Tech-Clarity Insight: Engineering Reference Information in a PLM Strategy highlights the importance of efficiently providing engineering reference information to engineers in order to increase productivity. Describes how engineering information offers another tool in the PLM toolkit to improve design efficiency so engineers can spend more time on product innovation.
Please enjoy the Executive Summary below, or click the report title above to download the full PDF (free of charge, no registration required).
Note: Originally published in 2009
Table of Contents
- Executive Overview
- Just the Answer I Need Please
- Building Reference Information into the Engineering Workflow
- Strategic Benefit: Efficiency
- Mitigating Corporate Risk
- Financial Justification: Cost
- About the Author
- References and Notes
Manufacturers today compete on speed and innovation to drive product profitability and profitable growth. These companies have recently given a lot of attention to business process improvement, organizational design, and enabling software technology to improve engineering productivity. Little executive attention has been placed, however, on the importance of providing efficient access to engineering reference information. Streamlined, electronic access to engineering information is another tool in the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) toolkit that improves design efficiency so engineers can spend more time on innovation, create more new intellectual property, and accelerate time to market to capture market share and margin advantages. “Engineering reference information is an enabler,” says Spyro Kotsonis, EMS Global Mechanical Métier Manager at Schlumberger. “Engineering is made easier, more streamlined, and efficient by using electronic engineering reference information.”
In essence, PLM focuses on improving product innovation, product development, and engineering performance. Reference information can play a significant role in these improvements. Too frequently, an engineer will have to pull away from their design work to look up a critical specification, formula, or other piece of information. To reduce the impact of this disruption and improve efficiency, the information they need should be:
- Readily available
- Easily retrieved from a myriad of available information
- Provided from trusted, validated, and current sources
- Provided in the context needed (units of measure, etc.)
- Integrated into the engineer’s daily workflow
- Easy to reference for added credibility and risk management
Electronic engineering reference material helps individual engineers in their pursuit of making confident, informed decisions. Digital references also provide corporate benefits. Most notably, a survey by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) indicates that having electronic reference materials can help improve engineering productivity by 20% or more. Perhaps the most tangible benefit, if not the most strategic, is reducing the direct cost of traditional books and libraries. “We had libraries all over the place that had to be staffed and maintained, yet I always felt as an engineer it was not up to date,” said Colin Reid, VP Engineering for Refining at BP. “We had to make do, I felt compromised.” Given the current financial climate, manufacturers can’t afford to waste any of the scarce engineering talent and capacity they have available to them. Companies need to have a trusted source of information that they can turn to for rapid access to high quality reference information so they can focus on creating innovation and value for the business.