Speaker: Slavko Jovanovic
Organizations struggle to incorporate engineering changes quickly for several reasons.
Lack of engineering visibility into the manufacturing systems. When a change happens, it is important to identify the work in process, which raises more questions. It becomes critical to know how much work is in process, what it will cost to incorporate change, and whether or not the work in process can be salvaged or re-worked. Engineering has to be involved in answering those questions.
Lack of manufacturing system sophistication. Work needs to be placed on hold so the changes can be analyzed. They need to be redlined for change incorporation.
Lack of a closed-loop cycle of engineering change. Engineering needs to automatically propagate new parts, new bills of material, and new drawings to the shop floor, and manufacturing then needs to convey manufacturability information to the engineering system for product defects or corrective actions that arise on the shop floor.
The impact of the struggle is loss of productivity. There are a lot of manual activities that need to happen when engineering changes occur. You have to locate the status of the work in process. You have to analyze it manually and figure out what needs to be done. Once you have figured out what needs to be done, you actually have to do it. This process is manual and very error-prone. It exposes you to a lot of manual work that you normally would not have when using an automated system.
The other problem is the increase in scrap and rework. These processes are manual and changes to them take a long time to incorporate. The longer it takes to make changes, the further through the manufacturing process the product moves; so the likelihood of completing the product before incorporating the changes increases, and there is greater potential for rework as well as more scrap.
The best practice approach for processing engineering changes is to have an engineering system integrated with the manufacturing system that enables information flow from engineering to manufacturing and from manufacturing to engineering. So changes from the parts to the to the drawings come from engineering, then the manufacturing system can analyze these changes, look for impact to the products and automatically propagate those changes to the products on the shop floor.
Requirements also need to flow from manufacturing back to engineering. If manufacturing found a better way to manufacture something or a continual defect or a corrective action that resulted in a product change, these findings need to flow back to engineering. Then, engineering can implement changes so that the next time that the issue changes to that product, those manufacturing suggestions are reflected in the instructions.
At the end of the day, in order to compete in today’s digital manufacturing revolution, companies must find a solution to integrate all interfaces into one digital thread. Download our eBook to learn how Solumina can make this a reality.