John Stark posted a blog listing the ‘Top 10 business reasons for implementing PLM’. While I agree with his reasons, I would like to emphasize the need to manage your engineering change process.
A typical Engineering Change Control process might look like this:
- Someone writes up a change request and gives it to their manager.
- The manager approves or rejects it. Rejection returns it to the requestor – Approval assigns it to an engineer.
- The engineer makes the changes.
- An engineer performs analysis FEA or…
- An engineer verifies that the new design meets the customer’s requirements
- An engineer validates that the new design meets the engineering requirements.
- The engineering manager reviews the design. Rejection returns it to the requestor – Approval starts the process of creating a packet to pass to manufacturing and passes it on.
If the company does not have electronic document management, all of this information is on paper probably managed by ‘document control’. If it is electronic, it could be stored in a folder under the project name.
The typical problems that workers face are:
- What is the status of the request?
- Where is the change request right now?
- Where is the supporting documentation?
- Who has approved it?
- Who has access to the information?
- It takes way too long to turn around a change request
- Has the right information been passed to manufacturing?
How does PLM software help? It provides control and visibility.
With your engineering change control process implemented within PLM software, anyone can quickly see the status of a change request. They will be able to see whose desk it is on. All of the supporting documentation is linked to the change request. Users can quickly see who has approved it and who has not. Access is controlled by your role in the project. With the software controlling the process, the turnaround time can be controlled.
My customers have seen the turnaround time for a change request reduced by an order of magnitude.
In most cases, the cost savings in managing engineering change requests is enough to justify purchasing PLM software. Contact me if you would like me to walk you through that…