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BigLever Stakes PLE Claim In The Enterprise

PLM, SLM, and engineering document management have become fairly mainstream enterprise pillars for modern-day product development. Now, BigLever Software is making the case that the less familiar Product Line Engineering (PLE) technology is also gaining traction as an enterprise platform as opposed to a siloed engineering solution.

Driven by increasing product complexity, and specifically the complexity of managing product variation across a broad product line portfolio, PLE is being tapped as a holistic way to manage feature variation across the different functions as part of a wider systems engineering approach. BigLever Software’s PLE tools enable a unified featured-based approach that spans the full lifecycle, from portfolio planning and systems engineering through product definition, manufacturing, sales, and service, according to Dr. Charles Krueger, BigLever Software’s CEO.

BigLever’s Gears solution enables organizations to create a “single source of feature truth,” which can be shared across the enterprise. Image Courtesy of BigLever Software

BigLever’s Gears solution enables organizations to create a “single source of feature truth,” which can be shared across the enterprise. Image Courtesy of BigLever Software

The end game is to eliminate the need for multiple variant management capabilities spanning the various tools used throughout the product development lifecycle. The result, Krueger says, is better interoperability across teams and improved alignment between the various functions, including engineering and operational roles.

“As product complexity goes up, so does all the possible combination of variants from all the different disciplines,” explains Krueger, who says development teams begin to lose control with conventional approaches, whereby the requirements team may have one way of managing variation, which can differ greatly from how the test group performs the same function. “Silos of homegrown tools don’t integrate well across the lifecycle and that’s where things start to break down,” he says. “You don’t have a common notion that you can share and express from a modeling point of view. PLE becomes a way to organize and have a single source of knowledge.“

After gaining a foothold in pockets of engineering, Krueger says BigLever Software now sees adoption of PLE spreading across multiple dimensions, including in sales, manufacturing, and the supply chain organization. “They have to deal with the same variation and diversity the engineering group is getting good at and are thinking about how they can take advantage of that in other parts of the operation,” Krueger says.

The Gears Matrix Wizard can be used to create a “Feature Catalog” and define “Bill of Features” to automate the production of an entire product line across the full lifecycle. Image Courtesy of BigLever Software

The Gears Matrix Wizard can be used to create a “Feature Catalog” and define “Bill of Features” to automate the production of an entire product line across the full lifecycle. Image Courtesy of BigLever Software

As part of the effort to broaden the scope of its Gears PLE platform, BigLever Software has expanded its partnership base—its latest effort with NoMagic, a provider of modeling, simulation, and analysis software. The No Magic MagicDraw/BigLever Software Gears Bridge integrates the PLE tool with No Magic’s Model-Based Engineering (MBE) solution so the pair can operate seamlessly as part of the unified PLE lifecycle toolset. For example, MagicDraw models can now be treated as shared assets within Gears-based production lines and can be automatically configured for different products by initiating feature choices in a Gears profile.

Watch this Webinar to learn more about the upside to PLE/model-based design integration.

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About Beth Stackpole

Beth Stackpole is a contributing editor to Digital Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@digitaleng.news.

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