in relation to information, process, people and technology and were defined as being either objectives, challenges or enablers. 19 participants were selected from seven ETO organisations to validate the framework using statements that assessed the quality, structure, and versatility. 95% of the participants’ responses either agreed or strongly agreed with the statements. This research contributed to the updated BAE Systems Naval Ships PLM strategy for the design, build and in-service support for the First of Class new generation Royal Navy vessel for a recent shipbuilding programme.
The paper presents a systematic literature review on big size product manufacturing systems in MTO and ETO environments. In particular, the analysis is focused on highly customised, big and heavy products, calling for highly engineering solutions. This kind of products are characterised by low-volume demand, complex material bills, need of more than one worker in the same workstation (caused by the component dimensions and complexity), multi-skilled human resources and large floor space requirements. The analysis involved 587 research articles published from 1981 to 2017 from 118 international journals in the area of production research and operation management. Finally, 160 papers have been individuated and clustered in three main research topic area: specification processes and product design, production planning and control, project portfolio management. Results indicate that research focused on optimising and managing a large-size product manufacturing system is gaining growing attention in the last ten years. However, product/process design, production planning and control and project management techniques still lack innovations and ad hoc methods, capable to take into consideration both in-house part feeding problems, both ergonomics issues present in this kind of manufacturing environments.
Full-text available
Product life-cycle management (PLM) has become something like "a magic wand" for various industries because of its capability to integrate different productmodules via online network through the product's complete life cycle and hence to provide one-window access, thereby making the whole processes of product conception, design, manufacturing, delivery, maintenance, and disposal integrated with a reduction in product development time and cost. However, heavy industries (i.e., shipbuilding and shipbreaking) are different from consumer product industries because of high customization in design process and engineering software, widely varying scales of operations, and less compatibility between different design and production processes, for example, ship production is planned in activity-driven network scheduling system, in general, and is assumed to be more of a construction process or assembly process rather than a production process. In this paper, we present the conceptual development and the basic building concepts for a logic-based PLM system for the shipbuilding industry. Our logic bases consist of modularization, standardization, geographical zoning, and functional zoning. The logic bases of modularization and standardization are used in the ship design and production processes, and the logic bases of geographical zoning and functional zoning are used in "logically grouping" the on-board activities in the ship production process. Overall, this paper introduces a logic-driven methodology for PLM: planning and integration of ship design and production processes. Finally, in our implementation we show that by developing a logic-based PLM system the ship design and production processes become more streamlined and better planned and executed.
Full-text available
In this paper, a recently conducted PDM implementation project in the manufacturing industry is analysed. The aim is to clarify the role and impact of requirements management methods and processes in PLM implementation projects. A literature review summarises existing PLM implementation models. This is followed by an in-depth examination of how a real PDM implementation project was conducted, mapping out the rationale for different courses of actions and the effects they have resulted in. The most challenging requirements management issues in the PDM implementation project are identified and discussed. It is demonstrated that requirements management activities need to form a coherent whole from scoping to testing to contribute to a successful project outcome.
Full-text available
This paper is a result of comprehensive consultation among the authors, with the scientists and leading actors in the area of PLM, which is a reference term for a list of phenomena currently ongoing in the industrial community. This paper discusses the pervasive concept of product lifecycle management (PLM), starting from its history to its constituent elements and its role in the current industry. The authors propose and elaborate their vision for the future steps of the PLM in terms of emerging issues and topics that industrial practitioners and researchers need to address.
Full-text available
In this paper, a recently conducted product lifecycle management (PLM) implementation project is analysed. The aims are to investigate whether published product lifecycle management (PLM) implementation guidelines are relevant to and used in practice, and, if so, to assess how useful they are for guiding project execution. This paper presents an examination of how a real PLM implementation project was conducted, mapping out the rationale for different courses of action and the effects they had. This paper evaluates the degree of relevance and application of existing PLM implementation guidelines. It is found that while most of the guidelines were highly relevant to the project, they were not applied in full. Potential reasons for why the guidelines are not followed are discussed. It is suggested that projects review their plans with the guidelines in mind, evaluating their degree of relevance and including a plan for how to apply the guidelines.
The past three decades have seen phenomenal growth in investments in the area of product lifecycle management (PLM) as companies exploit opportunities in streamlining product lifecycle processes, and fully harnessing their data assets. These processes span all product lifecycle phases from requirements definition, systems design/ analysis, and simulation, detailed design, manufacturing planning, production planning, quality management, customer support, in-service management, and end-of-life recycling. Initiatives ranging from process re-engineering, enterprise-level change management, standardization, globalization and the like have moved PLM processes to mission-critical enterprise systems. Product data representations that encapsulate semantics to support product data exchange and PLM collaboration processes have driven several standards organizations, vendor product development efforts, real-world PLM implementations, and research initiatives. However, the process and deployment dimensions have attracted little attention: The need to optimize organization processes rather than individual benefits poses challenging "culture change management" issues and have derailed many enterprise-scale PLM efforts. Drawn from the authors' field experiences as PLM system integrators, business process consultants, corporate executives, vendors, and academicians, this paper explores the broad scope of PLM, with an added focus on the implementation and deployment of PLM beyond the development of technology. We review the historical evolution of engineering information management/PLM systems and processes, characterize PLM implementations and solution contexts, and discuss case studies from multiple industries. We conclude with a discussion of research issues motivated by improving PLM adoption in industry.
Case-based research was conducted on strategy and IT evolution in the Boeing Company. Results showed IT investment in the 20th century supported an increasingly decentralized hierarchical functional corporate organization structure, and shifted during the early decades of the 21st century toward an IT-enabled global network organization structure. IT investment context changed from an inward focus to an outward, IT-ecosystem focus. IT had penetrated every facet of the corporation creating IT ubiquity. But while IT was everywhere, IT strategic leadership remained fragmented and nowhere. Further research is required to define strategic IT leadership and its locus in the modern corporation.
This paper reviews the current research that has been carried out under the ‘design reuse’ umbrella. It classifies and discusses the work carried out in design reuse under seven categories, namely: focused innovation, cognitive studies on design reuse, computational perspective of design reuse, use of standard components, design reuse tools and methods, design reuse systems and issues in design reuse. In the light of this discussion it proposes future areas of work to enable design reuse to become an accepted tool for systematic design.
Purpose – Most mass customization literature focuses on the move from mass production to mass customization. However, in some literature engineer-to-order (ETO) companies are also claiming to have become mass customizers, although it can be questioned if these companies conform to popular definitions of mass customizers. The purpose of this paper is to ask the question: under which conditions is it reasonable to label ETO companies as mass customizers? Design/methodology/approach – First, definitions of mass customization are examined and related to ETO companies that move towards mass customization. Second, the individual transitions from mass production and ETO to mass customization are analyzed by: relating the transition to classifications from relevant literature; describing the motivations and risks associated with the transition; and defining some of the most important transition characteristics. Finally it is discussed if ETO companies can become mass customizers and under which conditions it would be reasonable to describe them as such. Findings – The paper argues that from several angles it makes sense to label some ETO companies as mass customizers although the products are not at prices near mass produced ones. Research limitations/implications – To avoid dilution of the concept of mass customization, while not excluding ETO companies, it is suggested to start out with a broad definition of mass customization under which separate definitions of different kinds of mass customizers are created. Originality/value – Although much has been written about mass customization, and ETO companies in much literature have been labeled as mass customizers, the essential discussion of under which conditions it is reasonable to label ETO companies as mass customizers has been missing.
In the highly competitive engineering industry, product innovations are created with the help of a product lifecycle management (PLM) tool chain. In order to support fast-paced product development, a major company goal is the reuse of product designs and product descriptions. Due to the product's complexity, the design of a product not only consists of geometry data but also of valuable engineering knowledge that is created during the various PLM phases. The need to preserve such intellectual capital leads engineering companies to introduce knowledge management and archiving their machine-readable formal representation. However, archived knowledge is in danger of becoming unusable since it is very likely that knowledge semantics and knowledge representation will evolve over long time periods, for example during the 50 operational years of some products. Knowledge evolution and knowledge representation technology changes are crucial issues since a reuse of the archived product information can only be ensured if its rationale and additional knowledge are interpretable with future software and technologies. Therefore, in order to reuse design data fully, knowledge about the design must also be migrated to be interoperable with future design systems and knowledge representation methods. This paper identifies problems, issues, requirements, challenges and solutions that arise while tackling the long-term preservation of engineering knowledge. 1