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The game changer – reduce manual data and asset entry

The pressure on manufacturing companies is enormous: they must be sustainable, energy-efficient, and able to respond quickly to customer wishes – all while grappling with uncertain supply chains and rising energy costs. Digitalization and automation are the keys to overcoming these new challenges and unraveling information silos. Companies need an integrated information management system and a PLM system as the Product Data Backbone.

How did technical companies work in the past? They managed the documents generated in their diverse work processes separately. CAD/CAE data from product development was contained in PDM/PLM systems. ERP/SCM solutions for manufacturing and logistics processes had their data management system and CRM applications for communicating with customers. In addition, traditional DMS systems handled some parts of the document management process.

Lack of consistency leads to the risk of disruption.

Because consistency between the individual components by no means functions smoothly, such work practices continually give rise to conflict and disruption. Anyone needing to respond quickly to market changes or wanting to reliably cushion disruptions in the supply chain is therefore fighting a losing battle. A single pool of data, or a central Product Data Backbone, is needed to connect all product-related information/documents digitally.

This creates a digital thread, which connects ongoing operations with development and allows articles/parts to be evaluated. Teams can create a link in the complaints process between a complaint and the part in question. Development automatically receives complaints reports and can note these for future product development or change products from the outset.

Planning preventive measures with the digital thread

The digital thread also establishes controlled change and improvement processes in the company. Ad-hoc service callouts are reduced and replaced by planned preventive measures. SLAs can assume a higher value and be observed more easily; product quality increases due to fewer defective parts.

The Product Data Backbone – like the human backbone – supplies a company’s departments and sites with information from the product lifecycle permanently and without media disruptions. The information relevant to product development and product management is digitally synced to departments and sites with data from the product lifecycle always and without media disruptions. The information pertinent to product development and product management is digitally synced, and dependencies are highlighted. Links ensure that the same data exists only once and is processed uniquely. Each document is stored in the system with specific information and linked to the existing structures via a logical connection.

Tagging alone is not sufficient

A Product Data Backbone is needed because more than simple Google searches by entering a few keywords are required in complex technical product environments. That’s because specialized structures of projects and products and a document control system based on this cannot be represented with tagging and search terms. While a classic DMS’s storage and tagging function allows a link between documents by using the exact keywords, the connection cannot be created uniquely based on the document tag. Only via the system’s structure – because this is independent of a document in the first instance. Technical document management is therefore needed, in short DMStec.

Conclusion

The ability to work quickly, efficiently, and without error is more critical than ever for manufacturing companies in the present climate. They need a consistent data pool if they want to spin the famous digital thread to automate processes. In other words, a PLM system that acts as a Product Data Backbone and simultaneously enables technical document management replication of specialized structures. In this way, they can unravel information silos and create a consistent flow of data – the best means of systematically fulfilling the new requirements for sustainability and responding to supply chain issues and the energy crisis.


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