Reveal, Reuse, Reduce – Part 3: Reducing Duplicate Parts

By Karin

Hi—It’s Karin from EXALEAD again! This post is the final installment of a three-part series about product parts management that we call “Reveal, Reuse, Reduce”.

Here’s “Reducing Duplicate Parts”! (see Part 1:  Revealing Existing Parts and Part 2: Reusing Existing Parts if you missed them)

As we saw in Part 2, EXALEAD OnePart helps companies optimize the reuse of components and parts, avoiding creating duplicate parts at the front end; this contributes to efforts to halt the propagation of unnecessary processes and costs throughout the enterprise. OnePart can also be leveraged to tag and root out existing duplicates. While conducting the search, the user may come across two or more parts that are pretty much the same. With access to all related metadata, the determination of which part to keep and modify or reuse, and which obsolete parts, and their attendant costs, to rework or recycle over time, is more obvious. Let’s see how this process can be automated.

Going One Step Further

Clearly, when a company’s part numbers are in the thousands or the millions, or when faced with a merger or acquisition that will multiply the number of parts, finding and winnowing down duplicate parts can be an overwhelming proposition. The power of EXALEAD OnePart simplifies the task by grouping and recategorizing parts, at which time the decision to reuse, modify, or eliminate can be rapidly made.

OnePart introduces a new way to work, focused on defining the existing stock of parts according to their metadata and shape. It does not come with pre-defined groupings; the company chooses how to categorize its parts and OnePart adapts in consequence. These unlimited categories are then entered into the PDM and ERP systems so that parts can be better managed in the future, saving time and money.

How does it work?

  • First, quality and method engineers define the kinds of “universes” that exist within the company’s legacy parts. For example, a part that has been created in copper and purchased externally could make up one universe. The parts that meet these criteria are found by using OnePart’s metadata search capabilities.
  • Next, the universes are segmented into clusters according to their shape. As an example, a cluster could represent all of the clamps of the same size. The engineer wants to reduce the 20×20-sized clamp cluster first, because it represents the most expensive inventory (according to unit price x quantity in stock).
  • The cluster displays all of its parts. Those listed first are those that are recommended to be the master, based on the rules defined by the Engineering, Manufacturing, and/or Procurement departments. As an example, masters could be those parts with the most recent (less than six months) and active history in the ERP system with REACH Directive approval.
  • When all the parts in the cluster are determined to be either the master, alternate, or obsolete, then the result is massively propagated into OnePart and the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform. A workflow of acceptance can be used to propagate into the stock through the ERP.

Because the parts catalog is narrowed down, engineers and designers have more time available to be more creative than they would by simply creating (or recreating) required parts. And the discovery of a broad selection of existing possibilities can lead to further creativity and innovation.

A New Paradigm to Directly Optimize Working Capital

A less obvious beneficiary of reducing duplicate parts is the Purchasing department. Purchasing personnel are able to search the ERP and associate its contents with documentation found in other systems. They can go one step further and benefit from the results of using OnePart to pare down duplicate parts. This simplifies the system and the responsibilities of the Procurement team, as they can better negotiate with vendors based on volume. Reducing the number of parts in progress is an expenditure analysis application for the financial controller that directly impacts the balance sheet, lowering inventory and ultimately working capital.

Optimize Working Capital

Here the benefits of OnePart are obvious. Continuing on the path of New Part Creation leads to additional spending. Using it to reuse saves time and money. Implementing it as part of an ongoing parts management program adds significant value over time.

Conclusion

In this 3-part series, we’ve seen that designers and engineers are looking for a solution that finds and gathers all existing product part-related information, no matter the format—adding similarity, metadata, and semantic-linked documents and related information to shape-search capabilities. It should allow users to quickly discover if the part exists by simply shortlisting the possible designs, comparing them, checking their similarity, navigating parent/child relationships, and assembling related documents to reuse legacy parts, reduce duplicate parts, and revitalize the product development enterprise.

We’ve created this interactive video for you to see how much your company could save:

See how much your company could save with Parts reuse!

For more information, leave a comment below or contact us at exalead-onepart@3ds.com.

Reveal, Reuse, Reduce – Part 2: Reusing Existing Parts

By Karin

Hi—It’s Karin from EXALEAD again! This post is the second installment of a three-part series about product parts management that we call “Reveal, Reuse, Reduce”. Let’s continue with “Reusing Existing Parts”! (see Part 1: Revealing Existing Parts if you missed it)

The Cost of Creating New Parts

Confronted with the need for a specific part to meet form, fit, and function requirements for a new product design, engineers currently face two undesirable choices: they can waste valuable time manually trying to find a suitable part—frequently a daunting task that just takes too long—or they can give up on the search and create a new part.

EXALEAD OnePart

While the decision to design a new part may be the most convenient and fastest course of action for the individual engineer, he or she may not be aware that its impact trickles down throughout the entire product development and manufacturing organization—unnecessarily increasing part counts and slowing time-to-market. In product development alone, new part designs have to be analyzed, validated, and prototyped, steps that can consume valuable R&D resources. Moreover, by making something new instead of utilizing tried-and-tested designs, new part development can increase the risk of problems related to quality and manufacturability.

After a new part leaves product development, it creates additional work and costs for every downstream department, from sourcing, production, inventory, and distribution to sales, marketing, and support. New tool paths will have to be created, materials will need to be procured, and new part numbers will have to be added to user, service, and ordering publications, actions that are best avoided if possible.

The Value of Existing Parts

Instead of creating a new part, designers and engineers can look for a similar one amongst legacy parts. Because of the advantages surrounding the use of existing designs, every aspect of a manufacturing enterprise and extended supply chain—including product design, engineering, documentation, procurement, purchasing, manufacturing, inventory, distribution, service, sales, marketing, and management—will become more efficient, ensuring high levels of quality while accelerating time-to-market.

In fact, a wealth of value is lying dormant in the form of existing parts and assemblies, which designers and engineers can often incorporate into new product innovations. According to The Aberdeen Group, a leading information technology and business intelligence research analyst, the annual carrying costs of introducing a new part number range between $4,500 and $23,000 per item, making duplicate part proliferation a known source of cost exposure. These costs represent the hidden treasure buried beneath an enterprise’s voluminous data infrastructure—costs that directly impact throughput, productivity and, ultimately, profit margins.

EXALEAD OnePart

This unwieldy mass of data contains not only 2D and 3D product designs—in the form of CAD models and engineering drawings—but also a cornucopia of associated information, ranging from analysis reports, tool paths, and bills of materials (BOMs) to assembly and user documentation, quotes and orders, inventory and service reports, and other design and production information. However, extracting the potential value hidden within this mountain of data requires an efficient and cost-effective means for finding, accessing, and leveraging existing design assets to facilitate future product development through design reuse.

Reveal Hidden Assets & Reuse Legacy Parts

As we saw in the previous post, before existing parts can be reused, all potential parts that might satisfy a specific set of requirements need to be located, sorted, and evaluated. With an integrated search experience, a variety of search terms and approaches are leveraged to locate not only design models with suitable geometries but also any and all related metadata. Beginning with a search using descriptors of the part, such as part number or color, project name, file type, the original designer’s name, and more, the search is refined according to its features. From there, the user can compare similar parts and find linked content to make the right, informed, documented reuse decision in less than two minutes.

Once a set of existing parts that might fit the need is found, the user further interrogates information about possible candidates in order to identify the most suitable part for the job. For example, a part with a specific load rating, that’s available in inventory, or manufactured in a certain geographic location, may be required. Because an integrated search experience gives one the ability to find and access all metadata related to a part, the user will be in a much better position to determine and select the part that best satisfies the particular situation.

Who Benefits from an Integrated Search Experience

By utilizing the EXALEAD OnePart web-inspired, easy-to-use search system that extends beyond traditional shape search and does not require knowledge of CAD, every interested member of the organization will have access to in-context product design information and can thus contribute to cost reductions and productivity gains related to design reuse. The wide range of users ensures rapid and dramatic ROI in a matter of months, recuperating software, maintenance, services, and hardware investments throughout the enterprise.

Each time a part gets reused, savings of $1,000 to $14,000 per year are realized, depending on the industry. Productivity gains are found throughout the following departments:

Engineering

Designers and engineers will be more productive devoting more time to high-value new projects, delivering them faster. These productivity improvements will extend beyond product development while alleviating the informational demands on designers and engineers.

Quality

As there are few risks associated with using existing, proven parts that have already been tested, quality improvements are inevitable.

Manufacturing

Incorporating an existing part into a new product is a “known quantity” for the manufacturing team. Personnel and manufacturing time are saved, as are time and costs incurred by tooling.

Bidding & Procurement

Reusing parts decreases stocking costs, leading to savings without damaging important relations with suppliers. The purchasing organization will identify and analyze the right parts more efficiently, making more informed decisions about producing or buying parts.

Sales

Streamlining the product catalog lets sales associates better focus their pre-sales and support efforts.

Most importantly, the above productivity gains impact the bottom line:

Management

The time saved by engineers and others leads to cost savings that can be reallocated to other programs, potentially to launching new products. Lowering the number of assets decreases working capital, so more cash is available to devote to other projects.

The value created by an integrated search experience is clear. Ultimately, customer satisfaction and loyalty improve thanks to faster time-to-market and higher quality, so the investment is easily justified.

In Part 3, “Reduce”, we’ll explore how an integrated search experience can reduce duplicate parts.

In the meantime, to see how much your company could save with parts reuse, check out our personalized interactive simulation app!

EXALEAD OnePart

Reveal, Reuse, Reduce – Part 1: Revealing Existing Parts

By Karin

Hi! I’m Karin from EXALEAD. This post is the first installment of a three-part series about product parts management that we call “Reveal, Reuse, Reduce”. Without further ado, let’s start by “Revealing Existing Parts“! :-)

Instead of incurring monetary, quality, and capacity expenses associated with creating new parts, you can leverage intelligent search technology to revitalize product development by maximizing design reuse. A completely integrated search experience, adding similarity, metadata, and semantic-linked documents and related information to shape-search capabilities, will help you quickly access in-context product design information throughout your enterprise. In this series we’ll explore why and how companies can reveal, reuse, and reduce existing parts to save time and money.

Managing the Complexity of Doing Business

Business innovation and technology advancements are making R&D departments more sophisticated and global, with teams collaborating around the world. This leads to more complex product engineering and with this complexity comes varied information systems, resulting in more product data that needs to be managed.

Some of the largest volumes of data are related to product parts. From CAD files and drawings to sourcing information and inventory reports, diverse data is commonly located throughout the enterprise. Companies that are equipped to make rapid, informed decisions about whether a part needed for a product already exists can then determine whether:

  1. based on its associated information, it can be reused, or
  2. it needs to be modified, or
  3. a new part needs to be created or purchased.

But in order to make this decision, designers and engineers first must determine whether the part exists, a potentially daunting and time-consuming task.

Simulate savings your company could get with Parts Reuse!

The Challenges of Locating Part Information

Extracting the potential value hidden within this mountain of product data requires an efficient and cost-effective means for finding existing design assets to facilitate future product development through design reuse. The challenge lies in locating a single part in a legacy data trove that may contain more than a million files.

Many technologies, ranging from Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to 2D/3D database search systems, allow queries of legacy data based on the shape of a part’s geometry—known as shape search. These search systems typically do not communicate between each other, thus requiring clumsy searching of multiple sources.
Furthermore, today’s manufacturing organizations require more part information than shape in order to support prudent, informed decisions that both maximize design reuse and streamline downstream processes.

The Limitations of Shape-Only Search

Search applications based solely on shape have significant shortcomings, which limit their ability to meet the search needs of today’s manufacturing enterprises. Shape search packages typically support geometry searches from within the specific CAD, PLM, or software application, and fail to tap into an organization’s extended data trove of product information.

Shape-searching by sketching the part in a CAD system can be imprecise and wastes time. Making a sketch accurate enough to identify similar parts often takes almost as much time as designing a new part. This defeats the time-saving advantage of shape searching. And users without a CAD license are unable to access the system.

Part geometries can be extremely complex with sophisticated algorithms that make for an unwieldy amount of shape information to search. Shape-only search typically processes all of this geometric information mathematically in order to find a similar part. If the shape signature/outline is defined from the beginning as being less exact, the simpler format and size of the data will make the search faster. The advantage is that more similar parts will be found, at which time the decision can be rapidly narrowed down. And the discovery of a larger selection of existing possibilities can lead to further creativity and innovation.

Searching on shape alone is analogous to performing a Web search using a single word on only part of the Internet. Because of the narrow set of programs searched, the results will be incomplete and may not necessarily meet the need or satisfy other important usability criteria.

Most importantly, software applications that search only on shape are limited in scope, packaged for use solely by designers and engineers, and cannot support the search needs of other personnel and/or departments that require ready access to this vital information.

Informed Decisions Demand an Integrated Search Experience

What’s really needed is a tool that finds and gathers all existing part-related information—adding similarity, metadata, and semantic-linked documents and related information to shape-search capabilities—through an integrated search experience that mirrors the manner in which popular Internet search engines and user-friendly ecommerce applications operate.

Revealing Information with EXALEAD OnePart

The EXALEAD OnePart search solution addresses the limitations of other available parts search technologies by extending search capabilities to include multiple types and sources of information—including 2D, 3D, and non-geometric forms of data—and by refining the search experience to make part searches fast and easy.

Locating a part by its geometric shape is only one step in the process of gathering the information required to determine whether a part is usable or not. OnePart ushers in a new part search paradigm by combining standard search capabilities based on the 3D shape of a part, with natural language text, 2D drawings, existing part metadata, component metadata, normalized metadata, calculated metadata, and semantically linked documents and information. This experience provides you with the deepest penetration into your enterprise-wide legacy data, so you can uncover the potential treasure hidden within it.

In Part 2, “Reuse, we’ll explore the cost of creating new parts, the value of reusing existing parts, and who can benefit.

Till then, check out our personalized simulation interactive simulation app to see how much your company could save with parts reuse!

or watch the video below to see EXALEAD OnePart in action:

YouTube Preview Image

Stay tuned and talk to you soon! :-)

 



Page 1 of 41234
3ds.com

Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.