By Paul Brown, UGS Corp.
According to published reports, 46 percent of the world’s companies are looking for better ways to create, capture, and reuse product data to increase revenue and control costs. One approach, commonization, offers significant economic and competitive benefits by interweaving improvements in quality, time to market, and cost structures.
The key to a platform commonization strategy lies in finding the potentially common elements — product components and manufacturing processes — within a family of products, standardizing them, and designing to those standards.
Achieving a commonized product portfolio is challenging and requires insight into customer and business requirements and the relationships between value drivers, since each opportunity for commonization has a simultaneous impact on cost and product competitiveness.
> > PLM provides the only way for these capabilities to be effectively implemented.
— Paul Brown, UGS Corp.
The key to enabling productive reuse of product and process content throughout an organization lies in capturing that content and making it globally accessible. BMW, for example, like many best-in-class manufacturers, is aided in meeting new product development targets via a centralized, globally accessible data cache like that afforded by a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. In fact, according to the Aberdeen Group report, successful new product developers are four times more likely to use PLM than their poorer-performing competitors.
PLM supports strategic commonization, enabling companies to manage the”digital product platform” during in-process data capture and reuse by providing knowledge-enabled frameworks, global data management, and an integrated capture-reuse environment. Most companies focusing on commonization and reuse are concentrating on how to enable its full potential through four key areas:
1) Proactive commonization is achieved by analyzing customer and business requirements to understand the drivers of customer and business value; establishing long-range plans that optimize reuse at the portfolio level; and defining the digital strategy to enable the process throughout the organization.
2) Preparing for reuse by creating and capturing validated product and process content, and structuring content and knowledge into digital templates and archetypes to promote efficient reuse.
3) Establishing a single, globally accessible source of reusable content that can scale to the company’s operations, and enabling all contributors across the value chain to easily search and view reusable content in their own context.
4) Cross-functional integration that ties related work at different sites or within different departments together so work and content reuse can be synchronized. This enables reuse and the capture of new content in its full context and continually improves commonization by measuring the impact on business operations.
As a company’s appreciation for the power of commonization and reuse matures, PLM provides the only way for these capabilities to be effectively implemented to build a successful global innovation network. Together, these initiatives represent some of the best paths to quickly and efficiently accelerate business growth and evolve innovative ability.
Paul Brown is marketing director for UGS NX Digital Product Development group. Prior to joining UGS, Paul trained as a mechanical design engineer. Send your comments about this article through e-mail by clicking here. Please reference “Commonization and Reuse in CAE ” in your message.