Why VARs Can Be the Difference Between a PLM Success or Fiasco: Meet PTC's Partner PDSVISION - TV Report
Verdi Ogewell posted on January 07, 2020 |

The PLM press frequently writes about the big developers, their platforms and solutions. We hear names like Dassault Systèmes, Siemens and PTC. We read penetrating articles about cloud technology platform providers such as Microsoft, Oracle and Google.

But how would the solutions developed by these "glamorized" giants work in real-world companies if they didn’t have the support of an extensive network of resellers, service providers and Value-Added Resellers (VARs)?

Clearly, the VARs are of great importance. In fact, this support network within the ecosystem of these major companies may at its best make the difference between a success and a fiasco when betting on PLM.

“Absolutely, they play a significant role,” says PTC’s Jim Heppelmann in today's TV report. “Resellers like PDSVISION and the other partners in our ecosystem supply a number of added values. What values do they add? Geographic coverage is one example. They are found in many places where we do not have direct coverage. Besides this, they develop and provide important services, integration solutions, education and often also engineering expertise.”

In today’s webcast, PLM TV News editor-in-chief, Verdi Ogewell, meets PTC’s VAR partner PDSVISION, and some of their customers. Under CEO Johan Klingvall’s leadership, the company has had an impressive PLM journey and is growing rapidly in light of a number of successful PLM projects.  These projects see them working with actors such as global automotive subcontractor, brake and suspension developer Haldex, forklift manufacturer UniCarriers (formerly Atlet), the food process technology company JBT and agricultural machine developer Väderstad, which was recently named world champion in its field at a large German agricultural fair.

“Yes, things have gone well,” says Klingvall. “Today, PTC's channel accounts for just over 30 percent of the total revenue. This is a considerable increase, which means that we have grown from 15-20 percent a few years ago to today's much larger proportion.”


In this TV report, you will hear more from Heppelmann and Klingvall, as well as Kevin Wrenn, responsible for PTC’s PLM division, Charlotte Wall from Haldex, Elin Wegner from UniCarrier (now with Arcam) and Jonas Lundh from JBT (now with Koenigsegg).

Why are PTC’s resellers growing so much? PDSVISION’s leader, Johan Klingvall, points out that the effects of globalization and the development of disruptive technology have resulted in increased international commitment and utilization of the PTC partner’s services in recent years. The business still has a local flavor, but the trend is that customers want their resellers to follow them out into the world and coordinate PLM initiatives with their international departments and facilities.

Create Order in Your Digital Houses Before Proceeding

However, PDSVISION's growth curve is about more than money. In fact, they have conclusive importance as a catalyst for the implementation and functionality of PTC's PLM platform Windchill—and all of the company's other solutions, from their CAD flagship Creo and AR solution Vuforia to the IoT platform ThingWorx and technical publishing tools like Creo Illustrate and Arbortext.

In this context, PLM platforms can be seen as a ‘naked’ structural set of tools for product development and realization, and in some respects even for the in-field operation of the products that are being developed, regardless of which supplier they come from. But these solutions must be ‘dressed’ in terms of implementation and customization, while at the same time their effective use must be taught in the organizations and best-practice methods must be developed. This is where VAR's and other ecosystem partners play such an important role.

PTC partner PDSVISION’s CEO, JOHAN KLINGVALL, in the position he regards as most important: discussions with customers around how their PLM bets can be improved.
PTC partner PDSVISION’s CEO, JOHAN KLINGVALL, in the position he regards as most important: discussions with customers around how their PLM bets can be improved.

“So it is,” commented Johan Klingvall. “New technologies and the development of new business models based on, for example, IoT, Augmented Reality (AR), digital twins and threads are exciting areas where there is still some work to do before we can see a really broad impact. It always takes time before solutions from the most disruptive technology fronts reach the companies. Even for those who are early in the process of picking up news, a maturity phase is needed before doing the pilot work and finding models for how the new should be integrated and organized within the framework of what exists. But PTC is at the forefront here, interest is steadily growing with our customers and we are seeing how the commercialization of these ideas is increasing.”

Supported by PTC's Kevin Wrenn

Kevin Wrenn, divisional GM for PTC’s PLM suite Windchill.

Kevin Wrenn, divisional GM for PTC’s PLM suite Windchill.

PTC's Kevin Wrenn, divisional GM for the PLM segment, couldn’t agree more. Wrenn was one of the keynote speakers on-site in Gothenburg during PDSVISION's customer event earlier this year, and we interviewed him for today’s TV report.

“Clearly there is a growing interest,” he says. “But when you do the deeper analysis and start the background work with the new technologies such as IoT, digital twins and threads, you often realize that this is about a journey; a trip that can take three, seven or up to ten years, depending on what you’re aiming for.”

“Before embarking on more unknown waters, however, the proactive companies want to make sure that they have their traditional ‘digital house’ like CAD and surrounding processes in order. The customers also look at things like, ‘what are the really valuable applications we have, and how can we make sure they work flawlessly as it is’ and ‘how can we secure that the old solutions work well in a new environment with technologies like IoT, IIoT, AR, digital twins and threads,” said Wrenn.

During 2017, the automotive subcontractor Haldex, which develops brakes and suspensions for heavy transport vehicles, decided to bet on PTC’s PLM suite Windchill to improve their change management process. The company’s R&D director, Charlotte Wall, used PDSVISION as a partner in developing these solutions. “Magician,” is how she described the PTC VAR’s consultant, Karl Wennerholm.
During 2017, the automotive subcontractor Haldex, which develops brakes and suspensions for heavy transport vehicles, decided to bet on PTC’s PLM suite Windchill to improve their change management process. The company’s R&D director, Charlotte Wall, used PDSVISION as a partner in developing these solutions. “Magician,” is how she described the PTC VAR’s consultant, Karl Wennerholm.

Automotive: The Magicians at Haldex

Haldex’s Charlotte Wall, director  of R&D Infrastructure.

Haldex’s Charlotte Wall, director of R&D Infrastructure.

Consequently, order and process clarity is a primary angle of attack, which is exactly what the Sweden-headquartered automotive subcontractor Haldex is currently doing. The company develops brakes and suspensions for heavy transport vehicles, and operates on the global market. The company wanted to improve its change management process and chose PTC's Windchill.

“That's right,” says Charlotte Wall, Haldex’s R&D Infrastructure director. “We have nineteen sites globally and five R&D sites. It’s clear that we need to coordinate these by optimizing our flow and creating one and the same process for everyone. With the new solution, our manufacturing sites will get all the changes in the same way. Today, they receive changes in three to four ways from the three to four sites that send changes to them.”

Furthermore, she points to the values provided by PTC’s VAR, and what she called "magicians like PDSVISION's Karl Wennerholm and employees that play crucial roles in the work of implementing the system solutions.”

“To succeed in this type of project, the ability to collaborate plays a big role. Charlotte Wall and her staff know their processes; we know Windchill, and can show how this software can solve the problems that Haldex wanted to fix,” Wennerholm added.

Configuration Management at UniCarriers

As mentioned above, there were more user cases presented at PDSVISION 's event. At Haldex, the challenge was "change management," which in real life experience always proves to be a tough problem in industrial product development and production. The same goes for configuration management.

“25 percent of our annual production volume of 7,000 fork lifters is about specially designed vehicles,” says Elin Wegner, UniCarrier’s former design support manager, to engineering.com. “This puts a lot of demands on great configuration management solutions,” she added as the reason for the choice to bet on PTC Windchill’s ‘Options & Choices.’” In the time since this interview was recorded, she has moved to Arcam as the new head of PLM.
“25 percent of our annual production volume of 7,000 fork lifters is about specially designed vehicles,” says Elin Wegner, UniCarrier’s former design support manager, to engineering.com. “This puts a lot of demands on great configuration management solutions,” she added as the reason for the choice to bet on PTC Windchill’s ‘Options & Choices.’” In the time since this interview was recorded, she has moved to Arcam as the new head of PLM.

UniCarriers is a world-leading forklift truck manufacturer owned by Mitsubishi, and is another company we meet in the PLM TV News webcast, and the topic is configuration management (CM) in the Windchill environment. Elin Wegner is formerly the design support manager at UniCarriers, and who today works at Arcam responsible for PLM. She explains how UniCarriers' Swedish subsidiary–formerly Atlet, now under UniCarrier's flag–needed to improve its configuration solution.

The forklift trucks that are manufactured can be assembled in thousands of different combinations and with the help of the Windchill module, ‘Options & Choices,’ the company has worked out solutions with the capacity to handle the variety of variants they want to offer the market.

“We produce about 7,000 trucks a year,” Wegner noted, adding that, “25 percent of this volume is about just specially designed vehicles where customer-specific requests in addition to standard configuration can be delivered to customers.”

These CM solutions via Windchill are currently building up the UniCarriers’ variant management.

JBT and a Smart Solution in Technology Publishing

PDSVISION’S MARTIN TORESKOG played a key role when food process technology company JBT’s Jonas Lundh, together with PTC’s VAR, developed a much smarter solution for technical publishing than the one they previously used.

PDSVISION’S MARTIN TORESKOG played a key role when food process technology company JBT’s Jonas Lundh, together with PTC’s VAR, developed a much smarter solution for technical publishing than the one they previously used.

The third case shown in today’s webcast revolves around technical publishing. How can it be made more effective than having to develop individual solutions for each type of publication and type of platform? This was the fundamental problem that Jonas Lundh, then at the food technology company JBT, asked himself.

“Should we need to build one for A4, one for US letter (American standard), one for ‘wearables’ as glasses-based format and one for the website? This is what we have to do today with our Adobe desktop publishing solution. This isn’t good enough; as soon as there is a change we have to go into all the formats and change, change and change,” Lundh says.

“So, together with PDSVISION’s Martin Toreskog, we’ve developed a solution using PTC's Arbortext and XML format–which can handle the problem in a very smart way. Instead of a number of different actions we now only need to push a button in the company's Windchill system for each type of publication that needs to be made.”

How does it work? Watch the video above to see the web TV report on the three cases above.

The PTC Chief Wants a Broad Team Behind Him

There’s no doubt that a VAR partner such as PDSVISION is of crucial importance for any PLM developer. For PTC, these dealers account for just over 30 percent of the total revenue. But as PTC’s Jim Heppelmann says in the web TV interview, “In some cases, such as CAD, resellers even account for up to 70 percent of revenue.”

It’s still unknown how this will develop on the CAD side in the future. About a month ago, PTC bought the cloud-CAD company Onshape, a browser-based solution with no need of software to be downloaded to your computer. Instead, everything happens in the cloud through an Onshape browser. Everything done is saved in the cloud and you even get PDM as an integrated part of the ‘rent’ you pay for this Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Heppelmann has previously focused heavily on this type of SaaS business model, instead of the former perpetual licensing and maintenance fee model.

In today’s TV interview Heppelmann was unclear on what role the channel resellers will play in conjunction with Onshape, but said, "We are working to find good solutions around this collaboration, solutions that mean that our channel partners will have important roles in the work with Onshape."

Regardless of how this works out, it's clear that the PTC leader sees a team of companies and participants in the development of future PLM and Product Innovation Platforms (PIP).

“We don’t want to be alone on this journey,” Heppelmann said, pointing to the partnerships PTC signed with simulation and analysis developer ANSYS, factory automation developer Rockwell, Microsoft, and reseller partners such as PDSVISION.

No doubt the latter will certainly play a prominent role in this team.

Don't miss meeting today's webcast from PLM TV News, where you also will hear more from:

  • Jim Heppelmann, CEO and President of PTC
  • Johan Klingvall, CEO of PDSVISION Group
  • Kevin Wrenn, divisional GM, PTC's PLM segment
  • Charlotte Wall, director of R&D Infrastructure, Haldex
  • Elin Wegner, former design support manager, UniCarriers
  • Jonas Lundh, former senior technical editor and project manager at JBT
  • Martin Toreskog, consultant for PDSVISION


Recommended For You