siemens plm software.automotiveIT

Chuck Grindstaff (Photo: Siemens)

Siemens PLM Software CEO Chuck Grindstaff is a big believer in open systems. The head of the business software division of Germany's Siemens is confident his products can compete in a fully open environment.

In an interview with automotiveIT, Grindstaff, a 33year Siemens veteran, also discussed Siemens new products, the changes in automakers' PLM needs and the impact of new mobile technologies on his business.

automotiveIT: Mr Grindstaff, there's lot of change happening in the auto industry when it comes to PLM systems. What's driving companies such as Chrysler and Daimler to change software systems after so many years?

Chuck Grindstaff: They want to move their development and manufacturing processes to a higher productivity level and that's hardly possible with the core functionality of their CAD and PLM applications at the moment. They need new solutions that help them with this process and that help them coordinate the many optimization possibilities and lets them bundle them in the right direction. That is the case in all disciplines and along the entire production process.

automotiveIT: Why is Siemens PLM well positioned in this battle?

Grindstaff: In addition to the technical possibilities that our tools provide, our strength lies in the way we start and accompany migration plans. Siemens PLM has achieved a leading position in the automobile industry because we have learned to listen carefully to our customers andto incorporate their requirements in our tools. Without reservations, open and completely pragmatic. Also, as part of the Siemens Group, we can guarantee high stability and a long-term partnership from a technical and financial point of view. With us, no customer will fail. Ever.

automotiveIT: There are complaints that big suppliers of PLM software such as Siemens don't support open standards.

Grindstaff: A lot of things have to come together to guarantee the openness of PLM systems. Technical standards are clearly a part of this. The way we understand it, essentially all interfaces need to be documented and accessible to users and developers. Without any limitiation. That means that we also allow third-party products that are in a way competing with Siemens PLM tools. We're convinced we don't have to shy away from any comparison. And we support the "Code of PLM Openness" without reservation and we're working closely together with its initiators, for example BMW.

automotiveIT: With your "High Definition PLM" you claim that companies can raise their decision-making processes to a higher quality level. How has the response been so far?

Grindstaff: General Motors, Ford, Nissan and other companies now have the technology base to apply our newest software products and get High Definition PLM. One of the features, for example is Active Workspace. This will not just give companies quick and easy access to product lifecycle information. It also lets them graphically display the information in such a way that everyone can work with it: in-house teams, suppliers and customers. Active Workspace makes access to PLM data as easy as a Google search.

automotiveIT: Can you image PLM software on smarthpones and tablet PCs?

Grindstafff: That will certainly happen. We're already assessing what PLM Apps we could sensibly develop for the iPad. Initially those apps were purely to look at information. But today we can already use mobile devices to make changes to the data model. Synchronization with the Teamcenter environment is comprehensive and completely secure. Access is encrypted and role-based with digital rights management operating in the background.

-By Ralf Bretting