PLM, which is largely based in CAD/CAM technology, offers clients the opportunity to efficiently manage the entire lifecycle of a vessel, from concept development, to design and engineering, through production, and into service life and beyond.
In an exclusive interview with SuperyachtNews.com, company principal, Carl Persak explained that the system, which is a software platform, takes some much-needed lessons from the automotive industry. “In the eighties the automotive industry developed CAD software with the overall goal of reducing initial development times, engineering times, ultimately improving efficiency in construction, in terms of quality of product and quality of information”, he said. “The idea was to help you stay in touch with the product further down the road.”
Persak has identified the fact that, although the automotive industry exhibits many differences to yacht building, the old ethos that ‘time is money’ transcends both sectors. And as the automotive sector is vast by comparison, it is fair to say that there are lessons to be learned.
“The tenet of the automotive industry, and now PLM, is moving the design process towards a database, where we have a backbone of software that allow us to monitor every element of the project”, Persak explained. “And you can see more and more companies taking it on – it’s effectively a paradigm shift.”
The end goal, he says, is to increase the residual value of the product because the vessel inherits a “real hub of information”. This leads to fewer revisions, shorter build schedules and information that will help the crew service the vessel effectively. And with regards the last point, it is a common complaint among refit yards that yachts fail to carry accurate historical information; this automated process would help to alleviate that.
“We’re all realistic enough to acknowledge that we can’t do what the automotive industry does – the automated process and the sheer levels of commerce just aren’t there”, says Persak. “But we can adopt elements of it, and as a result, you can make incremental gains.”
PLM is currently an in-house operation but Persak says that the company is actively seeking [partnerships with shipyards, project managers and owners themselves. “We’ve invested a lot of time and expense to develop the systems but we see the opportunity to help raise the game across the entire industry whilst making our own design process a lot easier.”