Turn market requirements into real products

CIOL Bureau
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Product Management or, more popularly known as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) (the lifecycle of a product from the concept design stage to design and development, manufacture and finally retirement) is an integral and critical part for all product manufacturers.


Successful product management strategies include elements of marketing, R&D, high quality manufacturing and excellent deployment. In each of these areas the right technology always makes an enormous difference to the overall efficiency of the product management process.

Key trends in this area include PDM (Product Data Management) and PLM systems getting integrated into Enterprise Systems such as ERP and CRM systems. Integration with ERP will truly integrate product development with Marketing, Finance, Sales and other Enterprise functions. CRM integration will lead to a better customer interface, higher impact presentations to customers, all leading to more efficient operations and healthier bottom lines to organizations.


Product Management delivers enormous benefits to both the producer and the consumer. The producer is benefited because he is producing more & better products for less. He is also producing faster and becoming extremely competitive. On the other hand, customer benefits because he gets better quality for a lesser price.

Technology requirements

Turning market information into products is the key to successful business. However, inputs from markets are seldom uni-dimensional. Inputs can be extremely complex and demanding. These inputs need to be assessed from various points of view, the most important being costs and manufacturability. Today there are excellent tools available that help translate market requirements into real products. In R&D these products can be classified as products that help int

  •  Concept Design (Styling, Aspects of Industrial Design)
  •  CAD Tools (Computer Aided Design) for 2D and 3D modeling
  •  CAE Tools (Computer Aided Engineering) for simulation and testing

Additionally, in the Manufacturing area, there are

  •  CAM tools (Computer Aided Manufacturing) that aid in NC Programming,
  •  Tool Path Generation,
  •  Robotic Simulation,
  •  Factory Layout Simulation,
  •  Cycle Time Optimization and so on.

Together, these tools are sometimes referred to as the CAD/CAM/CAE segment of mechanical design.


All these technologies together collaborate on a Product Data Management (PDM) backbone that constantly allows all departments to collaborate in real time to capture changing designs in the development cycle.

The use of these technologies greatly helps in simulating product behavior in real markets and, before the actual manufacturing is undertaken, the product can be virtually tested for compliance to market needs. "Virtual Product Development" therefore is a key technology element in ensuring that market needs are met in a cost effective and an efficient manner.


Role of Engineering Services

As industry Best Practices have evolved in the area of product management, many elements are outsourced to Engineering Services Organizations such as CSM.


The reasons to do the same are:

  • Complex and High End Technology: It is virtually impossible for all organizations to invest in all aspects of high end PLM software. Especially difficult to invest in are high end products that may not be used all the time making them very expensive resources. Organizations such as CSM are experts in this field and will provide these high-end design services to the customer. The customer only pays to the extent of use of CSM's services and is free from investing heavily into these technologies.
  •  It is difficult to get high quality human resources to carry out high-end design activities. Such high quality human resources are extremely expensive for product design companies to maintain. Engineering Service Organizations, like CSM, who have the expertise in the domain and who are able to retain skilled manpower are able to readily provide such services in a cost-effective and timely manner to Product Design Companies.
  •  Services organizations have varied experience; the benefits of robust processes that are built because of these engagements are available to all customers, giving them additional benefits.

CSM Software, during its 15-year service to Indian and worldwide industries, has provided analytical and design solutions to Product Design Companies. CSM is listing, in general and generic terms, few examples of such high-quality design support services provided to its customers product design companies.


Enumerated below are a few case studies:

Under-hood thermal management

This project was undertaken for a large automotive manufacturer to study the flow under the bonnet of the car and to understand the flow around the radiator for various vehicle speeds. The end benefit resulted in enormous saving in manufacturing and material costs. Virtual product development tools such as CATIA, STAR-HPC were used in the project to achieve the objectives.

This project was undertaken for a large automotive manufacturer to determine the Noise, Vibration and Harshness levels inside the passenger compartment. Design changes were incorporated as per the analysis carried out to ensure passenger comfort. The project also involved the usage of Virtual product Development tools such as CATIA & NASTRAN.

  • Structural Design of an Aerospace Structure                                                          

This project was undertaken for one of the aerospace companies and the challenge was to ensure that the structure designed by CSM met the stringent weight, airworthiness and structural integrity criteria. Composites were used extensively in the design. This ensured that the structure is lightweight and yet met all the prescribed design criteria. There was thus a saving of 30-40% in weight. The entire product life cycle involving concept, virtual design, simulation, testing and manufacturing was carried out.

This project was undertaken for one of the aerospace companies and it involved studying the effect of introduction of appendages and the effect it has on the flow in the downstream regions. The physics was captured using numerical techniques and simulated using advanced CFD tools such as STAR-CD.

Convergence of Engineering - IT Services                                                                                                        As sophisticated PDM systems get implemented, there are always points of convergence of Engineering and IT. Configuration of PDM systems, integration with CRM & ERP systems and other Enterprise wide systems are all points of convergence. This certainly is a large opportunity and only companies that understand the Engineering Services market can address this huge opportunity. Here again the contribution of Engineering Service Organizations is extremely valuable, and necessary, for Indian companies as they enlarge the manufacturing base of this country.

Role of technology                                                                                                                                                 This step is sort of a sequel to the earlier discussion on 'turning market information into product requirements'. Whereas in the front-end, the market information for the new product was captured by extensive collection of customer requirements, customer preferences and price-point, among other things, at the back-end it is the role of technology to utilize the information that has gone into product planning in creating the product marketing presentations. In other words, technology can help customers visualize product features that they had originally sought. While the product is being developed, visual 3D representations of products can be showcased to end customers to further refine product planning, greatly enhancing the success of the released product. Technology also plays a vital role in configuring complex product configurations. For example, a customer buying a plane may be able to decide on cabin configurations, seating layout, color schemes etc. by looking at simulations of the product before the product is actually manufactured. Similar uses can be found in various other fields also. Technological collaboration between the various stages of the product's life cycle (from the concept design stage to design, development, manufacture, marketing, servicing and finally retiring of the product in favor of a re-invented and re-designed new product) is critical for the success of the product.

The benefits of technology to today's product design, planning, manufacture and marketing lie in the successes achieved in Simulation or Virtual Product Development. This provides huge saving to the automotive and aerospace industries and all products in general by the reduction in product development time and cost by the near-total elimination of prototyping. The growth in manufacturing witnessed by Indian companies and India during the past few years, and the expected growth for the next many years, augurs well for the future for technology, engineering services, product planning, product marketing and product management.

Author is Founder Chairman & Managing Director, CSM group of companies consisting of CSM Software Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, India and CSM Software USA, LLC, California, USA  (