However the initiatives I’ve seen also concentrates a lot on 5D. That is the consolidation of the design data from multiple disciplines into a virtual 3D representation (BIM), and then adding the dimensions of time and cost. This is done both for estimation purposes and for project execution purposes. This of course makes a lot of sense.
So where does PLM fit into this picture?
PLM is also about consolidation design data from multiple disciplines, connecting that data to business processes and people to those processes. The difference however is that most PLM platforms are created to support multiple projects within the same data base, whereas the VDC tools I’ve seen support project by project, database by database. Just like plant design solutions. This has the drawback that it is very difficult to harvest knowledge or re-use data across projects.
Now, that sounds very good, so what’s the problem? Well the problem is that the data management aspect is largely missing. This includes integrated dash board analysis across projects, change management, document management, revision and version control on object structures. The things PLM platforms do well.
A few years ago I was responsible for the development of a solution on top of a PLM platform for the construction industry, and after a few visits to different BIM centers of excellence I got the impression that the BIM model was important, but one of the headaches for these companies was to keep track of, and control all the other information in a project that also was specifying to the project and to the “data structures” in the BIM model. This included thousands of documents….
So either VDC software companies should implement some of the things that PLM platforms are good at, or PLM software companies must implement some of the things VDC software do very well if they wish to expand their footprint in the construction industry.
However, there is a third path as well. Maybe a VDC software company could collaborate with a PLM software company to create a killer platform for the construction industry…….
Now wouldn’t that be something?
Some points to ponder