Thought Leadership

PLM for component manufacturers in the cloud provides benefits for small to medium-sized companies

By Blake Snodgrass

This final summary blog in the fifth podcast of the PLM Teamcenter X solution series focuses on the impact of cloud and PLM on small and medium-sized businesses, describing how the product development process of PLM for cloud is changing, causing a structural effect on business operations.

Mary McDonald moderates this last podcast, Global Industry Marketing Leader for small and medium business at Siemens Digital Industries Software, interviewing Tim Yerby, Solution Director for Industrial Machinery at Siemens Digital Industries Software, discussing significant obstacles and benefits PLM for Components in the cloud provides to manufacturers.

>Listen to the podcast.

Tim Yerby
Solution Director for Industrial Machinery at Siemens Digital Industries Software

In recent years, the software has been improving rapidly with more capabilities. Still, there’s always the issue of IT departments, particularly in small to medium-sized companies needing the resources to implement and maintain systems. Of course, larger companies have an organization that maintains or manages their CAD or PLM system; however, smaller companies need the staff or financial structure to address this issue. 

Manufacturers’ challenges

Mary Macdonald
Global Industry Marketing Leader for small and medium business at Siemens Digital Industries Software

The challenge is finding the essential resources to implement and maintain these systems. This scenario is possible with the cloud availability of systems or packaged software with a standard solution that may or may not be customized. And if customization is necessary, it’s performed by the users or the department manager, thus, requiring no IT staff.

So, the first step with cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is understanding what will work with your current system and what can handle your CAD data. Also, will that data remain the same because you don’t want to change the CAD system to transition to PLM?

Therefore, it’s essential to know whether it will utilize and manage it with the new PLM system and the technical capability to address change management, including the engineering change process. The primary purpose of PLM is to ensure the organization can use the CAD and bill of material (BOM) data, including the ERP, MRP and manufacturing system.

PLM for component manufacturer goals

A goal of PLM for component manufacturers is to avoid a change in how someone performs their job. In converse, the goal is also to remove the day-to-day manufacturing barriers to create a more efficient process.

For example, in the release process, where project timelines are tight, and you’re a gear motor manufacturer with a customer that needs a custom design, 80 percent of the bill of material will be reused. Therefore, only 20 percent require customization. However, the manufacturing organization requires delivering the entire BOM, so you must hold 80 percent of the reuse until the 20 percent is modified for customization, which is inefficient with tight deadlines.

Agile PLM system for customization

For the supply chain, an organization needs a process and data management that allows the release of the 80 percent BOM that remains unchanged. However, this hybrid release process can cause organization issues if you don’t have an agile PLM system because then you run into what’s changed and what hasn’t changed or what is or is not released. So, it requires managing rolling releases.

Teamcenter is the gold standard in the industry with respect to PLM management. So, one of the big advantages I see for small to medium businesses is providing this type of technology that may have been previously only available to large enterprises that could afford and support it, or because they needed a large services engagement or customization work to set up for their process. Siemens has now created this type of an industry-standard process,” says Tim Yerby

Therefore, this helps most customers out of the box, even with minimal customization. Therefore, a significant advantage is that consulting or service cost is less. Also, engaging in this software can start small, in one department. Consequently, it is not an all-or-nothing investment.

PLM can start at minimal cost

It’s possible to sign up with a specific number of users with a monthly fee, and you can add users, rolling it out across an organization. And you can build in additional modules and continue to grow your organization. Or, if you decide you do not want to use it, turn it off and quit paying. So, companies can start quickly with low commitment costs and a monthly subscription cost.

“If it saves your team hours of work, then you can go ahead and agree it is working great, then you need to expand it,” says Tim.

PLM for component manufacturers is introducing new opportunities to address the day-to-day challenges of many small to medium businesses, providing technology and introducing SaaS solutions for signification innovation.

Siemens Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and levels of automation to drive innovation.

For more information on Siemens Digital Industries Software products and services, visit or follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram. Siemens Digital Industries Software – where today meets tomorrow.

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