Key Takeaways from the 2019 PTC/USER Winter Forum

Ryan Gelotte, CTO Action EngineeringAction Engineering CTO Ryan Gelotte attended the PTC/USER Winter Forum held in Charleston, South Carolina January 22-24, 2019. As the MBE Technical Committee chair, Ryan moderated the MBE/MBD session tracks during the conference.

We chatted with Ryan following PTC/USER to learn more about the forum and capture key learnings and takeaways.

1. Let’s start with the numbers: what was the makeup of the attendees at this event?

171 Attendees
16 PTC/USER leaders
32 Sponsors
39 PTC/USER Employees
294 Total Attendees (nice turn out!)

2. What was the demographic & skills mix of those in attendance?

PTC User GroupIt was great to see a lot of familiar faces but even better to see some new ones. There were PTC/USER customers interested in all of the following technical tracks covered by PTC/USER’s diverse product offerings.

Computer Aided Design (CAD)
Model-Based Definition and Model-Based Enterprise (MBED and MBE)
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
Manufacturing Process Management (MPM)
Service Lifecycle Management (SLM)
Internet of Things (IoT)

(Left to Right) Daniel Campbell/Capvidia, Terrie Riley/Solar Turbines, Zachary Miller/TE Connectivity, Jay Nallani/TE Connectivity, Ryan Gelotte/Action Engineering , Jeff Clifford – TE Connectivity, Jim Wilmes/GKN Driveline, Victor Mikushin /Capvidia

The attendees represented many different industries from large Aerospace & Defense companies to small, discrete manufacturing concerns. I was impressed to meet people from retail apparel companies such as Ralph Lauren and Vera Bradley.  Since I’m a CAD zealot, most of my time was spent with my fellow PTC/USER Creo experts. It was very reassuring to not only have CAD and PLM administrators but several end users in our sessions. They are the voice that needs to be heard at any user conference, especially in the Model-Based Definition (MBD) and Model-Based Enterprise (MBE) sessions!

3. Were there any new tools, tips, or tricks introduced at the Forum that directly benefited those using PTC/USER tools for MBD/MBE implementation?

Anyone involved in an MBD/MBE implementation knows that it is a very complex process with many moving parts. Most of the discussion were around what capabilities within the existing tools work and what’s still needed. PTC/USER product managers were engaged with these conversations and shared what is coming soon around Creo MBD capabilities – no doubt they received relevant and valuable input from the attendees.

4.  What stood out regarding functionality in the PTC/USER tool kit?

PTC/USER shared some of their vision for Topology Optimization and Generative Design which I think everyone agrees has the potential to fundamentally change how some products are designed. I should also mention that the attending sponsors also demonstrated their awesome tools that will be very useful for any company looking to implement MBD/MBE.

5. What was your biggest takeaway from this event?

People are starting to realize that implementing MBD/MBE really does “take a village”. This was the best PTC/USER event I’ve been to in a long time. The discussions were specific to the ground floor user experience; and it was great to see PPTC/USER reps show up in a big way. It’s easy as users for us all to complain about what PTC/USER (or any software tool) does and does not do. One of my favorite quotes ever was by Henry Ford “Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain”. Events like this one are important because the challenges that come with MBD/MBE are very hard to overcome and we (both users and consulting coaches) have to work with the tool vendors and each other to find remedies to the challenges.

6. What did attendees of your MBD/MBE tracks tell you they gained from those sessions?

Basically, a lot of the same things I’ve included in my previous responses. Coming together as a community – including PTC/USER principals – is what the attendees appreciated. Learning from what others are doing, knowing that the struggle is real, and that we all share the same struggle is reassuring and motivating all at the same time.  At the end of the sessions, it felt less like a room full of competing organizations and more like a room filled with collaborators.

7. Was there any recurring theme on the comments you heard from attendees at the event about tracks, sessions, sponsors, etc?

Discussions were good – both during the sessions and over meals and cocktails.  Food was good, and overall the feedback was positive.

8. Was there anything attendees wished you had covered in your presentations that you would include in a future session?

Yes. Most of this year’s sessions focused on the PTC/USER tools and sharing tips, tricks and pain points. I already have plans to have customers share their stories, success and especially failures. This inclues getting back to what most of us in the MBE TC are passionate about:  CAD and Creo.  That is going to be the biggest change in the MBE TC for 2019.

9. How many companies sponsored the event? (wondering if it is limited, exclusive, intimate, easy access for talking about their products & services)

There were 17 sponsor companies that were available the entire time and were very accessible. In fact, each day included a half hour break in the morning and the afternoon which made the sponsors even more accessible.

10. Do sponsors generally like coming to this event?

I would say yes, but obviously can’t speak for them. Many of the sponsors have been sponsoring this event for a long time. There were even some new companies this year which is always great to see.

11. When & where is the next PTC/USER Forum?

The PTC/USER Board did announce this at the end of the conference: the next PTC/USER Forum will be in Scottsdale, Arizona on January 28-30, 2020.  Should be fun!

12. Will you attend again? And present?

Of course. Especially next year because I might have to bring my golf clubs and stay an extra day!

13. Are there any presentation materials we can share with our Action Engineering fans?

All of the presentation materials are hosted on the PTC/USER website here; however, it does require membership in PTC/USER and a login to access this site.

Great report Ryan, thanks for sharing your insights following the PTC/USER Winter Forum 2019.  For our readers, if you have any questions for Ryan Gelotte, reach out to him via email.

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