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.