Marrying for Money… and a Better Product Design

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of PLM and ERP, to join eBOM and mBOM in a profitable union. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – then perhaps it’s time to upgrade our systems.

eBOM + mBOM = betterBOM. This isn’t tough math (although admittedly, I did just make up the term “betterBOM”), and yet most organizations do not marry their eBOM and mBOM. Organizationally there are obvious benefits, but the challenges of implementation scare many away.

I recently spoke some folks at a mid-sized equipment manufacturer who tackled this challenge because they had a dream: As Planned… As Built… As Maintained… All Together.

Their Goal: Improve BOM management, starting with the eBOM and mBOM.

Their Challenge: Closing the gap between the As Planned (eBOM) and the As Built (mBOM) to move manufacturing changes back to design.

Their Obstacles: Design and manufacturing were operating in different boxes, separated by a wall of non-integrated processes and systems.

Their Solution: After taking a hard internal look, this manufacturer, with the help of a consulting group, decided to update and upgrade their processes and systems.

  1. First they tackled their human processes, redesigning them to work in today’s environment and into the future.
  2. Next, they started redesigning their workflow processes.

The Snag: At this point, they hit a wall… their current systems. While they could manage the eBOM, their systems were incapable of marrying it to the mBOM.

  1. To overcome this obstacle, they evaluated and selected a PLM system and began the task of migrating and cleaning their data.
  2. Lastly, they integrated the PLM system with the existing ERP system, marrying the eBOM with the mBOM.

Their Results: A reduction in design cycle times of 80%. And with a PLM system capable of integrating changes in the manufacturing process back into the eBOM,  they are creating downstream efficiencies and increased quality and profitability (for parts used across multiple assemblies, this has been particularly impactful).

Their Next Steps:

  1. Moving the design team to a new, unified platform where hand-offs no longer entails recreating work or “throwing it over the wall“.
  2. Accommodating groups such as sales and marketing with easy to use visualization software on the new platform, while simultaneously taking this burdening off the design teams.

But they aren’t done yet, remember the dream?  “As Planned…  As Built… As Maintained…  All Together.” While, two out of three isn’t bad, it isn’t done either. After the new design platform is rolled out later this year, their next goal is the integration of field service with the aim of further improving quality and reducing the cost of ownership for their products.

Photo Credit: Cory Doctorow on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This entry was posted in Best Practices, Product Lifecycle Management and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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