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Transform Complexity into Synergy

Transform Complexity into Synergy

How government and defense agencies can improve efficiency, streamline operations, and achieve greater innovation with digitally driven product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions

Manufacturing and maintaining fighter jets costs the U.S. Air Force and other military branches hundreds of millions of dollars each year. In the past five years, U.S. Navy vessels have spent an additional, unplanned 33,700 days, or about 90 years, docked at shipyards for maintenance.1

As the defense landscape continues to become more complex, competitive, and costly, government agencies need to operate as efficiently, strategically, and proactively as possible to stand ready and remain three steps ahead. New directives from the Department of Defense (DoD) emphasize the importance of digital strategies to develop capabilities faster and with less federal funding.

Overcoming process inefficiencies through digital transformation

In 2018, the DoD announced a new Digital Engineering Strategy that dictates five key pillars in transitioning the U.S. defense industry from document-centric engineering and procurement processes to digital, data-centric processes for the design, development, manufacturing, and on-going use and sustainment of complex products and systems.3

While there has been significant growth in the use of enterprise software systems across branches of the U.S. military, it is still common to see inefficient manual and document-based processes used to assess the in-service structural status of complex parts and systems used in mission-critical applications for military aircraft, ships, land vehicles, and energy production facilities. Where quality assessment software tools are in use, they are often used within organizational silos where the data is not captured in a form that provides useful information to enable quick and effective decision-making.

Additionally, there are a significant number of out-of-date legacy systems currently in use. These systems lack the state-of-the-art analytics for real-time operational data and cannot provide engineering, manufacturing, and operations personnel with the information they need to collaborate in order to make part design modifications and/or manufacturing rework decisions.

Just as in other industries, government and defense agencies can only achieve the required efficiencies, cost reductions and production and procurement speeds through the digital transformation of their manufacturing systems, processes and supply chains.

How product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions enable next-generation design, manufacturing and sustainment innovation

To maintain efficiency in the face of constant innovation and disruption, government and defense agencies are improving their product development processes with the help of digitally driven product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.

PLM is an information management system that integrates data, processes, systems, and, people in an extended enterprise, such as the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Navy. Through the use of a digital thread—the integration of all the digital collateral available across different aspects of a given product’s manufacturing process—PLM software consolidates disparate, independent systems into one coherent platform, empowering organizations to work as a single team to make unified, data-driven decisions with granular transparency at every stage of the product lifecycle.

government and defense agencies PLM

For example, a huge number of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors embedded in products gives exponential ways to gather and use data for continuous feedback and apply it to the many components already in production. If sensors from an operational product capture data that suggests a component is not performing optimally, the manufacturing team can use that data to modify the product design for the next model of the product, making changes throughout the value chain as needed.

PLM software weaves a digital thread through ideation, realization, utilization, and retirement. With a fully optimized digital enterprise, government and defense agencies can streamline the flow of information about the product and related processes throughout the product’s lifecycle to make it available in the right context, to the right people, and at the right time.

Benefits of PLM for government and defense agencies

By digitally integrating people, data, processes, and systems, PLM provides an information backbone for government and defense agencies and offers multiple important benefits, including:

  • Greater productivity and performance
  • Increased collaboration among team members across sites
  • Full transparency and traceability of all resources
  • Superior product quality and reliability
  • Optimized maintenance schedules and timelines
  • Lower operational costs
  • Fewer downtimes
  • Overall improved readiness

Simply put, the benefits of PLM stretch across the entire lifecycle of a product. Designers appreciate the ability to conduct digital simulations, such as digital twins, which are virtual representation of a physical object or system across its life-cycle. Manufacturers benefit from being able to quickly share data with suppliers, and maintenance crews enjoy simplified troubleshooting with centralized data management.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

U.S. Air Force uses PLM to support model-based acquisition, digital design and manufacturing

The U.S. Air Force is a great example of the transformative power of PLM. At the beginning of 2021, the organization selected Siemens’ Teamcenter® software as the foundational system of record to support its digital acquisition and sustainment strategy for critical systems and technologies across the service for the next 20 years.

“We are incredibly proud to support the Air Force with a toolset that supports their digital journey and fundamentally enhances the way they can field capability with greater speed and agility. By providing the Air Force and other defense agencies with a robust enterprise PLM solution, time-sensitive and actionable data can be accessed across the earliest phases of a system lifecycle, resulting in lower operational costs, fewer down times, and overall improved readiness.”
- Tina Dolph, president and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies

How PLM Is Advancing the Air Force’s Digital Journey

Transforming complexity into synergy

As government and defense agencies move into a more complex and demanding future, digitally driven product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions will become vital, enterprise-wide platforms to simplify, streamline, and organize operations. PLM encourages more innovative use of available information, ensuring the mission, requirements, and architecture are visible and traceable throughout the downstream lifecycle. This helps to enable the speed and flexibility required to continuously adapt to the changing priorities and conditions of defense agencies

Accelerate development and delivery of innovative capabilities with product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions

Learn more about how the Department of Defense is leveraging Siemens Government Technologies’ innovative digitalization and product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions.

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References
1. “Navy Maintenance: Persistent and Substantial Ship and Submarine Maintenance Delays Hinder Efforts to Rebuild Readiness.” US Government Accountability Office, 14 Dec. 2019, www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-257t.
2. Exhibit P-40, “Budget Line Item Justification: PB 2021 Army,” P-1 Line Item Number 2944G80819 / Armored Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), in U.S. Department of the Army, Department of Defense Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget Estimates, Army: Justification Book of Procurement of W&TCV, Army, February 2020, pp. 2–3, https://www.asafm.army.mil/Portals/72/Documents/BudgetMaterial/2021/Base%20Budget/Procurement/WTCV_FY_2021_PB_Procurement_of_Weapons_and_Tracked_Combat_Vehicles.pdf
3. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. “The Department of Defense Announces Its Digital Engineering Strategy.” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 5 July 2018, www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/1567723/the-department-of-defense-announces-its-digital-engineering-strategy.