~ Steve Jobs
With the advent of globalization, manufacturing has undergone a number of significant changes. Overseas manufacturing used to be an option of luxury available and affordable only for a chosen few. But a few decades later, design anywhere manufacture anywhere has become an unavoidable necessity for most companies.
This is a blog series where we will discuss various topics on collaborative engineering solutions, its benefits and impact. This first blog is about five key reasons why collaborative engineering is essential for global manufacturers.
Today, manufacturers need to spread their operations globally in order to tap the best resources in a race for competitive advantage.
This has resulted in multi-site engineering and global manufacturing having significant impact in the product strategy. These strategies have numerous advantages like reduced time to market, improved efficiency, and access to newer markets.
Moreover, globalized operations also pose certain challenges including lack of standardization, poor communication, lack of information flow, and duplication of efforts. These impediments further diminish the productivity and operational efficiency of the engineering and manufacturing teams.
Consequentially, the product development cycle and manufacturing is prolonged, resulting in increased bottom-line costs which negatively impact the margins.
Manufacturers can overcome these challenges through effective collaboration between the engineering and manufacturing processes. Collaborative engineering, as the name suggests, refers to the engineering collaboration methodology that seamlessly integrates people, processes and systems across the entire product value chain. This further enhances productivity, efficiency and agility of the manufacturing ecosystem.
In this global market, engineering collaboration is necessary for five key reasons:
Engineering teams can manage and standardize multi-CAD data through collaboration. They can track collaborative processes across various teams and locations and handle multi-site communication from globally distributed supplier base and manufacturing sites.
It empowers product teams to develop and sustain an agile concurrent product development ecosystem through quickly streamlining the information flow between the global locations with easy accessibility to information in a secured environment.
Disparate systems and data silos result in lack of traceability of parts, data duplication, IP & version control issues. In the collaborative engineering approach, centralized information system and part traceability methods allow for part made in one location to be traced, produced or reused in another location easily and this keeps a check on duplicates through part number standardization.
This system helps in tracking changes on a part or product to identify the reason for the changes. The request for change could be a new scope or rework. Version control issues are minimized due to visibility across the enterprise data and therefore avoid confusion on latest versions. While initiating a part change, it essential for the engineer to have the visibility of the impact across the enterprise. Collaboration helps to determine that there are no duplicate parts across the enterprise.
5. Collaborative engineering drives better resource optimization.
Multi-site collaborative teams enable active utilization of resources. There is more transparency and information on available expertise. This facilitates optimized utilization of investment on tools and infrastructure and realize maximum resource optimization. Multi-site collaborative efforts also help optimize total efforts and overall costs.