Written by Rachel Holmes

How Has Collaboration in Product Development Evolved? A Panel Discussion with Nathan Hartman and Jim Zwica

The manufacturing landscape is experiencing major growing pains. Over the last few decades, our industry has juggled the explosion of digital concepts, growth of global supply chains, and increasing demand from consumers. Perhaps the biggest change for manufacturers—and the most challenging to manage—is adapting to rapidly changing collaboration requirements. If a company can manage and optimize collaboration across the supply chain, it will have an edge against the competition. 

At Vertex Software, I’ve had the opportunity to some of the most knowledgeable individuals in understanding both the importance of and best practices in collaboration within the manufacturing and product lifecycle management (PLM) space. My colleague Jim Zwica brings decades of experience in developing PLM tools and helping companies leverage their strategy. Professor Nathan Hartman at Purdue University has spent 15 years studying PLM and model-based approaches. This interesting cross between the research and practicing sides of the industry gives fascinating insight into how collaboration has changed and best practices for today.

I’ve invited Jim and Nathan to bring their two perspectives together for an interview about the evolution of collaboration and communication in product development. During this 60-minute panel discussion, I will ask Jim and Nathan to explore:

  • The differences between collaboration twenty years ago versus today
  • The impact of today’s digital concepts—like the digital twin and digital thread—on collaboration during product development
  • The rivalry between 2D and 3D

If you are feeling the growing pains of Industry 4.0 and are looking for ways to embrace today’s collaboration capabilities in product development, I invite you to attend this virtual panel discussion.


About Nathan Hartman

Nathan Hartman is the Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing and Department Head of the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University, and Director of the Purdue University Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Center. Dr. Hartman is also Co-Executive Director of the Indiana Next-Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC). Professor Hartman’s research areas include the process and methodology for creating model-based definitions; examining the use of the model-based definition in the product lifecycle; and developing the model-based enterprise. Professor Hartman’s industry research partners include Rolls Royce, Cummins, Boeing, GM, Rockwell Collins, Textron, Gulfstream, Procter and Gamble, GM, Honda, and others. For more information, visit https://polytechnic.purdue.edu/profile/nhartman.

About Jim Zwica

Jim serves as a solutions architect and strategic product expert and voice of the customer for Vertex Software. He has extensive experience in product lifecycle management (PLM) and collaboration throughout the supply chain, giving him unique insight into customer needs. As a strategic expert, Jim:

  • Works with customers to identify use cases and workflow improvements using Vertex
  • Serves as a liaison between customers and the Vertex platform, providing recommendations for improvements and upgrades  

Jim’s experience with PLM began in the late ‘90s, and developed into a strong strategic and consultative approach. Throughout his roles with EAI, Siemens, and Caterpillar, Jim consulted with manufacturers on how to best leverage PLM, communicated technology recommendations from the customer back to executive leadership teams, and led development teams to create technology for virtual design reviews.

About Rachel Holmes

Rachel has been a content marketer in the technology space for her entire professional career. Whether she writes about game-changing hardware or software technology, her top priority is creating value for her readers. At Vertex Software, she is consistently putting herself in someone else’s shoes—asking tough questions and finding ways to teach the most challenging of concepts in a simple way.