• The Finding PLM to Fit Mid-Sized High-Tech Companies ebook explains how smaller companies in the high technology industry find themselves stuck between full-featured Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems that feel out of reach and less capable solutions including cloud-based file sharing or very basic data management applications. They know they can’t afford the errors and inefficiency inherent to informal data and process management, but can’t afford a large time, resource, and financial investment to fix their problems. Unfortunately simple solutions like web file sharing, while very attractive, fall … [ read more ]

    Finding PLM to Fit Mid-Sized High-Tech Companies
  • The How-to Guide to Transitioning from 2D CAD to 3D CAD  shares best practices for moving from 2D to 3D. The guide shares the reasons you should consider going from 2D to 3D, common challenges to avoid, and benefits enjoyed by other companies who gone to 3D. The guide then shares advice to make your switch from 2D to 3D CAD a success. The recommendations were developed by analyzing the responses of Top Performing companies and comparing them to Average Performing companies.This eBook is one in a series of three:Transitioning from 2D CAD to 3D CAD Migrating from 3D CAD to a new 3D CAD Adopting … [ read more ]

    Best Practices for Going from 2D to 3D CAD
  • The Reducing Cost of Quality in CPG report shares perspectives from a survey of over 175 CPG companies to determine how Top Performers manage consumer packaged goods quality. The research finds that these leading companies are able to achieve better quality results with lower internal costs. The report analyzes their processes, organizational structures, and enabling technology to determine how they can get better quality results without placing a financial burden on the business.Please enjoy the summary below, or click the report to download a PDF overview (free of charge, no registration … [ read more ]

    Reducing Cost of Quality for Consumer Packaged Goods (survey report)
  • What type of experiences prepare engineering students the best for "real world" industry work? What should new graduates know when they start their first job?Please share your experience, thoughts, and lessons learned in this new survey on the engineering skills gap. We are exploring questions such as, what types of things do you look for in a new graduate? How can engineering colleges and universities improve their curriculum to better prepare students for today's modern products?  What concerns do you have about the future engineering workforce?Developing the future workforce is critical to the … [ read more ]

    What Skills Do You Wish Engineering Graduates Had? (Survey Invite)
  • This infographic shares the importance of developing a cohesive digital thread when developing formulated products in the consumer packaged goods industry. The digital thread should be driven by customer requirements and incorporate the recipe / formulation, specifications, packaging design, compliance information, claims, cautions, ingredients, labeling, artwork, and more to provide a full view of the product and it's design history. An effective CPG Digital Thread relies on an integrated Product Innovation Platform to connect product data from early in the front end of innovation through development, … [ read more ]

    The CPG Digital Thread (infographic)

Survey Says … No Relief from Compliance and Sustainability Pressure

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A quick peek into some research on … how companies design their products to meet product environmental compliance, sustainability, and product cost targets. The report, Understanding Product Development Trade-offs: Designing Products for Compliance, Cost, and Sustainability, discusses how engineers and product developers can address these important aspects of their products early in the product lifecycle when designs are still flexible. Survey results and interviews show that while the market understanding of compliance and sustainability has matured, manufacturers are still facing the same challenges – and it has not gotten any easier.

The Research Findings

The report first talks about the challenges and the impacts that manufacturers face. By comparing to results in our 2009 report on Product Environmental Compliance, we were able to characterize some trends. From a compliance perspective, the regulations facing companies are relatively unchanged. The EU’s REACH and RoHS still top the list. To be clear, the regulations that companies are focusing on are the same regulations – but the regulations themselves have grown more challenging as they grow in scope and cover more substances.

One interesting finding is that more companies reported significant business impacts from these requirements. The table below, in fact, is a clear indication that more companies are suffering. One of the most interesting facts is that the only category that shows fewer people in it is “None” – which is down by 70%. Not a good sign!

So what is making this challenging for manufacturers? I will try to summarize the findings here:

  • About one-half (51%) have difficulty understanding design tradeoffs
  • Companies have a hard time collecting information on compliance, sustainability, and cost
  • Survey respondents had difficulty making the right information available to decision makers in a timely manner

There is more detail on each of the individual areas in the report, it is worth a read (or at least a skim to look at the charts and callouts).

Implications for Manufacturers

So what does this mean for today’s manufacturer? The job is getting more difficult, and gathering and sharing information so people can make good design decisions is a huge challenge. But there is hope. As the report says, only 11% of the companies surveyed have information on cost, compliance, and sustainability in a single system. In fact, 41% have disconnected systems for each. No wonder companies have difficulty making tradeoffs. As you have heard me say before, there is a significant opportunity for manufacturers to address compliance as a part of their PLM implementation. This is also true for other product analytics and “design for” processes such as cost and sustainability that rely on good product data.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on designing products for compliance, cost, and sustainability. I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect your experiences? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective. Please feel free to review more free research and white papers about PLM and other enterprise software for manufacturers from Tech-Clarity. In particular, you might be interested in my views on designing for product cost and product cost management (PCM) or my post on the need to reduce the compliance tax on product innovation.

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