“Productivity” podcast series (Ep. #4): Take the Risk out of Program Planning and Management

What if you had a single interface for all of your program planning and management activities? This interface would also be integrated into the bid proposal process – so once you won the bid, teams would have instant access to all critical data to immediately begin development.

What we’re talking about here is a very real and proven digital thread from Siemens Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry solutions.

Whether you need this digital thread to be more competitive during the bid process, or perhaps you need it to tackle product complexity? Maybe it’s about managing risk? For some, it might be more about how to become more profitable.

It’s probably a mix of all of the above. Whatever your reason… this is the podcast for you.

Listen to the podcast now.

This is episode #4 in a five-part series.

Everywhere you look these days there are examples of A&D companies either late to market or over budget. What’s causing this? Well, product complexity is a common factor that’s making it difficult to manage program schedule and cost. And then you have all these programs managed in multiple systems that don’t communicate with one another.

No question in addition to increased complexity there are serious communication and transparency issues throughout the product development lifecycle today. The consequences of which can have a dire effect on the profitability of the entire program.

How can we turn this around to increase productivity, get to market faster and realize significant profits?

Today, in our fourth podcast: “Take the Risk out of Program Planning and Management” we’ll be discussing how to improve program management by using a real and proven digital thread – the Siemens Integrated Program Planning and Execution, or IPP&E digital thread.

Our special guest of the series is Dale Tutt, Vice President of Aerospace and Defense at Siemens Digital Industries Software. He’s been involved in product development for 30 years and prior to joining Siemens, he was the Vice President of Engineering at The Spaceship Company. Before that, he spent 18 years at Cessna Aircraft Company and he had roles at General Dynamics Space Systems Division and Bombardier Learjet.

Dale is known as the “go-to guy” for all things aerospace and defense. Tune in now and listen to how you can better manage your A&D program so that you can execute your goals faster with less risk and accelerate your productivity throughout all phases of the development lifecycle.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The challenges companies face today around program management. (04:16)
  • How to manage different systems inside a program. (06:33)
  • How the Siemens IPP&E digital thread helps with program management. (08:02)
  • The advantages of using the IPP&E solution. (09:53)

Connect with Dale:

For more information, please visit the Siemens Aerospace & Defense website.

Podcast transcript:

Scott Salzwedel: Hello! This is Talking Aerospace Today – a podcast for the Aerospace and Defense industry. A place that brings the promise of tomorrow’s technology to the ears of our listeners today.

I’m your host, Scott Salzwedel. Welcome to our five-part series “Accelerating Productivity through Digital Transformation.” As you might imagine, maximizing productivity throughout the A&D product lifecycle is key to success and significant profits.

Today, in this podcast, we’ll be discussing how to improve program management. Before we get started, to recap our last episode, we talked about the many ways to accelerate product design. We touched on agile product development, we learned about the importance of continuous integration and validation, and the role traceability plays throughout the product lifecycle – a fascinating topic! If you missed it, I urge you to take a listen.

In this podcast, we’ll be discussing how to improve program management. Now, we’ve all heard about program management this, program management that, but today’s topic is about program management that uses a digital thread – a very real and proven digital thread. Pretty cool stuff! So, let’s get started! I’m pleased to introduce my special guest, Dale Tutt, who is the Vice President of Aerospace and Defense at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Welcome, Dale! Thanks for stopping by to talk about productivity and the digital transformation in aerospace and defense. Before we dive in, could you please share with our listeners your background and your role at Siemens?

Dale Tutt: Hello, Scott. I’m very happy to be here, again, today. So, before I joined Siemens, I worked in the Aerospace and Defense industry for about 30 years in various engineering and program leadership roles. In my most recent position, I was the Vice President of Engineering at The Spaceship Company. We were working with Virgin Galactic in developing spaceships for commercial space tourism. Before that, I was at Textron Aviation or Cessna Aircraft Company for about 18 years, and a number of engineering and program management roles there, as well. In my last real big program, before I left there, I was the Chief Engineering Program Director for the Textron AirLand Scorpion Jet. We went from a concept sketch to first flight of an all-new tactical aircraft in about 23 months, which was pretty fast for the industry. And, before that, I had some time as well at Bombardier Learjet and General Dynamics Space Systems Division, so a mix of space and aircraft in my career. But now, at Siemens, I’m the Vice President of the Aerospace and Defense Industry. And we do a lot of the industry’s strategy development, and work on developing product solutions for the aerospace and defense industry and for our customers in the industry, so that we can provide solutions that meet our customer’s needs. So, I get to work with all of our product lines and our global sales teams, and it’s a lot of fun in this role.

Scott: You’ve been a busy guy! Since this podcast series is on productivity, why don’t we take a minute and discuss the many ways in which an OEM or a supplier can increase productivity?

Dale: Yeah. So, we’re looking at four ways that we’ve been discussing in this podcast series. So, the first is, we’re using model-based systems engineering approaches around orchestrating your technical program and really managing the technical aspects of your program more effectively. And this works and interacts with all the design and verification and even in your program management, your manufacturing activities, as well. So, a big element. Last time we talked about accelerating your product design using agile product development. And again, it’s always a fun topic for me. And now, today, we’re talking about improving program management with the IPP&E – or our Integrated Program Planning and Execution solution. And then, finally, the fourth method is really around accelerating your production ramp-up. So, as you move into manufacturing, how do you apply intelligent manufacturing or flexible manufacturing methods to really speed up how you’re going to deliver your product to your customers and become much more agile even in your manufacturing systems?

Scott: Okay, so program management. Let’s first touch on the challenges companies face today.

Dale: Everywhere you look in the news, you can see examples of companies that are late and over budget. And sometimes when I’m asked this question, and people say, “Well give me an example of companies that are struggling”, literally just go out and Google ‘Aerospace and Defense program management’ and you’ll get new stories of companies that are struggling. They’re either over budget or they’re late. There are plenty of examples out there. So what’s driving this? You have your product complexity – it’s making it a lot more difficult to execute the programs and minimize your risks and manage your schedule and cost just because there’s so much to integrate, and so much to manage and there are so many moving parts. And, a lot of times, it’s also your business relationships because your supply chain, your suppliers are global now. And so, there’s technical as well as business complexities.

Some of the challenge is being able to capture all this scope in a single location. You know we talked about MBSE and we talked about agile development, having a good understanding of your technical scope, and having this all in one place. We see companies that when they bid on a program, they struggle because their proposals are wrong – they don’t have a good estimate of work. It’s just not accurate. And so, they don’t have a good basis of estimate when they’re doing a bid and proposal process. That spills over as they start to execute the program because the program plan was put together based on limited data. One of the things we’re seeing a lot of customers or a lot of companies struggle with is they don’t have a good closed-loop system. Once you’re done executing the program, it’s really hard to do the lessons learned and get feedback on how you actually did. You don’t get that organic learning that’s really required to improve your processes as you go forward.

And then, I think by far, the biggest challenge a lot of these companies have is that these programs are managing multiple systems, so you don’t have the transparency you need to really understand the true impact of changes or even the true status of your changes. So your engineering team is working in one system and your manufacturing team is working in their system, their program management is in another system – and then, these systems are just disconnected and they’re not working together.

Scott: Wow… So many different systems, so many different facets – how can all this be managed?

Dale: Yeah, so you need to have a single interface that connects to all of these systems. All the data is now entered and viewable in one place. I always joke: you don’t have any more secret schedules. Nothing’s more frustrating as a program manager than to find out that people had given you just enough information to satisfy the requirements for the program schedule, but they actually had their list of tasks that they had to do in another place and they weren’t sharing it, and they were managing it in a separate system. Nothing’s more frustrating than that. So a single interface is huge because it simplifies it for everyone because everything is entered in one place. You need to be able to have an integrated bid and management process within a single solution, so that you don’t bid a program in one system and then hand it off to another system and kind of start over. You actually can have everything in a single system, you need to have that full transparency of the program progress, including all the standard metrics like earned value management. And then, finally, you’ve got to have configuration control of your program plan. There’s always going to be change, but you need to have people that know the current version and they can stay up to date – and that’s so critical as you go forward on some of these programs because everyone needs to be working, I guess, playing on the same sheet of music, so to speak.

Scott: Okay, so, this is probably a good time to mention Siemens Integrated Program Planning and Execution. So, Dale, could you go into a little more detail on this specific solution?

Dale: As part of our Xcelerator portfolio and within our Aerospace and Defense Industry solutions, one of our solutions is around this Integrated Program Planning and Execution (IPP&E). Quite simply, we’ve integrated the cost schedule, risk management of a program into a single interface. We have a scheduling engine that optimizes all your resources and helps calculate your critical path. The program plan is really built around a common work breakdown structure so that all the tasks are linked to requirements and to the work breakdown structure so that there’s a schedule structure. And you can have a template. We’ve provided some common templates, but people then, can tailor those, and you can have your own tailored program management template. But you’re starting with a template. So, that’s all built into the system.

We’ve included contract management because especially with a lot of our customers that are maybe doing work for the Department of Defense, they need to be able to provide these contract deliverables and data deliverables. And then, finally, there’s some cost and resource estimation, and those tools are built into that. So when you’re entering the information into the system, you can then do your schedule optimization and really improve how you’re improving your estimates for your costs. In addition to this single interface, we’ve integrated change management into all of it, and these are the standard tools that are part of the PLM system anyway, but these are now more intimately integrated with our IPP&E solution. And then, we’ve also integrated the risk and opportunity management. We bring these tools into a single solution set. Instead of moving data manually back and forth across different systems, we’ve been able to automate a lot of these tasks with a solution.

Scott: How does Siemens help customers realize this? I mean, there’s a lot going on here…

Dale: Yeah, as I said it’s a single interface. All the systems are managed in a single place. You’re able to provide complete transparency with easy communication of your status. Your change management’s been enhanced because you have complete visibility and impact to these changes. And then, we have this closed-loop system that enables the lessons learned. So, as I mentioned earlier, we’re able to integrate the bid process into your execution processes. We bring those together. And because everything’s in one system, you’re able to compare your actuals to what you had planned. You are able to do a much better lessons-learned analysis on that.

Scott: That sounds great when you say it that way. It makes a lot of sense. So, I’m curious, can you cite any real-world examples of how this is being used today?

Dale: I mentioned earlier, one of the challenges that we see is, because everyone’s working in these disconnected systems, you’ll sometimes see people keeping their schedules in different places. And that is a real challenge. I kind of always joke that, as a program manager, I’d just go around and talk to people, and they’d all run away and hide from me because they didn’t want to have to give me schedule updates. And so, we’ve been able to automate a lot of that, and it makes it simpler, and you can eliminate those problems. I think that where we’re seeing some of the benefits of this with our customers is, as they start to automate these processes, they’re actually starting to see that they’re spending less time maintaining schedules – you don’t have to have an army of people maintaining your schedule. I think that’s the biggest benefit that we’ve seen with our customers. Their Integrated Program Planning & Execution really does close the loop with the other solutions and enhances their productivity. So it has to work with your MBSE processes and your design and manufacturing processes that your companies are using and they’re enhancing their continuous learning. Some of this takes time because you’ve got to actually work through a program – so you bid the program and then you work through the program; that might take several years, but they’re starting to reuse knowledge now because you have this information available to them. And I think, at the end, they’re seeing the programs execute faster with less risk. A lot of companies that are using our program management solutions, they’ve started to see a lot of these benefits and they’re moving through their programs a lot faster with a lot less risk.

Scott: Well, Dale, sorry, but I have some bad news… We’re out of time once again. But don’t worry, listeners. There’s one more episode remaining. So, this is episode four – plenty of back episodes to check out. Dale, what can our listeners expect in our final productivity series episode?

Dale: Next time we’re going to talk about accelerating production ramp-up. And, as I said, this really moves us now from the design – you know, we’ve been talking a lot about the engineering and program management processes, but now we’re going to move into the manufacturing world. We’ll talk about how intelligent and flexible manufacturing can help companies start to deliver product faster and more effectively.

Scott: Great! I’m looking forward to it! So, thank you, Dale. This has been a wonderful discussion on program execution excellence.

Dale: Hey, no problem, Scott. And thanks again for having me. It’s always fun!

Scott: Yes, and we’ll be talking again soon. And of course, I’d like to extend my many thanks to our listeners. I’m glad you tuned in to this podcast. Thank you, listeners.

Remember at the top of the show, I mentioned Dale and I will be doing a five-part series on A&D productivity. So, check back here for more information on our next and final podcast. Also, in the meantime, you can visit us online at Siemens.com/PLM/AerospaceDefense.

This is Talking Aerospace Today and I hope you’ll join us again for our next podcast. Until then, bye for now…


Dale Tutt - Speaker

Dale Tutt – Speaker

Dale Tutt is the Vice President of Aerospace and Defense Industry for Siemens Digital Industries Software. He is responsible for defining the overall Aerospace and Defense industry strategy for Siemens Digital Industries Software, driving specific industry requirements into solutions for Aerospace and Defense customers. Dale has over 30 years of experience in engineering design, development and program leadership within the Aerospace industry.


Scott Salzwedel - Host

Scott Salzwedel – Host

Scott Salzwedel is senior technical writer and corporate communications writer involved in the Siemens Aerospace & Defense Industry and Siemens Capital. In addition to writer/host of Talking Aerospace Today, Scott is the writer of white papers, articles, blogs, videos and websites at Siemens.

Talking Aerospace Today Podcast Podcast

Talking Aerospace Today Podcast

The A&D Industry is at a serious inflection point. Transformation to the digital enterprise has opened up a new era in innovation and technological breakthroughs. However, complexity and compliance continue to hamper the best of efforts.

Join us as we explore how Siemens is turning complexity into a competitive advantage for many of our customers – today and well into tomorrow.

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