Duplicate Parts…everyone has them!

One thing that almost every manufacturing company I speak to admits is the fact that they know they have duplicate parts within their system. The question that is difficult to answer is how big is the problem? Once you have duplicate parts buried in your ERP system with a different number from that of its peers how do you find it? And having found it what do you do with it?

Clearly there is a significant cost to having duplicate parts within your system; it is generally acknowledged the average is around $10,000 to $12,000 per year for every duplicate part, and in some cases significantly more.

It is easy to see where these costs are consumed. Inefficient usage of machine cells, reduced quality, wasteful purchasing of raw materials, unproductive use of the supply chain. This is compounded when one considers that if you do not have a robust understanding of the components already within your database then there is a high probability that new duplicate parts are being added to your database through the design process.

We have embarked on several projects recently that uses our unique indexing software to analyse 3D shapes within your database, and collates this with the associated meta data related to the component.

Armed with the details of all the duplicate parts found within the system one can then start a part rationalisation process to whittle down the numbers. This part rationalisation process can result in incredibly large savings. It not only removes duplicates but it helps you to formulate families or groups of parts. Once these families of parts are established one can then consider how to best optimise machine cells for the production of individual components or families of parts.

It is very easy to see where costs are lost and savings are to be made in a part rationalisation project. Unfortunately up until very recently it was very difficult for organisations to easily identify duplicates, or near similar parts. I remember one organisation, some 20 or 30 years ago, that actually had thousands of drawings spread out inside a warehouse trying to collate the parts into different families.

Today, with the Actify technology, the process is far more straightforward and much much quicker.

Prime Summer 2012

Check us out in Prime’s Summer 2012 Issue which is focused on PLM and Innovation.

Click HERE to access the digital copy of the magazine.

On page 38, Chris expresses his viewpoint on PLM and why Viewing 2.0 is the way to go.

User Adoption = Success

To follow up with my last post, we at Actify believe that success can only begin with user adoption. These users (the information worker) are the point where any and all success begins. These targeted users comprise the extended enterprise (potentially thousands of employees, contractors, customers, suppliers, and partners) and are a diverse group of skill sets with varying technical expertise from novice to technical engineers. The information worker needs the ability to efficiently leverage their expertise, whether legal, purchasing, sales, marketing, engineering, manufacturing or other, without restricted access due to application complexity. His/her success hinges on powerful technology being simple: from installation through ease-of-use; requiring minimal training; and adhering to industry standard support.

Consider the following data from the article, “The Knowledge Worker Investment Paradox,” Gartner Research:

  • Employees get 50%-75% of their relevant information directly from other employees
  • More than 80% of enterprise’s digitized information resides in individual hard drives and in personal files
  • Individuals hold the key to the “Knowledge Economy” and most of it is lost when they leave the enterprise

Clearly, as we move forward in the 21st century, all organizations must make product data available to more people throughout their extended enterprises–but the method must be practical. The business must provide their information workers with visual product collaboration. At the same time, they must be sure the integrity and safety of their intellectual property (IP) remains intact. This requires a great deal of trust. The trust factor must permeate the corporate culture; the corporate culture must breed trust. And finally, businesses must provide the information workers throughout their extended enterprise the tools they need to harness collective knowledge, experience, and data.

Empowering the Global Extended Enterprise

Visual collaboration across the global, extended enterprise (customers, suppliers, and partners) has become a business requirement in the manufacturing industry. When you empower the entire global extended enterprise with visual product collaboration, the benefits that businesses reap include: flexibility and agility, lower costs, the ability to do more with less, around the clock engineering, increased value to customers and suppliers, plus gain a competitive advantage.

Faster, Better, Cheaper

Faster, better, cheaper: It was and always will be the way to compete. Revolutionary technology advances and processes mean leaders have to spot new trends, initiate new products and embrace new markets with lightning-speed. To keep up with rapid industry changes, fierce competition, and short windows (time) of opportunity, companies must adapt quickly to the demands of the marketplace.

Businesses must constantly seek out operational strategies that will give them an absolute competitive advantage over their competition. Successful businesses have little interest in sharing the market—they want to dominate it. They must either bring products to market faster, be more innovative, improve quality, and/or find ways to further reduce operating costs—just to name a few—in order to maximize their profit.

Clearly, Speed-to-market is a key prerequisite to this success. In fact, operational efficiency today is the enabling of integrated project management, design, engineering, manufacturing, production, purchasing, product planning, plus the casting off of non-core competencies—all with unerring speed-to-market. At the same time, businesses must manage and utilize the following core assets strategically, responsibly, and wisely: the organizations’ information workers (people = the experts), business processes (business flow that is created and executed), and intellectual property (knowledge assets = product data) are at the center of every decision.

Product Data for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime (a.k.a. Data Democratization)

So the strategic question is how can your business leverage these three core assets for maximum speed, quality and profitability? Simply put, your business must be able to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This means businesses must streamline the flow of product data between all information workers throughout the extended enterprise (business, suppliers, and customers) and not just the engineering group. The business must allow for dynamic, automatic, and repeatable enterprise processes, all while ensuring your product information is secure both internally and externally.

Until now, the only alternatives have been expensive, complicated legacy CAD/PLM systems. Though these legacy systems serve a tightly structured purpose, outside that purpose they stifle the business. These systems have proved prohibitive for most businesses outside of engineering’s power users due to high cost, inflexibility (rigid processes), required extensive training, and the need for dedicated resources and complex infrastructure.

Due to these reasons, industry studies show that less than 10% of organizations information workers are given access to these systems and even fewer employees, users, vendors, customers are willing to adopt the use of these complicated tools. The key point is that without user adoption, no system can return results and hence cannot deliver any return on investment.

Would you guys agree?

Have you seen it?

To follow up on Chris’ blog post, I encourage you to watch his presentation on YouTube. Chris touches on the fundamental problems that manufacturers face and how Viewing 2.0 can help tackle it.