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Category: Business

18 Jun 2020

Reduce Wasted Engineering Time to Improve Profitability

There’s no magic bullet for manufacturers in their quest to stand out in today’s marketplace. Every organization is trying to differentiate products through innovation, quality, performance, and/or cost, and often the changes required to do so require huge cultural changes, which can be more challenging than putting in the technology itself.

However, manufacturers can take some steps in one area that will make a difference: fixing inefficiencies in the engineering process—primarily, how teams access design content and data. A recent report from Tech-Clarity uncovers some best practices and makes recommendations aimed at helping manufacturers run faster and leaner.

In the how-to guide, “Increase Profitability by Reducing Non–Value Added Work in Engineering,” Michelle Boucher, Vice President of Engineering Software Research, analyzed survey responses from almost 250 manufacturers for insights into the management of data, communication of engineering changes, and collaboration with internal and external development team members.

Insights from Survey

To start with, an overwhelming 98% of survey respondents see business value in reducing non–value added work. The key findings center on three points:

  1. One-third of engineers’ time is spent on non–value added work, including searching for information (25%), checking data in and out (18%), incorporating changes made by others (16%), and recreating data they can’t find (14%).
  2. Twenty percent of the time, engineers work with outdated information, as a result of delays in updated information from internal or external/third-party collaborators—41% of respondents say it takes a couple days or more for changed product information to get to the full team.
  3. The most successful companies are nearly twice as likely to maintain up-to-date models. Tech-Clarity reports these Top Performers are 8% closer on deadlines than their competitors.

Non-Value Added Work Drill Down:

23%  Searching for information

Engineers need access to a significant amount of product data to complete their work. This includes product specifications, requirements, material specifications, engineering change requests, bills of materials (BOM), supplier information, other components, and more. With so much to manage, it’s not surprising that searching for data can be a bottleneck.

18% Collecting data for other people

Engineers are often asked to bring information to meetings for others. This requires taking time to collect data for activities such as status updates, design reviews, and project meetings.

16% Checking data in and out

Some companies use PDM (Product Data Management) or PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) systems to centralize data and make it easier to find. To continue design work or make changes, engineers must first check out and download the relevant CAD files. After making changes, the file must then be uploaded and checked back in so that others may have access to it. This whole check in/ check out process can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if CAD files are large. Data check-ins will be explored further in this report.

14% Incorporating changes made by others

With the fast pace of product development, changes can be constant, but they are not always communicated. For example, during a project meeting, an engineer may discover that a coworker changed the BOM. That change has to be reflected in the CAD model as it may impact other parts of the design. In another scenario, perhaps after a change to the PCB layout, the housing no longer fits. Seemingly small changes may have a significant impact on the rest of the design, especially if the design evolved a lot before others became aware of the change. Engineers waste much time when they do not immediately see changes made by others. In some case, they may have to redo hours of work.

12% Recreating data you couldn’t find

Recreating work can be especially frustrating. No one wants to redo work because the data was either lost or misplaced. This can happen when data is stuck on personal laptops, stored on external drives that other people do not have access to, or no one can remember where it was stored. Additionally, search features on shared drives can’t search metadata and may be insufficient to find specific files and information. These results reveal the many different reasons engineers need better ways to find and reuse data. 

Communicating Engineering Changes to the Team

This was another area that showed promise for productivity and efficiency improvements if addressed.  Many engineers noted in the survey that finding the right information and then communicating it effectively is a major challenge and slows down progress in any given day.  Engineers noted their top 5 challenges in executing changes:

What is the Solution?

If you could capture that time that represents just under 25% of an engineer’s day by using better tools and technology, imagine the gains that could be realized! 

Ultimately, the answer is Technology, meaning CAD models updating in real-time and ensuring files are managed in product data management (PDM), but more preferably product lifecycle management (PLM) platforms and definitely not email.

Top performing companies are significantly more likely than other manufacturers to rely on an integrated design and development environment—such as PDM/PLM—to manage and communicate engineering changes because of the proven benefits such platforms deliver, including improved productivity, shorter development time, and reduced product development costs.

Adaptive has been helping customers root out process inefficiencies by automating the full digital to physical design process, one step at a time.   Our solutions can be deployed on the Cloud or on Premises, and we can help determine what is best to help your organization get working quickly remotely or on-site.

Learn more:

Introducing PLM Collaboration Services: Concurrent Engineering on 3DEXPERIENCE

Download this report on the Dassault Systemes web site

23 Mar 2020

10 Tips for Being Productive Working at Home

While the world is rapidly adapting to the “new normal”, many office employees are finding themselves working from home for the first time.  Adaptive has been operating as a virtual organization since the company was founded.  We have discovered that working virtually offered our team the greatest flexibility to be productive, maintain balance, and be ready to respond to changes in the world.  Our good friends at Razorleaf came up with these 10 suggestions to help with staying productive while working from home:

  1. Get ready like you are going to work

The first thought when working from home is “oh boy, I can go to work in my slippers!”.  While that is true, it is really important to get ready like you are going to work. Shower, shave, do whatever you do to help you prepare for your day.  Getting in this regular habit makes it easier to be mentally ready, and then if someone has a surprise video conference for you, you will be prepared.

  1. Consider your workspace.

Set up a work-like environment at home when possible.  Sitting on your bed or couch might seem like a good idea, but it invites distraction.  If you can find a quiet corner to set up, or better yet, a desk/office space, that will be ideal.  Also consider what is behind you when you are participating in a video conference.  Take a look at what others may see when you communicate on video.

  1. Buy a good wireless headset

This seems obvious but we included it anyway. The two models that were recommended by our team include:

  1. Jabra Elite 65T Bluetooth to cellphone or laptop
  2. Plantronics Savi W420-M Binaural Wireless USB Headset Lync/MOC

These two headsets may not be the latest version available.  Visit http://www.headsetplus.com for more options.

  1. The MUTE button is your friend

We cannot emphasize this one enough.  Please check your mute button when you are doing home things while on a call (putting something in the dishwasher, laundry, running water, etc). We are not recommending that you should do those things, but it is one of the benefits of being at home.  Even our experienced work-at-home team has found themselves forgetting this little chestnut and guaranteed someone will call you out.

  1. Make a daily task list

This is just a good practice anyway but when you start working at home, you can find yourself disorganized quickly.  By creating a list that you can review at the end of the day and reset in the first thing in the morning, you’ll be on the right track for productivity.

  1. It is business as usual, forget you are at home

Working at home for those who normally do recognize it’s a privilege, and for many right now it is a necessity.  Your business needs you to be productive and do your job like you usually do.  Once you get in the work zone, you forget you are there. There are differences socially, but you can make fresh coffee whenever you want.  It also brings us to our next important point.

  1. Communicate more not less

When you lose the social aspect of being in an office, you don’t have the chance to “run something by you” in the hall or at the coffee pot. What’s important is to not lose those opportunities to socialize ideas.  Pick up the phone and call someone; use Microsoft Teams or whatever collaboration tool your company provides.  It is good etiquette to send a text, message or chat to someone to see if they are available for a conversation because you can’t see what they are doing or if they are free.  Make time for more conversations and you will not feel the social loss as much. Try not to email your way through all your communications with your team, customers, and vendors.  Email can quickly introduce misunderstandings and overtones that were not originally intended. Email is good for many things, but it should not replace all your communication methods.

  1. Keep/establish ground rules of availability – and communicate that to your team and your household

Set a schedule and stick to it – breaks, lunch, workouts, etc.  Let your team know of your availability windows.  In addition, now that many are working from home with family around them, it’s even more important to let your household know when you will be unavailable to talk with them.  Kids do not always fully understand that you are working, so if you can close a door or put up a sign that indicates when they can come in and when they cannot, it will help you stay sane.

  1. Wrap up the day to account for your time

Remember that list you put together in #5? Take a few minutes at the end of your day to review that list and see how you did.  Don’t be surprised that you got off track or deviated from your initial plan. It happens at home just like it does at work.  You may discover you are more productive at home.  Reset your list for the next day and wrap up your work just like you do in the office.

  1. Remember to stop working – be done with your day

One of the biggest traps in working from home is that your day sometimes doesn’t end. You find yourself going back to the laptop to send one more email or complete one more task.  It’s fine to do that, but just make sure you are able to turn off work at some point.  Your mind and body need the break to recharge and prepare for a new day.

If we can help your organization with business continuity strategies, we’d love to talk. Specifically, we can assist with:

  • Recommending tools to support remote access for virtual workforce like video conferencing
  • Setting up hosted environments and licenses to support remote users
  • Using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to support remote collaboration and data management
  • Short-run production parts or tooling/fixturing components if your normal sources of supply are disrupted
  • Providing remote training
  • Offering supplemental resources to keep things on track

Contact us anytime, we are just a phone call (440-257-7460) or email away.

This article was posted in collaboration with Razorleaf.

26 Mar 2018

Adaptive Corporation Participates in NASCAR DC Solar 200

#DSC500 PromotionAdaptive Corporation joined 499 other businesses as part of the #DSC500 promotion. We completed the 200-mile sprint at the NASCAR DC Solar 200, held on March 10th at the ISM Phoenix Raceway. Driver Matt Tifft drove to a seventh-place finish (his best this year) in the fourth race of the season.

The campaign sponsored by Dollar Shave Club, a men’s grooming brand, was originated by Matt as a way to give back to the National Brain Tumor Society after being diagnosed and eventually making a full recovery from a brain tumor last year.

The Adaptive Corporation logo was selected from thousands of entries and was featured on the rear panel of car #2.

“We were pleased to be included in the #DSC500 promotion and support the National Brain Tumor Society with other small businesses across the country,” said Juliann Grant, VP of Marketing of Adaptive Corporation. “We appreciated the chance to participate in the NASCAR race and support the National Brain Tumor Society.”

 

20 Feb 2018

Adaptive Corporation Receives Platinum Designation in the Dassault Systèmes Partner Program

DSS_Platinum_Partner_AdaptiveAdaptive Corporation, the leading Digital to Physical Product Lifecycle Company, was recently named a Platinum Partner in Dassault Systèmes Value Solutions channel for 2018. The Platinum Partner designation is reserved for Partners that are highly engaged in Dassault Systèmes’ business and identified as best-in-class performers in the 3DS ecosystem. The award is based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which measure expertise in sales performance and efficiency, strategic alignment, and commitment. Other partner designations are Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

“Receiving this recognition from Dassault Systèmes is an honor for us at Adaptive,” said Eric Doubell, CEO of Adaptive Corporation. “We have tough competition in the Value Solutions channel and we are in great company at the Platinum level. We look forward to continuing our participation in this program as we further build upon our strengths as a reseller for Dassault. Ultimately, this effort helps us improve our ability to execute as an organization and ensures a positive customer experience when companies choose Adaptive Corporation.”

Read the press release

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03 Aug 2017
PLM Fundamentals

Part 2: Understanding PLM Fundamentals

PLM is rooted in technical data and processes, but it has evolved to also encompass a variety of non-technical roles and teams. Everyone from engineers to marketing, purchasing, and sales reps create, use, and/or rely on the product information that’s managed through PLM. Engineering and purchasing access CAD files. Purchasing and inventory access bills of materials (BOMs). Sales and marketing access sales orders, product images and information. And corporate executives and managers rely on data and other information to make more informed business decisions (business intelligence).

The value of PLM—and a PLM platform —is that product data is accessible from a central repository where everyone can find what they need and it enables collaboration across teams who are responsible for product development. This repository reduces the burden on individual departments, especially engineering, that no longer have to respond to multiple requests for information tailored to another department’s needs.

PLM Drives Data Management

A centralized location ensures continuity of data around all product information—this is vital and affects many departments. Top PLM systems ensure lots of people can access, work with, and even change full, rich product data in the PLM system without the data getting out of sync. That also means improved collaboration across the enterprise—it’s easier for everyone to find and work on the latest version of a file.

PLM is Useful Whether You’re Big or Small

PLM has long been seen as the province of large companies producing complex products. Dozens of teams work on a single product, each focusing on one tiny step or element in the manufacturing process. The challenge in those organizations is getting each focused team to consider the bigger picture and work with other teams when necessary. But the size of the company has little to do with the complexity of a product, and these days, with improved technology and automation, very complex products might be produced by small teams.

PLM’s emphasis on data management and collaboration is as important for a small company as it is for a company of 200,000. At a small company, an individual might play more than one role, such as a technical role in the morning and a sales or marketing role in the afternoon. That’s where PLM shines, because it helps the multi-tasking individual switch between roles, needs, and information seamlessly. PLM systems help manage all the information the worker requires for whatever role they’re playing at the moment.

PLM software solutions, in particular, can be of enormous value to organizations, as a tool to improve collaboration and communication. Working with an experienced solution provider like Adaptive, we can help you wherever you are at in your software journey. Some of our customers just use a CAD or PDM system and want to evolve to something more comprehensive, others may have experienced failed PLM and don’t know where to go next. We can help give you the right information and tools you need to help your organization move forward.  We invite you to contact us, we are here to help.

This post is part of a 2-post blog series.  Read the first post here: Part 1: Understanding PLM, PDM and More