You won't believe what engineers are spending their time on!
Most likely, your engineers are spending at least 30-minutes a day recreating standard and supplier parts. In a recent survey that interviewed engineers from more than 500 companies about how they search for parts, t he survey shows that engineers spend at least 30-minutes a day recreating standard or supplier parts. The average is almost an hour per day!
Costs add up when parts are introduced into PLM Tools
Every part introduced into PLM Tools represents engineering costs. There are also downstream processes that often 10x the cost of engineering for each new part. Engineers redraw parts that already exist when they can't quickly find what they are looking for inside PLM Software. Parts are typically only used in one project unless a robust reuse process is in place.
Duplicate parts are a cost multiplier
Here's a real-world example to illustrate how easy it is for engineers to introduce duplicate parts into their designs.
Imagine that Jim is a design engineer who works for you. He is currently designing a commercial washing machine. Jim needs a bracket that contains certain characteristics. He searches inside his PLM Tool but can't find a bracket that will work. In the end, he models one using CREO.
Jim names the component, angle-plate-5.prt.1. He is in a rush, and so he doesn't add any attribute data, dimensions, or specifications. The bracket works, so he continues business as usual.
A few weeks later, Jim's cubicle neighbor, Carol, is working on a commercial washer for a new customer. Carol also needs a bracket with the same specifications for her design. She searches in her PLM Tool for attribute data and characteristics, but she can't find what she needs because no brackets in the tool match her search criteria.
What will Carol do? She models a similar bracket to the one Jim already designed! Carol practices her special naming convention. She places her initials in the front of the file name so that she can find it in the future.
Carol is your classic overachiever, so of course, she adds attribute data, but only the fields that are directly relevant to her project. She names the bracket, CM_3x4_L-Bracket_Holes-8_D-1-4.prt.1
Interchangeable brackets can exist inside PLM Software. None of the brackets have proper attribute information, dimensions, specifications, or consistent naming conventions. What happens when another engineer needs a similar part? I'll bet it gets added a third time.
The example image shows that a bracket that costs $175 multiplied five times is $875. However, when adding the costs for downstream processes, the duplicate brackets cost $8,750. If all the engineers used one bracket design for their various assemblies, the cost would be $1,750 instead.
If the costs are this high for duplicating a simple bracket throughout the product lifecycle, how much do complex vendor models cost your company to recreate multiple times?
Create a reuse strategy to reduce wasted efforts
By focusing on reusing parts, your company will save 30-minutes a day for each design engineer AND eliminate redundant efforts downstream as well. It is imperative to reuse digital parts if you want to improve engineering efficiency, cut costs, and increase speed to market for new designs.
Joseph Lewin is the Product Marketing Manager for PARTsolutions software. His goal is to enable engineers to work more efficiently by providing resources and education about improving engineering processes.