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Commonization and Reuse in CAE

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. 

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