Companies take on PLM projects to solve problems.
Over the years, I have spoken with many companies about PLM [product lifecycle management]. Each company has had their own reasons for taking on PLM.
Some of Their Reasons
- Finding information [drawings, etc]
Engineering document management started with aerospace and defense contractors that had hundreds of drawings lying around. Maybe they were in file cabinets, but many were not.
Many studies have shown that engineers will spend 25% of their time looking for information [if it is not electronic]. This can get very expensive.
- Editing the wrong version of a file
When an engineer found a file that looked right, they would check the version of the drawing. They might sort through the files and begin working on the one with the highest version. They might have thought that the latest version was ‘F’, but how could they really know? If they made their changes to an earlier version of a file, they would have to delete the changes and redo them on the correct version. The challenge is to know that you have the latest released version.
- Missing a file
If they were unable to find a file, they often redrew the drawing [document] from scratch.
- Sending the wrong information to manufacturing
Many years ago, one company I spoke with sent the wrong information to the factory floor. By the time it was realized, they estimated the cost of the error to be in excess of $300k. This isn’t common, but when it happens it is expensive.
- Managing engineering changes
A lot of companies have a program manager that monitors change requests for status and approvals. Many studies have shown that the cost of managing a paper based engineering change request to be in the neighborhood of $1,800. It doesn’t take a lot of change requests to add up to some real money.
Ideally, wouldn’t you like to get the right information to the right person at the right time? That has been the goal of many companies for many years. Today’s PLM software has the functionality that will allow you to do that.
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