Years ago, I was working with a manufacturer of large machines. Their machines had about 10,000 parts and they only manufactured a dozen or so each year. Each machine started with a baseline, but then was customized for each customer.
They kept track of several different bills of materials. There were the ‘as designed’, the ‘as planned’, the ‘as manufactured’, the ‘as installed’, the ‘as modified in the field’ and the ‘as maintained’ bill of materials.
They had a document management department that consisted of 8 people or so.
One person [a very good person] managed their engineering change process. He managed the process. He managed the change request paper work.
He provided the ‘control’ to the process. He moved the drawings/BoM’s from person to person [step to step].
He provided the ‘visibility’. If you wanted to know the status of a product, he would provide the answer.
As I said before, he was very good. My question to them was, ‘what happens if he gets in a car wreck and can’t work for a month?’
People are human beings and human beings make mistakes. Accidents happen. How do you ensure that your data remains accurate? PLM [product lifecycle management] software provides enforcement of your processes and rules. It provides visibility into the processes it manages. It doesn’t get sick or get in a car wreck.
Are you still managing your product lifecycle manually?