December 4, 2001
By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
My computer is filled with software that is purported to make my life easier and less stressful by doing whatever it is these tools do, a mission they generally accomplish. However, they have this regrettable habit of breeding data as if they were bunnies from Gomorrah. Needless to say, the crucial data I need right now always burrows itself somewhere within an amorphous pile of digital stuff cluttering my drives. Periodically, I organize my files with snappily named folders, subfolders, and sub subfolders within crisply created directories. Then I resume work, and all is awry by 5 p.m.
Many small and mid-size companies have the same problem I do on a far grander scale. Their processes, like mine, are built upon processes that cannot withstand the reality of work habits, making design reuse, configuration management and the like a “someday” sort of thing. A product lifecycle management (PLM) could help these outfits organize their processes and manage their data. But with so much hype and “could-ofs” around PLM, how do you know what’s in one of them for you?
The answer to that is a bit of hard-to-find straight talk that enables you to get your bearings. And that’s what I have for you today. The people at PSA (Professional Systems Associates) have written a clear, concise document on their CMPRO enterprise-class engineering, product, inventory, and configuration data management system.
This 18-page PDF steps through the components that make up this configuration-management and PLM system. Rather than befuddling you with a flood granular details, it simply explains that, say, the system’s drawing and parts repository tracks revision, CAGE code, security status, and whatnot. Got it. Check.
And it eschews the hype. About the only bit of hype that you’ll find is something worth noting: CMPRO was the first PLM tool to get a five-star rating from the Institute of Configuration Management for CMII compliance. What that means is that CMPRO integrates configuration management-related elements into a cohesive unit that keeps configuration changes clear, concise and valid. In other words, less scrap, less rework, and less time wasted because not only is your data in order, but your ECOs and BOMs are up to date, communicated, and tracked.
I’m normally a bit jaded about these sorts of product white papers, so I was pleasantly surprised to read a document that actually explained – as opposed to fluffy sell – the product. I was not all that familiar with CMPRO when I began reading. But when done, I was impressed with what I read as well as impressed with a company that can write of its baby without gushing.
In sum, I found this product white paper a good, informative read. I recommend that you hit the link over there and check it out for yourself. You could well be surprised too.
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering