Executive Summary & Goals
The idea of the Circular Economy (CE) is straight forward: to keep products and their component materials in use for a longer period of time before they are discarded or put into the trash where the value is lost forever.
However, the process of creating an inherently more sustainable circular economy from the current linear economy now practiced is not as simple. It will take transformational thinking and disruptive changes to how manufactures approach product development. This starts with reimagining what the delivered “product” actually is; as example, a recurring service instead of one-off sold good.
The transition to a CE will motivate industries of all types to design and manufacture their products in more mindful and thus more sustainable ways, reducing extraction of the planet’s finite resources with less environmental impact. This transformation will create many new business models, investments, technologies, and professional opportunities in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in which PLM Green contributors like CIMPA PLM Services are excited to participate.
Historically, PLM strategies and implementations typically focused on improving multidisciplinary digital collaboration across the enterprise and value chain from the ideation stage of a product concept through its engineering design, virtual prototyping, production, maintenance, and finally end of life. PLM-enabling software solutions have already proven they can power this strategy across individual departments and global-spanning business units.
Now is the time to apply the capabilities of PLM to address the requirements of sustainability across the world, including that of the Circular Economy.
A Circular Economy can best be achieved by applying business strategies that employ and extend PLM technologies which enable the reuse, life-extension, repurposing, and remanufacturing of products and component materials back into a repeating regenerative cycle, minimizing waste and value erosion at each stage.
With that background, the PLM Green Global Alliance theme on the Circular Economy aims to gather knowledge, share examples, perform research, and discuss insights on the role and value of PLM strategies and solutions in supporting the Circular Economy.
- 80% of all European consumer products end up in landfills after one use cycle.
- 30% of all produced clothes are never sold, and another 30% leave the store with a discount.
- Packaging accounts for 40% of all plastics used globally. Since most packaging is only used once, an estimated 100 billion dollars is lost to the economy yearly.
- 10-15% of all material becomes waste during the construction of a new building.
- 30% of all food is wasted throughout its value chain.
PLM and the Circular Economy Theme Moderator(s)
Focus & Objectives
Our near term focus will be on how best to take advantage of “PLM Levers” for supporting the Circular Economy, and defining what new advancements in capabilities, implementations, and user applications will be needed.
- Maximize the duration of the use time and maximize the availability of products/services with the lowest consumption of resources, parts, and materials (maintenance, repair).
- Development, increasing services (and/or businesses) to follow-up, support, and take charge of products all over their lifecycle (development to services).
- Ensure their adaptation to the use cases and market expectations in the time (upgrade, retrofits).
- Ensure reuse of the products and/or their component in other contexts (reconditioning, re-manufacturing).
- After their use, ensure their recycling minimizes impacts or returns natural materials and/or energy to the environment (recycling, cradle-to-cradle development).
- Ensure the same capabilities for the processes and means involved in developing, producing, distributing, and supporting these products.
- Reduce waste in production, manufacturing, and logistics, reduce reworks, and ensure “right in the first time.”
- Manage and monitor the business with adapted performance KPIs linked with sustainability and objectives defined over long periods.
- The support and sharing of all data about definitions and performances of products, services and industrial systems all over their lifecycles with the memory, traceability of their evolutions retained.
- The support of robustness engineering capabilities such as management of products, processes and manufacturing Failure Mode & Effect Analysis, management of key. characteristics, calculation, and simulation of Mean Time Between Features.
- Modeling and simulation of CE requirements and solutions in product, services and industrial systems.
- Drive of the maturity/lifecycle collaborative management process.
- The connection and integration of data about systems of systems, products, and services to support the development of the services businesses.
- Management of all data and provide traceability needed to meet regulation requirements.
Based on the above observations, we can distinguish different levers of actions to be used by the PLM solution providers, consulting professionals, and their industrial customers:
- Define the performances and requirements and set-up management/steering processes to meet sustainability objectives.
- Rethinking, move the business models to the new market paradigm of a sustainable world.
- Adapt and transform developments and operations value chains to deliver these new business models.
- Accelerate ramp-up and maturity of PLM digital platforms’ capabilities as a critical enabler of the business processes transformation.
We believe the primary mechanism for the development and acceleration of the CE value chain lies within the PLM system digital architecture. This includes the adoption and integration of new technologies – like AI/ML, virtual prototyping, digital twins, and even gaming – to meet the sustainability challenges humanity now faces.
Agenda & Activities
We propose in our PLM & Circular Economy theme working group to exchange experiences, thought leadership, and most importantly, professional support and encouragement to amplify and accelerate our voices and actions. As in the other PLM Green themes, we will do so by educating, advocating, and collaborating across the boundaries of technical disciplines, different industries, and international borders.
We will pursue these objectives using a plan composed of several elements that could include: points of view commentaries, use cases, topical discussion groups, virtual round-tables, articles and blog posts, book and paper reviews, recorded interviews, industry surveys, conference presentations, and participation as guest speakers in webinars hosted by others.
No one association, business, or NGO, regardless of how large or small, can produce all the advancements and innovations for sustainability that are needed. Thus communicating, cooperating, and collaborating (not competing) with other aligned professionals, companies, organizations and alliances will be needed which we enthusiastically look forward to.
Invitation to Participate & Collaborate
To participate in our PLM and Circular Economy group, we invite you to first, if you have not yet done so, to join the PLM Green Global Alliance LinkedIn Group at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12304531/, then contact our moderator Patrice Quencez @ CIMPA to share your special interest and expertise.
Announcements & Updates
Check back soon to this website page as we announce activities for 2024, or register HERE to receive our news, updates, and announcements of events.
To follow our progress, or better yet join PLM Green in making a difference, send an email to email@example.com.
References & Resources
Here below, we have begin to share a curated list of featured case studies, white papers, blog posts, presentations, webinars, and recorded interviews on the role of PLM-enabling technologies in manifesting a circular economy.
We invite you to send us resources and examples for inclusion you have come across in your work, company, industry, or country to firstname.lastname@example.org.