Thoughts on Improving the Management of Mine Construction Projects

By Alexandre
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Did you know that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources?

You don’t need to tell Program Managers at Engineering Procurement and Construction Management (ECMP) companies that their jobs are more challenging than ever. They know it firsthand. Fundamentally, the business environment for mine construction has changed, perhaps irrevocably, in the face of dropping commodity prices and fewer mine construction projects. But that’s not the whole story. Competition over fewer projects mean EPCM companies must bid more aggressively. Yet, there is little room for error in those bids as the smallest of errors can quickly cause constructions programs to run at a loss.

On top of all this, the complexity of constructing a mine is higher than ever. Mine construction sites might be located in harsh environments, driving the need for safety protocols. They also might be located in dangerous locales that mandate new security procedures. Furthermore, the opportunity to control cost and quality is driving movement towards pre-fabricated construction components that are assembled on-site.

All this translates to new and more difficult tasks for Program Managers. They’re now charged with cutting costs, hewing to tighter and tighter budget demands, and working with more globally distributed project stakeholders than ever. They must track deliverables across a multitude of functional organizations, including engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction in an ever-widening supply chain. Despite all of these compounding complexities, the program must be executed on time and on budget within a much slimmer margin for error.

These trends and challenges also threaten one of the Program Manager’s most critical enablers: program visibility. Visibility into program status is critical. It enables Program Managers to identify issues early, before they turn into emergencies. It allows them to define and pursue corrective action. And without corrective action, projects run off the rails. Unfortunately, the reality of mine construction today is that most projects are failing in the face of these conditions. Lifecycle Insights findings from The PLM Study found that only 13% of all projects and programs are launched as planned without a major shift in resources.

There is some hope, however. Technology can provide missing visibility into program status. But common methods to track status, like routing physically printed forms, or emailing digital documents or using desktop project management applications, have major drawbacks. And they share one critical flaw: they must be manually updated to depict the actual, present state of the program.

There is a better answer: the Enterprise Business Platform. The technology platform offers the range of functions the many different program stakeholders need. Program Managers have an always-up-to-date program status picture thanks to the technology, because it connects and draws upon the disparate aspects of the program.

Excerpt from Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget, by Chad Jackson, an analyst, researcher and blogger with Lifecycle Insights.


Download Mr. Jackson’s free eBook, “Program Management for Mine Construction: Delivering Programs on Time and On Budget” to read the rest of the story.

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Improving the Reliability of Consumer Electronics Products through Realistic Simulation

By Neno
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Early product failures and product recalls are very costly. They result in loss of revenue, litigation, and brand devaluation among others. Hardware recalls are often costlier than software recalls as software patches can be easily downloaded and installed once flaws come to light.

Recalls and early product failures tend to happen over and over again. Why?

The answer is because engineering teams are constantly under the gun to improve product performance, reduce form factors, and reduce time to market, all while cutting costs. In order to mitigate risk, engineers need to develop a deeper understanding of the product behavior under real operating conditions and quickly evaluate design trade-offs based on overall system behavior.

Physical tests provide an excellent means to understand product behavior. However, physical testing is expensive and time-consuming. Simulation provides a cheaper and faster alternative to physical tests. It is critical to strike the right balance between physical tests and simulation during product development. In order to get the maximum bang for your buck, simulations should be deployed starting early in the design cycle when physical prototypes are not available and the design is not fully developed. The earlier you find flaws, the earlier you can fix them.

Graph: Relative cost of fixing errors in embedded systems

Since the cost of fixing flaws grows exponentially through the design cycle, identifying and fixing design flaws early in the design cycle is super critical. Not all simulation tools are created equal. You don’t need any answer. You need the right answer. For that, you need simulation tools that most closely depict reality. And you need answers fast. Hence you need product testing and validation tools with industry leading physics and solver technology. Those will make you obtain accurate solutions faster in order to help you improve product design, ensure product reliability and reduce time to market. Accurate depiction of material behavior and physics of failure are essential to obtaining realistic results. Such capabilities are critical in predicting the behavior of materials such as glass, adhesives, and polymers that have a high propensity for damage.

Consumer electronic products, especially mobile and portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, are subjected to a variety of operating conditions. The devices need to be designed to protect them from damage. Engineers need to ensure that “portable” doesn’t mean “breakable.” The challenge is to design a light-weight product that can withstand not just the loading cycles associated with regular usage, but also abusive loading scenarios that are encountered less frequently (According to surveys and insurance claim statistics, drop and water damage constitute the two most frequent causes of damage for mobile devices).

Simulation should be employed at the ideation, product development, and failure analysis stages in order to improve product quality and reduce time to market. Refer to the case study is this e-book to learn how a leading manufacturer of consumer electronics used simulation to improve the keystroke feel and enhance frame rigidity while reducing weight.

While drop during daily usage is a concern for mobile devices, transportation drops are the main concern for office equipment. Engineers are faced with the challenge of identifying the structural members that are most susceptible to damage and then improve their damage resistance while reducing the overall weight of the structure. Here’s how a leading manufacturer of office equipment designed a low cost printer that can withstand a series of transportation drop tests.

The examples above provide a snapshot of applications leveraging realistic simulation technology to successfully improve product durability while satisfying other constraints such as weight and cost. Learn more about how you can leverage this technology to improve your electronic product design. Read our e-Book, “Improving Product Performance and Reliability through Multiphysics Simulation.”


Experience Thinking: The New Shift

By Anne
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By Anne Asensio, Vice President, Design, Dassault Systèmes

In the Age of Experience, customer expectation has been transformed. It’s not just a good idea for a company or a brand to deliver an experience with their product: it is imperative when you want to have a real impact on the market. This is changing the scope of what it means to Design.

Design has evolved beyond modeling products. Products used to be the direct expression of the design intent, defined under the physical constraints of available technologies, materials, ergonomics and well defined tasks and functions. But in the Age of Experience, products are dematerialized, reduced to “black boxes”, while integrating the realm of our augmented life.

The scope and value of Design is now at a critical place.

Design’s perspective is moving from designing products to designing experiences, engaging final users in a totally new way. It goes beyond aesthetics to genuine social means, investing in a larger scope of actions across a large spectrum of new disciplines. This “transdisciplinarity” of Design impacts business models, creates new offerings and new social engagement, and convokes new uses of science for designing meaningful and sustainable experiences.

We traditionally consider “Design Thinking” as placing the “human” at the center of the project or value proposition and deciphering what people really want, but fail to express. Design Thinking was the first visible step of Design transformation, moving from the individual designer’s subjective concept towards an empathic model of engagement, leveraging a social participative approach and multiple viewpoints.

Businesses use Design Thinking to identify market opportunity and build a solution that delivers customer value.  It’s an improvement for designing a better product with clear identity, efficiency, and well-defined utilities. But the world and Design have quickly moved on to broader and more holistic issues, tackling complex systems and considering the full technological and service ecosystem by co-defining with users what makes up a unique and continuous experience.

This broader realm of “Experience Thinking” encompasses a new scope for designers, going beyond functions and harnessing the emotive power of customer experience. They script future scenarios and craft real-time 3D prototypes, use immersive technologies and virtual universes, and develop 3D digital masters with integrated information.  Designers are acquiring abilities to access new information, including knowledge gathered from studies, but also a large variety of Data captured from sensors. These combined social and science-based data provide new material for designer creativity.

Digital content is the new nexus for thoughts, interpretation and decision making. The right tools and platform for ideation, virtualization, manufacturability and sustainability enable designers and businesses to view and validate experiential designs at any stage of the development process. Designers can craft the links between products and their interactions, making visible the emotional connections and their use. Data and senses combine for new balanced proposals.

Where we go from here depends on how we use Design to transform companies’ business ecosystems to create designs that captivate users, accelerate technology adoption and deliver ethical and sustainable experiences. Users will “co-design”, modifying deeply our life experiences and changing forever the way people live, travel and interact with technology in the future.

Design professionals across industries (such as architects, industrial designers and transportation specialists) can today transform their processes, methodologies and applications for experience thinking to imagine, design and fabricate innovative proposals.

Collaborating within this new innovation environment, experience thinking can help a business build its brand’s promise and the accompanying emotions it evokes. Then, each customer experience stands on its own as a singular achievement, but also provides a perfect center of gravity that builds brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

Discover more about Design in the Age of Experience at our event website.

Find out about Dassault Systèmes’ Design Studio here.



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