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PlanetPTC Live 2012: PTC, At Your Service

PTC president and CEO Jim Happelmann at PlanetPTC Live 2012 in Orlando, Florida. The company's new venture into service lifecycle management (SLM) is reflected in the new tagline projected behind Happelman -- "How products are created and serviced."

What begins with Life, gobbles up App, then takes aim at Service? The answer to the riddle is: PTC‘s road map.

Well-established in product lifecycle management (PLM), PTC took a shortcut into application lifecycle management (ALM) with its May 2011 acquisition of MKS. Earlier this week, at its annual user conference (PlanetPTC Live 2012, Orlando, Florida), the company indicated it was redoubling its efforts in the service lifecycle market.

“In the last five years, we have become much more invested in the service lifecycle,” said Jim Heppelmann, PTC’s president and CEO.

The renewed focus is evident in the company’s new tagline: PTC, Product & Service Advantage. “[The new tagline] is a mission statement that talks about how we can help you gain product and service advantage,” declared Heppelmann.

The company has always catered to product developers and manufacturers with its design software (previously Pro/ENGINEER, now Creo) and PLM software (Windchill). Its new solutions targeting the service industry are expected to come from two areas: Its Arbortext division, which produces software for creating and publishing technical illustrations and maintenance manuals; and 4C Solutions, a warranty and service delivery solutions provider PTC acquired in September 2011. (PTC’s Arbortext division was also the outcome of an acquisition, completed in July 2005.) PTC’s service lifecycle management (SLM) segment is headed by Kevin Wrenn, divisional VP and general manager.

“PTC’s unique approach to SLM will be product-centric,” said Wrenn in a corporate video outlining his mission. “The central construct for services will be processes, history, and the product itself.” PTC’s SLM solutions will focus on technical information, serviceable parts, warranty and contract management, in-service product support, and service-event management.

As a CAD and PLM vendor, PTC works closely with original equipment manufacturers, but remains at a distance from the consumers. For example, it provides solutions to leading automakers, but its solutions seldom come in contact with vehicle buyers. Venturing into SLM may bring PTC closer to its customers’ customers.

While PTC has a long history in developing and delivering solutions that help capture design and engineering data and maintain a single source of the truth (a tenet of PLM), capturing field conditions and managing service events are relatively new territories for PTC.

One of the speakers at this year’s PlanetPTC Live was Whirlpool, a PTC customer with vested interest in SLM. Whirlpool is also the owner of the popular Maytac brand. What would the Maytac repairman bring to his next onsite customer visit? If it were up to PTC, it would be a PTC SLM application loaded on an iPad.


PTC's SLM division will concentrate on delivering solutions that address service professionals' needs, as shown in this example screenshot.

Service event management solutions may also be delivered as interactive documents.

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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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