The U.S. Navy recently announced that they have selected PTC’s Windchill Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platform to form the backbone of their Model-Based Product Support (MBPS) digital transformation initiative. Let’s examine what the US Navy set out to achieve as part of this program, outline the criteria they considered, and the key reasons why Windchill was selected as their preferred platform following an extensive evaluation process.

The U.S. Navy’s MBPS initiative targets improvement of the Navy’s overall operations readiness, with specific goals in operational performance, operational availability & optimization of lifecycle costs. The project unites legacy systems and a myriad of data repositories and supports over 15,000 users across a vast fleet, along with an expansive supplier network.

In an extensive evaluation process conducted by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the key selection criteria for the PLM project included:

  • Technological capability & prowess
  • Certified cloud infrastructure incorporation DoD Impact Level 5 security compliance
  • Collaboration capabilities
  • Support for comprehensive PLM workflows.

These criteria were judged within the context of three primary capabilities required by the US Navy:

  • Product Data Management – Manage multiple configurations, sustain and provide enterprise access to all components of legacy and future standards-based Navy Weapon System Technical Data Packages
  • Common Readiness Model – Analyze, report, predict, optimize weapon system readiness and operations & support costs throughout the lifecycle
  • Data Acquisition Requirements Tool – Standardize common data, requirement and acquisition approaches to procure technical and product data.

Following the announcement that the US Navy had selected PTC’s Windchill PLM for this important initiative, Jim Heppelmann, president & CEO of PTC, added that “(At PTC) we are honored that our technology will be supporting the US Navy as it modernizes it’s mission-critical technology infrastructure. The selection of Windchill represents an exciting shift for the Navy to move from building custom software to using best-in-class commercial solutions. With Windchill, the Navy will be able to reduce costs, accelerate innovation and enhance collaboration.”

Upon the announcement, experienced PLM commentator Verdi Ogewell observed in an article on that “PTC, with its technology advancements and partnerships, has the potential to rattle the PLM business. From my perspective, the order from NAVSEA and the U.S. Navy is an example of a new level of technological competitiveness built on the Windchill platform and related software such as ThingWorx, including Navigate (IoT/IIoT), Vuforia (AR), Kepware (OT), Servigistics (SLM) and others.”

Captain Stuart Day, logistics manager for SEA 06L, was quoted as stating that the U.S. Navy’s current IT system for logistics (providing configuration management, emergency modeling and technical data management support for ships and weapons systems) is obsolete and cannot keep pace with rapidly changing and new technologies. According to the website FedScoop, Captain Day also commented that “this current infrastructure greatly impedes efficient management and consistently cohesive structures in the fleet’s product data and service data flora.”

What makes this project so unique? It is clear that the US Navy has not approached this digital transformation initiative purely as a cost-saving exercise to help them place or handle more parts on their extensive fleet of ships, but – more importantly – to help them put the *right* parts on the *right* ship at precisely the *right* time. With this more ambitious goal accomplished, the cost and operational efficiency savings will flow through across the organization.

This is the broader goal of Digital Transformation — drive operational efficiencies and increase top and bottom-line revenue through incremental improvement across an enterprise. Even if your organization doesn’t include a fleet of 500 ships or top-secret military design, 3 HTi can design and implement a Windchill PLM solution that fits your needs. On-site or cloud-hosted, quality-focused or simply a cleaner data vault, we can make your project a success.