codex plm openness.automotiveITAn industry-wide initiative to create more open IT solutions for product lifecycle management (PLM) software is gaining acceptance, with most system suppliers now on board for the plan.

In recent months, more companies have signed a common agreement ”“ the Codex of PLM Openness (CPO - which documents their contribution to more transparency in PLM software systems. Whereas only 16 of 38 systems suppliers had done so last December, the number has grown sharply over the year.

"All but three have signed," said Steven Vetterman, who heads ProSTEP iViP, a global association promoting open standards. The CPO paves the way for less dependence on one software vendor.

Though most software suppliers are on board for more openness, their signing of the document is no guarantee that PLM will soon become an open-systems landscape. That will require continued pressure from systems users, the auto industry in particular.

Interest is high in the global car manufacturing community and Japanese automakers and suppliers, most of whomcurrently aren't part of the ProSTEP initiative, may sign the CPO as well. Toyota has already done so.

ProSTEP will present the CPO to Japanese companies in November at a meeting at Suzuki premises in Hamamatsu. "They have already posed very detailed questions and want to get an indepth understanding of the project before making a decision," said Vettermann. If more Japanese companies sign the CPO, that would give the agreement greater global importance.

The CPO aims to establish a common understanding of openness of PLM-related IT systems. It goes beyond setting just an IT standard and wants to define measurable criteria for such openness. Areas covered include interoperability, infrastructure, architecture and partnerships.

-By Gert Reiling