The product development process is changing – what advantages does a consistent engineering and quality management system in the cloud offer?
Frank Fischer (PLATO): The product development process is now a highly collaborative process that requires the contribution of multiple disciplines within engineering and manufacturing, including the involvement of the supplier network. In addition, in industrial practice, more and more companies are confronted with the need to change from a pure part or component manufacturer to a system provider. At the same time, the system design itself has developed - due to the increasing proportion of electrics/electronics and software, it is no longer just about the mechanical design of the products.
It can also be seen that in the last ten years many industries have switched to only offering functions. They rely on result-oriented business models - which, however, require advanced data models. It is precisely these requirements that we want to and can already meet with PLATO e1ns and iqs QC.
Basically, more cooperation is required - both from the disciplines involved and from companies?
Fischer: Exactly, which is why the technology for better, more effective and more efficient cooperation between the specialist disciplines, between the partners in the extended company (ecosystem), between development and production, between customer, manufacturer and supplier, and last but not least, between the scientific research and the industry, is increasingly coming into focus. In the future, it must be applied to all phases of the product life cycle. The management has to be behind it and the employees have to be taken along and integrated in this change process.
FMEA as a common interface
Considering that, why is the merger of PLATO and iqs so interesting?
Fischer: We are united by the vision of developing a consistent, web-based engineering and quality management system across the entire product life cycle - this also requires connectivity between systems, processes, disciplines and infrastructure. This has a far-reaching impact on effective, and at the same time economically justifiable, quality assurance.
iqs and PLATO connect the FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) as a common interface and the CAQ Quality Center (QC) from iqs ideally complements PLATO's offer at this point.
Together we are able to offer the customer an end-to-end solution from development through production to the market, with which he can meet the growing requirements in terms of complexity, traceability, and quality assurance. To this extent, the merger of iqs and PLATO is not just a fusion of two strong partners on an equal footing, but also a fusion of two well-matched, complementary partners and established market players in the fields of software for engineering and quality management. We have known each other for over 25 years and appreciate each other very much, both professionally and personally.
Effects on the software solutions
Will you merge the products from both companies?
Fischer: The integration already takes place in the background. To do this, we have found an effective structure for working together and formed cross-company teams to exchange technical information, train, use expertise and to advise us on important trends in the industries. By merging both systems, we want to combine the best of two worlds in one solution. The declared goal is the networking of data in the product life cycle (digital thread) and the associated improvement processes. The basis of the overall solution is state-of-the-art, highly scalable web and cloud technology with a consistent, user-friendly, and consistent user experience.
Migration concepts in focus
What does that mean for the customer and what do migration concepts look like?
Fischer: The aim is to ensure that all existing customers can migrate to the common web product. In addition, we jointly make decisions as to which value-added functions we develop first as part of the networked overall solution for the end user, taking customer needs into account. This approach allows us to react flexibly to the market.
But this is even more important: By globally combining technology and competencies, we give our customers even more clout in digitization. We offer our customers significant added value by combining FMEA with highly integrated quality and engineering processes along the entire digital thread. In this way, we create a learning organization throughout the entire life cycle: from planning to production and use. In addition, an integrated lessons-learned process supplements the lifecycle management system and thus helps companies to learn from experience - in order to become better during a project, but also with new editions and variants of a product and to avoid repeat errors.
What role will your investor Main Capitals play in the operational business?
Fischer: PLATO and iqs will initially act independently on the market, of course with a view to integrating the partner and its portfolio - and in the foreseeable future our new overall solution. Both companies are strong and successful in their own way, and we won't change anything about that. Main Capitals supports our plans. In this way, both organic and inorganic growth are made possible through further strategic acquisitions in the group.
Published on February 8th, 2023 KEM Konstruktion, Konradin Verlag