Siemens PLM helps VW go faster

Dr. Oliver Reidel from Audi group responsible for Volkswagen’s PLM strategy started things off with a great video showing two R8’s racing each other through some killer switchbacks.  A brief introduction to VW group included the facts that there are 48 plants producing over 329,000 vehicles a day in 150 different countries.  VW’s strategic goals include being a top employer, 21% ROI, and 6.6M annual vehicle sales.

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VW’s PLM strategy is formed by the need to deal with the complexity caused by multiple product lines that are all in different stages of their lifecycle and the complexity of the products themselves each of which are composed of multiple systems of hardware, software and electronic systems.  One of main challenges VW faced when moving to a PLM system that would deal with this complexity is the number of different and legacy systems already in place that managed pieces of the process.  On one hand they were very stable, but on the other they were inflexible and difficult to adapt and connect. 


Teamcenter was selected after a cross brand, cross discipline, and cross cultural management team went through a very short (6 months) hands on evaluation period.  The systems had to be stood up by the ISVs for use by VW in one week and then a story board was presented to all of them at the same time.  There was no business case developed for management! – they just were told to trust the evaluation team that there would be payoff and that they would select the right team.

There were over 600 criteria in the evaluation and at the end of it all Siemens PLM was chosen for the following reasons:

  • clear results from benchmark

  • clear statement about partnership from Siemens PLM

  • Long term experience with Tecnomatix which was already used for digital product planning at VW

  • Studies and analyst materials – also statements from current users

  • Best technology roadmap for potential future requirements

  • Initially the due diligence around the company itself was poor, but after Siemens acquisition occurred this eliminated that concern.

Dr. Reidel stated that VW is over 1 year into their implementation, but they are already close to the vision they set out when the project began.  The k-PDM system based on Teamcenter gives them worldwide coverage, a top down process focused system, and a setup that is linked to corporate strategy.  The presentation was concluded with a few lessons learned:

  • Don’t work on the details in the planning phase

  • Look first for cross industry best practice, then look for a tool

  • Find your own references

  • Test the software with your own data

  • Staff the project with a mix of internal/external, management/users and IT/business owners

  • Declare your paradigms as ‘project law’

  • After one year, the decision to go with Teamcenter and Siemens PLM was still the right one

  • Always keep your eye on the big picture

Another great insight into how more and more leading companies are linking PLM with business strategy.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at