James Zhang

James Zhang

VP of Market Development

PTC
PTC's role in IoT Evolution and Digital Thread Integration

In a factory, the best way to improve efficiency is to find and remove the bottlenecks and make the slowest parts move faster. That's what PTC does – identifies and solves the bottlenecks and empowers front line workers. An industrial digital transformation leader, PTC helps manufacturers to better design, make and serve their product.

“PTC means power to create,” says James Zhang, the company’s VP of Market Development. “We have the software to help customers manage the necessary requirements, what PTC calls ARM application lifecycle management solution.”

When building a car, you start with the design – where there's maybe 5,000 components and millions of lines of code. Car manufacturers design these parts and engineers manage the software, before they all manage it together in the design stage. There's so many different configurations and things can get lost, causing expensive delays. PTC manages the variations and configurations, monitoring not only the engineering side, but the whole product life cycle. PTC understands that manufacturers need to collaborate with their suppliers to bring the right amount of the right part, at the right time.

“In factories, manufacturers have thousands of workers, all of whom are speaking a different language and have a different skillset,” adds Zhang. “This evolving workforce has a big challenge in the manufacturing industry.”

As the VP of Market Development for PTC’s IoT solution, Zhang’s job is divided into turning the high impact, fast time value use cases into outbox capabilities – together with PTC’s Research & Development team. This helps customers to gather fast and high value in a short period of time. 

The second part of Zhang’s job is go-to-market strategy, which sees him work with the field and ecosystem in order to assist customers and unlock the value from PTC’s technologies.

“PTC has some of the best technology available in the industry,” Zhang explains. “The use-case application of our technologies is to solve specific problems out of hundreds of use cases, which are the highest impact and also fast value for our customers.”

There are two main challenges in Zhang’s work, which he sees as the best part of the job. 

“I focus on customer problems,” he goes on. “The good part is that, if you talk to the companies, the manufacturing organisations we serve – from factories to engineering teams – if you listen to them tell you what the business problem you're trying to solve is, it is almost the same problem.”

The second part of Zhang’s role is that, whatever PTC is doing, it is a team sport. 

He continues: "We help customers solve problems and deliver technology, but we also bring the right people together to solve the problem." 

However, in Zhang’s life, his biggest achievements are his sons, aged 7 and 11. 

“They're smart, hardworking and they continue to prove themselves,” he says. “I'm already very, very proud of them.”

Like all families, Zhang faced parenting challenges throughout the pandemic. 

“During COVID-19, we didn't want the children to go out,” he reflects. “The result is that my eldest son started playing soccer late, but he has been practising really hard and he’s been selected for one of the premium soccer clubs! I'm really proud of all the progress he has been making there.”

In a similar vein, Zhang is proud of the progress made at PTC. 

“We have been continuously evolving our IoT strategy to meet the market,” he concludes. “Several years ago, when people spoke about IoT analytics, people said, ‘well this is a cool thing, let's try it’. But in the past several years, manufacturers have been moving from piloting this technology to scaling the proven use cases. 

“I'm very proud that PTC has been the leader in this area and we are one of the first companies to quickly realise that IoT is not only about a platform, but  also about the IoT solution.”

PTC’s IoT has brought plenty of success in recent years, reflected in its financials and stock price. PTC has been on an upward trajectory and Zhang knows that IoT has been a major contributor.

Read the full story HERE.


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