In a world where innovation drives success, it’s wasteful and debilitating to use valuable resources on costly, unnecessary administration. Without effective product data management (PDM), engineers face daily challenges that distract them from productively engaging in key design activities. In fact, engineers in organizations without a PDM initiative spend 25% more time on nonproductive data management tasks.
In my last post, we explored three trends decimating engineering productivity and how to overcome them. While it may seem a no-brainer to boost engineering productivity, not all the benefits are obvious – yet they are all tangible and valuable. In this post, we look to understand all the ways it pays to recoup engineering productivity.
1. Release Designs at Higher Rates
Engineers are in a tough position, especially in organizations adopting agile methodologies. According to Lifecycle Insights’s ebook, “Recovering from the Trends Eroding Engineering Productivity,” engineers are under more pressure to tackle all their assignments, and should be spending their precious time on activities that harness their unique skills – not on basic tasks. Fortunately, with the right PDM system, they waste less time recreating designs, updating multiple systems or responding to requests for designs. In turn, they can release their designs on time, which increases the likelihood of products launching on time.
2. Boost Product Innovation
As they do their best sticking to tight timelines, engineers often opt for the first practical design they come across. But because a robust PDM system eliminates wasteful tasks as described above, engineers regain time to focus on more valuable tasks like exploring alternative design options. This opens the door to finding a better, even more innovative design. In other words, higher engineering efficiency translates to less time spent on data administration and more time spent on innovation.
3. Avoid Prototype Failures and Change Orders
Errors that crop up in the design cycle can trickle down to negatively affect the development process. The result can be multiple failed – and expensive – prototypes, which quickly erode the development budget. Complicating matters further is the change orders that show up on an engineer’s desk – another disruption to productivity. Plus, when all resources are corralled to address the needed changes, the entire company experiences an upheaval. Here the right PDM system helps save time and considerable money.
4. Lower the Cost of Goods
When engineers regain time they had been spending on routine tasks, they can refocus on how to improve product design and manufacturing efficiencies. Perhaps they can find opportunities to cut recurring costs associated with sourcing or manufacturing. In this way, engineers can spend their time boosting product profitability and, in turn, company margins – even if they don’t know they’re doing so! Simply put, engineers spend less time searching for data and reworking designs, and instead reuse more data and decrease costs per part. Combined, all of these enable faster time to market and higher profit margins.
5. Resolve Quality Issues Earlier
The right PDM system helps departments beyond engineering. Such a system helps ensure downstream teams like manufacturing, sourcing, and service can more easily access designs – and earlier in the product lifecycle. That means they can kick-start the processes that need to be activated as the product makes its way out of design. Manufacturing can review its production processes. Sourcing can start identifying and lining up potential suppliers. Service can assess product maintenance and figure out ways to make it easy. Getting a head start in all these areas helps the organization minimize the likelihood of last-minute problems that can jeopardize launch plans.
For more on the ramifications of the trends impacting engineering productivity, the benefits of overcoming them, and the key capabilities needed to do so, download the Lifecycle Insights ebook.