Product Data Management - Your Hidden Assets

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How less becomes more. And how you can prevent designers from reinventing the wheel.

Big Players might resemble slow tanker ships, but in one area they are ahead. When it comes to new strategies and solutions, they are in the majority of cases faster than mid-size companies. Best example: PDM as a component of PLM. “I can‘t understand”, says Jochen Sauter, PDM development manager at BCT, “why the cost-conscious mid-size companies leave huge potential untapped.” Because what works in large corporations is also possible in mid-size companies: make huge reductions in costs and conserve resources by using standardization.

A McKinsey study documents the enormity of the possibilities. To generate 100 million Dollars of revenue, less successful companies require a circus of 330 assemblies with 4,500 parts. Top companies generate the same revenue with 85 assemblies and 990 parts - and that without giving up variety. Differentiation through standards is therefore the BCT credo. And PDM plays a central role. For without efficient management of technical data it is not really possible to tap the full potential. In spite of this, the mid-size companies have invested more in manufacturing “and did not pay sufficient attention to PDM” according to Sauter. Sure, drawing and model management has been popular since the mid 90s. But while 80 out of 100 big players use PDM, the rate drops to only 30 out of 100 for mid-size companies.

Where 2D design is used, the deficiency is less dramatic. But in the 3D world, a missing PDM system causes a lot of stress. Sauter: “The manufacturing and assembling of the right part at the right time is essential. In 2D design many errors are not discovered until manufacturing - with 3D and PDM this can be done very cost effectively during the design process.” “That is why”, says Sauter “we want to help mid-size companies to optimize release management, change management, development and quality assurance.” Sub-goal: less recurrent activities, concentration on the critical items, shorter delivery times, cost reduction, better interaction with suppliers. This affects technical sales, development & design, process engineering and NC programming, as well as preventive maintenance. Also involved are: manufacturing, assembly, service, warranty and data archiving and reproduction. Last but nor least because of the product liability it is necessary to document and manage the complete lifecycle of all products. Are there alternatives? Sauter: “No. That is why the question is not wether to implement PDM or not, but when to implement it.” And what about the ROI? 18 months is realistic.

BCT Technology AG

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