Parametric Technology: Designed to Lead?

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

Dossier: PTC has capitalized on its reputation as a CAD developer to promote its product lifecycle management software. Some clients still find it hard to warm up to its Windchill package.

PDF Download Considered by many to have the premier computer-aided design software—Pro/Engineer—PTC has tried to build on that strength in the engineering sector over the past decade. For Marco Arnone, the general manager of engineering company Enser Corp., it was Pro/E's leadership status that "opened up opportunities for us to sell our services to other companies," and part of the reason Enser opted for PTC's product lifecycle management software. The prevailing sentiment, though, is that the overall Windchill package is a daunting piece to deploy all at once—and it requires extensive customization. Users have had to find the silver lining in its various modules.

Rick Yahn, engineering manager for printing-industry manufacturer QTI, is one who has found the full suite a bit unwieldy. "This Windchill thing is just too horizontally complex. We went into it for about a year, and then had to scale back." The learning process, he says, has been time-consuming and costly. "We've learned enough to implement what was of value [to us]." Yahn's been using ProjectLink on his own desktop for about nine months—"and that's been great," he says. He's enthusiastic about how ProjectLink will roll out to the rest of QTI. "It's a vertical slice of the Windchill package without trying to do too much."

Two years ago, when aerospace-industry software provider Exostar was looking to integrate document and project management into its ForumPass offering, PTC's ProjectLink was the best choice available, says Vice President of Marketing Ludo Van Vooren. Now, even though Exostar doesn't use a customized version of the software, some of the newer features in ProjectLink were a direct result of Exostar's pilot program. When changes had to be integrated, "PTC needed a bit of prodding," Van Vooren says, "but [eventually] got their top two development guys [involved]."

John Burdett, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' project manager for the Joint Strike Fighter program, says Lockheed turned to Windchill to help control costs and provide management metrics from the factory floor. But out of the box, he says, Windchill "may not have reached its potential yet as a program management tool."

This article was originally published on 2003-01-17
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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