Reusing design data can benefit you and your organization on a daily basis, helping you and your team work more efficiently.
You’ve just been assigned a new project. As you think through the design, you suddenly remember you’ve recently created the same part about a year ago. Where to find it is the big question. You know it’s stored on the company network drive somewhere, but where? Will you spend your valuable time searching sub-folder after sub-folder in hopes that you’ll find it or just remodel it so you can rashly meet your deadline? Either way, the process is time consuming and inefficient.
Stop remodeling your parts and start reusing them. Here are 5 ways design reuse can benefit you and your organization daily.
- Cut design time
- Leverage proven concepts
- Speed up quote and proposal delivery
- Avoid duplications in data and unnecessary stock keeping units (SKUs)
- Integrate global resources
1. Cut Design Time
With the tremendous pressure engineers face and the growing demand from customers in today’s competitive marketplace, redesigning a part from scratch is not the best option. You might think it will only take fifteen minutes to an hour of your time to complete, but it carries adverse effects in downstream engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and assembly operations. Some studies report that as much as 85% of new product designs originate from an existing part. Imagine the time you could be saving by pulling an existing part and sending it on its way, opposed to starting from scratch every single time.
By reusing your designs, you can eliminate the excess time spent on redesigning, developing new drawings, creating all the required documentation, waiting on approvals from management, burdening purchasing with more transactions and allowing assembly operations the time to understand the how the part needs to be made.
2. Leverage proven concepts
When redesigning from a blank slate, you’re often scrambling to get it done so the rest of the project can be completed on time. With design reuse, you can leverage the benefits of an existing design that has already withstood the test of the market. It’s less risky because you already know if this part was a success or a failure in the customers’ eyes and in the field. And if it was a failure, it’s a seamless process to quickly grab that part and tweak it. Design reuse can spark innovation and new ideas that a rushed design could never compete with.
3. Speed up quote and proposal delivery
The faster your organization can get quotes out the door, the more bids it can win. By using historical data that’s already stored within your company’s database, estimates about costs and lead times will be more accurate. This allows proposals to be put together faster and sent out the door quicker – all without interrupting the engineering department!
Products can then be manufactured faster, skipping the chain of command for approvals, finding vendors and waiting on quotes, or backing up the shop floor to create a part that already exists within your organization. Remodeling a simple part may seem like a quick and easy task, but it requires significant time from multiple departments that could be put toward new projects.
4. Avoid duplications in data and unnecessary SKUs
Duplications in data and a superfluous number of SKUs are a result of an unwieldy database, which often leads to unnecessary data storage costs. How much valuable time do you spend searching for files?
Whether you simply can’t find the part you’re looking for or are guilelessly unaware that a particular part exists – this is where database complications occur. Engineering data is often lost or difficult to locate due to data misfiling from:
- Not being involved with the previous project
- Forgetting where the file is stored on the network drive
- New employee comes onboard and is unaware that a specific part exists
The hours of work and downstream costs can easily be avoided by investing in a data management tool that allows for design reuse. There are tools on the market today that have the ability to store existing parts in an accessible location with related metadata for easy searchability.
5. Integrate global resources
Traditionally, many product development centers operated independently with each center creating their own products for their specific markets. Today, companies are starting to take advantage of the design and engineering resources on a global scale by encouraging collaboration among distant teams.
Certain design modifications will still need to be made for particular customers and markets. Whether there are teams in different towns, states, countries or continents, reusing existing design data to build upon or reuse can save significant time and money throughout various stages of the product development cycle.
Before you spend hours searching for a part or re-creating it from scratch again, remember it’s not just the engineering team involved in this process. Fifteen minutes to an hour of your time, plus the lead time from management, manufacturing, purchasing and outside vendors and assembly operations can add up to days, weeks or even months of delays. Without a robust product management system, you would never know if that very part you’re looking for in sitting somewhere, in-stock, on the shop floor.
Drive Efficiency in Your Engineering Department
Learn about the correlation between engineering and product data management (PDM) systems, and explore how you can to save time on tasks such as searching for parts and helping with standardization of file and folder paths.