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Bill of Materials

How Smart Manufacturers Avoid Quality Failure

By     AUGUST 15, 2018

In today’s social media world, a bad product review can cause immediate brand damage to manufacturers. As a result, executives are now determined more than ever, to catch costly quality errors before they ship to market.

That said, a mishap can occur anywhere in the product design cycle, by anyone across the supply chain. And once that internal error becomes an external error (shipped to market), the cost to fix it is greatly magnified.

To reduce the risk of quality failure, manufacturers are embracing solutions that integrate product data management (PDM) with product lifecycle management (PLM). This integration provides companies with the enhanced enterprise-wide visibility and modern bill of material (BOM) management capabilities needed to keep quality nightmares from sneaking up and past you…when you’re not looking.

According to the International Journal of Management, companies can lower the cost of quality by up to 3X by fostering a design culture that focuses on preventing problems instead of passively fixing them. However, the ability to proactively monitor errors, risks or bottlenecks is only possible by taking a holistic approach to managing the entire product lifecycle.

Historically companies have relied on disparate design systems that have impeded enterprise-wide visibility, making the alignment of stakeholders with related manufacturing processes difficult. Even worse, operating in this kind of fragmented environment causes blind spots that lead to supply chain oversights, employee missteps, and product design errors. For example, key stakeholders working in vacuums often don’t receive information until the design is prematurely considered done; then, it’s passed from electrical engineers to mechanical engineers and back again. This game of product data hot potato can lead to costly scrap and rework due to errors discovered too far downstream in the design process.

Not surprisingly, one of the core design benefits of integrating PDM with PLM is the bi-directional flow of data like Change Management, Lifecycle status, and Quality Management for closed loop trace-ability. Additionally, actions in the CAD environment can be populated into PLM and the BOM, while CAD users can dynamically query PLM for critical information.

The end result of this integration is that both mechanical and electrical engineers can now work together more easily. They can also make fully informed design decisions based on all relevant engineering and corporate data.

Whether you see a need for PDM or PLM, the key is having a system that supports integrated bi-directional sharing of data between PDM and PLM. This integration also results in a superior BOM management solution.

Manufacturers can maximize their return on a PLM investment by first acquiring a PDM solution to get their product design data tightly organized. One immediate benefit is the learning curve for PDM systems are less demanding than PLM systems. Further, by first implementing a PDM system as your foundation, you can realize the efficiencies of effective data management today, while laying the groundwork for a potential PLM deployment in the future.

Relying on siloed design systems is like flying blind in the dark when it comes to effectively managing your data and product lifecycle. Today’s manufacturing world demands a platform that integrates PDM with PLM to enhance collaboration and visibility, streamline design processes, and avoid the risk of costly quality failure.