PLM Apps Aim to Ease Supply Chain Data Use

OSIsoft releases PI ICE tool; Agile enhances namesake technology.

Product lifecycle management technologies from OSI Software Inc. and Agile Software Corp. hold the promise of improving the exchange of information along the supply chain.

OSIsoft last week introduced PI ICE (Interactive Configurable Environment) software that enables users to create interactive, configurable user interfaces for real-time, collaborative systems.

PI ICE assigns business and technical context to structured and unstructured data so data can be used for performance management in a PLM environment. It integrates with the San Leandro, Calif., companys PI System software and its server subsystems that collect, organize, aggregate and validate real-time data, officials said. A set of applications built on Microsoft Corp.s Internet Information Server, PI ICE is essentially a Web site with content and deployable components that allow users to search and display PI System data.

PI ICE relies on Web services that use XML and Simple Object Access Protocol to deliver queries and data and to broker the user connections to PI System. At the same time, the tool kit allows other real-time data sources to be connected.

Roland Heersink, CEO of Industrial Evolution Inc., in Phoenix, is using PI ICE to enable his manufacturing customers to share their data securely outside of their network. "Were enabling real-time collaboration with suppliers and partners by replicating some of their process measurements through our systems," said Heersink.

Using Industrial Evolution technology, a manufacturer could extend inventory data on products to a partner via PI ICE so that the partner can manage and replenish its supply of the product on an as-needed basis.

"We collect data points from various systems, and we bring it in and have it all in one central server and combine that with OSIsoft that does analysis," said Heersink. "The mechanism we use to display that [information] to customers is [PI] ICE."

Meanwhile, Agile is using technology gained in its acquisition late last year of OneRev Inc. to enable its namesake PLM software to map component data across companies. The result is software that speeds the exchange of information between Agile systems and external information systems, including information from supply chain partners, customers data warehouses and external supplier catalogs, said officials at Agile, in San Jose, Calif.

The as-yet-unnamed product will let users apply information in an automated way using an interactive, business-rule-driven approach. In addition, the product will have several business process applications that address specific issues—for example, automating the process of staying in sync with product changes. To this end, Agile plans a library of about a hundred business process applications.