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PRODUCT LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT Automating design-to-manufacturing lifecycle: 10 key strategies to win

Aug 17, 2020

Speeding up new product development cycles, improving product quality and increasing yield rates happen when manufacturers integrate diverse design and manufacturing systems encompassing mechanical design, electrical design, design simulation and analysis, Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), inspection, work instructions and ERP systems, creating a unified design-to-manufacturing platform. Dassault Systemes’ Delmia Works, through its end-to-end ERP system developed with a focus to help mid-market, is tailored for factory environments. The Cover Story explores the prerogatives of integrated real-time manufacturing process and how, with quintessential strategies, one can drive more revenue.

A new era of manufacturing has arrived, which is differentiated by the focus on how to deliver excellent customer experience at a magnitude. It’s evident from plastics manufacturers who serve multiple industries to the world’s largest manufacturers producing millions of products annually. What the smallest to largest manufacturers all have in common is a new intensity to excel for customers in the dimensions of customisation, cost, production flexibility and quality.

Take a closer look at the factors driving manufacturing’s inflection point, which shows why integrated real-time systems that provide personalisation at an extent of what it’s going to compete and win in the manufacturing today and in the future:

  • Customers are becoming collaborators in creation more than ever before. Most manufacturers today are integral members of supply chains and are directly affected by the rapid product change requests their customers receive from OEMs and globally recognised manufacturing brands. The existing approach to Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) provides personalisation to a point. It’s going to take a new approach to give customer more freedom to be collaborators in creation than CPQ allows for today. And that freedom starts by giving customers the opportunity to define a product model just once.

  • Customers want greater visibility in every phase of manufacturing. Starting with verifying their product function, specs are being interpreted accurately, product designs can scale for manufacturability and they have a constant view of costs. Their need for visibility is so great that manufacturers who have integrated their diverse design and manufacturing systems together are getting more orders and are growing faster than their competitors.

  • Customers say short-notice production runs are the new normal, rewarding manufacturers who can provide them with business and more growth. Knowing how to make workflows more efficient so that valuable production hours on the shop floor can be freed up is a must do to grow. Manufacturers who have integrated their simulation, electrical, CAM, inspection, work instructions and ERP systems into a design to manufacturing workflow know when they’ll have short-notice production runs available.

  • Customers’ product designs are more configurable with a corresponding increase in materials costs, making real-time cost estimation a must-have. In this era of smart connected products, the accelerating product lifecycles relied on to create them and costing tools are needed to provide real-time estimates in seconds. Designers and engineers need to continually check their designs against cost targets and that manufacturers relying on quoting and product configuration tools are delivering 100% accuracy in their quotes.

  • Customer quality audits are more frequent and dataintensive, giving those companies to manufacture a competitive edge with integrated design. It’s becoming increasingly common for customers to ask for quality assurance test results to be included in every product shipment they receive. The more regulated the industry, the more in-depth the quality assurance report & analysis needs to be. Aerospace & defence, energy, regional & national governments, life sciences and medical products are all asking for more in-depth quality reports and are increasing the frequency of plant visits to complete the periodic audits. Taking together all the reporting requirements, in-plant audit visits are making an integrated manufacturing system essential, with design to manufacturing delivering the most reliable, repeatable results.

Turning inflection point into growth

The more integrated product design, engineering, quality and production are the more likely a manufacturer is going to be able to flex and scale in response to customers’ demands. Product models need to be defined only once in the CAD system to serve as the multifaceted information need of each phase of manufacturing. When simulation/FEA, electrical, CAM, inspection, work instructions and ERP systems all synchronise on a common product model, product quality improves, customer delivery dates get met and new products are delivered on time. Taking on short-notice production runs that deliver higher revenue and margins become possible.

Taking a design to manufacturing approach to integrate every aspect of manufacturing makes it possible to fulfil the customers’ requests of cost breakdown analysis by product configuration with their larger orders or audit data to meet global quality standards. Its inflection point is also being driven by the need to speed up new product development cycles, constantly improve product quality and find new insights into how yield rates can be increased. The future belongs to manufacturers who seize intelligence and use it to compete and win more customers. By unifying the diverse systems of simulation/FEA, electrical, CAM, inspection, work instructions and ERP systems, manufacturers can accelerate their time-to-market for new products, meet tight customer delivery dates and improve quality.

In adopting a more concurrent and integrated design-to-manufacturing process, engineering, quality and manufacturing, teams need to take more of a lifecycle-based view of each product, relying on their CAD systems’ representation of product models as a single source of the product definition. When designers, engineers and manufacturing teams aren’t using the same product definitions, product quality drops fast. Production machines and the teams running them don’t receive accurate work instructions, and suppliers send components and materials that don’t match the product design. When there is an accurate multifaceted definition of every product model in the CAD system, product models can serve as the single source of a product definition, and all changes to the product at the Bill of Material (BOM) level can be propagated automatically through all functional areas.

Benefits of design to manufacturing strategy

Integrating design, engineering, quality and manufacturing systems enable teams to share design information in real-time, alleviating costly delays in projects and finding the root cause of quality problems before they cause production delays. The better the consistency and quality of collaboration and communication, the higher the probability of new products being delivered on time and at a high quality level.

Another benefit is how a design to manufacturing platform enables all departments to use all the data in real-time, alleviating the need for data extraction, translation or individualised analysis. When an entire organisation is sharing the same system of record, which is the product model, late product design changes can be made without a significant impact on the products’ delivery schedule. One of the most valuable strengths of a design to a manufacturing platform is its ability to propagate from design to manufacturing in real-time. Often, customers ask for last minute design changes in response to their market’s changing needs or to be more competitive. Having real-time integration at the foundation of a design to manufacturing strategy enables every member of the team to immediately understand and react in real-time to what customers need.

Increasing innovation while cutting costs

Manufacturers that adopt a concurrent and integrated design-to-manufacturing process — where their CAD, simulation/FEA, electrical, CAM, inspection, quality management, work instructions, ERP and Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software are synchronised with CAD systems’ product definitions serving as the central product definition — can increase their quality and innovation while cutting costs in three key ways.

  1. Speed time-to-prototype

    Syncing the diverse base of systems enables manufacturers to reduce the time-to-prototype exponentially while increasing the product quality. When centralised product models managed in CAD systems are the main product definition that engineering and manufacturing rely on, teams have the analytics, data and information they need to take action in the language or lexicon they speak. As a result, companies adopting this approach are seeing a proliferation of new product prototypes with fewer initial design and prototype errors while also protecting against and future production issues.

  2. Foster collaboration

    Manufacturers who adopt a design to manufacturing approach to manage the lifecycles of their products free up engineers and production teams to work interactively and solve manufacturing challenges faster. Manufacturing product engineers can use design to manufacturing environments/platforms to evaluate new product designs earlier in the product development process. And manufacturing scheduling teams can look at the impact of new models on existing shop floor workflows, as well as wear and tear on new machines. This results in the ability to both increase manufacturability and reduce costs.

  3. Pursue CPQ selling

    The total available market for a manufacturers’ product increases, given that the manufacturer can offer customers and distributors flexibility in product designs. Taking a lifecycle-based approach, where the centralised product model serves as the single product definition company-wide, can free medical product manufacturers up to pursue a CPQ and product configuration strategy. This can deliver higher gross margins by attracting customers who otherwise would not have purchased devices.

10 ways to design manufacturing to drive revenue

Companies that excel at providing customers the freedom they want today for customising products stand the greatest chance of dominating their markets five years from now. Design-to-manufacturing is the roadmap manufacturers are relying on to close the gaps between designers, engineer’s quality management and production teams. Presented below are the 10 ways design-to-manufacturing drives more revenue:

  1. Eliminating disconnects between what engineering designed and what manufacturing can produce leads to more sales at higher gross margins. Design to manufacturing closes many gaps between engineering and manufacturing, enabling manufacturers to improve time to market and also create, design, produce and sell more profitable, customisable products. By unifying simulation/FEA, electrical, CAM, inspection, work instructions and ERP systems into a single platform, manufacturers are driving higher gross margins, too. Real-time integration enables all these systems to share engineering and manufacturing data, further closing configuration gaps and driving more revenue.

  2. Opens new global markets by being able to personalise products at scale, increasing the Total Available Market (TAM) revenue size and growth. Localising products doesn’t have to take months or years. When a design to manufacturing strategy is in place, product managers, markets and engineers only have to change a product model once for a new national or regional market. Design to manufacturing increases the speed and scale of global expansion by simplifying product configuration management over lifecycles.

  3. Real-time fine-tuning of new product features that specific customer segments want is now possible using design to manufacturing, accelerating sales cycles in the process. When designers, engineering, quality and manufacturing can see how their product designs impact customer delivery dates via the design to manufacturing platform, both teams can work with the product management to fine-tune product requirements in real-time to unique customer needs and drive more sales.

  4. Speeding up product development lifecycles for new customisable products, that more perfectly meet customers’ requirements, delivers new revenue as a major benefit of design to manufacturing. Most of the new product revenue ramps sharply up in the first six months, following the launch of a new product. By capitalising on the unique cadences or clock speeds of every step in the production process, design-to-manufacturing platforms enable manufacturers to reach a new level of customer responsiveness and product quality and maximises the launch revenue. By unifying these diverse systems, manufacturers are slicing through the performance paradox of product configuration, delivering excellent quality products while meeting challenging delivery dates.

  5. Closing product configuration gaps with design to manufacturing improves customer order accuracy, fulfilment speed and product quality, creating greater customer loyalty and follow-on sales. The gaps between simulation/FEA, electrical, CAM, inspection, work instructions and ERP systems, cost the manufacturers’ valuable time that’s spent solving order problems instead of excelling at each customer order. When these two systems are orchestrated on a common design to manufacturing platform, time-to-customer improves due to the unique cadences or operating speed of each system being synchronised with each other. The result is a greater follow-on revenue from satisfied customers.

  6. Extending the sales of best-selling products, by adding new features to the product, without disrupting existing production workflows, is possible using a design to manufacturing strategy. Design to manufacturing is based on a single, unified product data model stored in the CAD system that flexes changes as customers’ preferences shift to new features or options. The best aspect of having a unified product data model is that the existing one being used in production can be duplicated and then modified to support product line enhancements fast. Design to manufacturing extends the life of best-selling products by managing the many feature and product attributes, including effectivity, product modularisation, product model definition and master data models.

  7. Improves the balance of revenue across configurable products to sell higher margin models while reducing margin exposure for the less profitable configurations using the insights gained from the design to manufacturing platform. When design, engineering, quality and manufacturing all share the same data and manufacturing intelligence, it’s much easier to align the entire company on designing, selling and building the most profitable configurable products. Design to manufacturing closes the gaps that make expensive pricing and profit margin mistakes happen.

  8. Increase pricing accuracy and estimates by using the automated, real-time manufacturing cost estimation capacities inherent in the design to manufacturing platform. When each product’s model has the system of record for essential costing and pricing data, real-time manufacturing cost estimation improves. Manufacturing has a greater visibility into standard, direct and indirect costs and can better manage production workflows to generate the highest margins possible.

  9. Quoting accuracy improves by providing sales and marketing with a single definition of every product that can be sold in a make-to-stock, configure-to-order or engineer-to-order configurations, leading to more sales. Design to manufacturing enables manufacturers to move beyond the constraints that hold them back from pursuing CPQ and product configuration strategies. A single product model contains all the configuration data needed to scale from make-to-stock to engineer-to-order without requiring manually input data or additional work.

  10. Automatically propagate product and design changes across all functional areas to accelerate new products to market while improving product quality. Design to manufacturing speeds up new product development cycles, improves product quality and increases yield rates. With a single product model serving as the master representation, the product, engineering, quality and production can complete tasks concurrently and further increase sales while reducing costs.

Adopting the lifecycle-based platform

Taking a centralised product model approach that scales across the entire design to manufacturing process, combined with a collaborative working environment, helps to increase the levels of innovation manufacturers can achieve. A concurrent and integrated design to manufacturing process makes it possible for manufacturers to deliver products faster, at a higher overall level of quality and a lower cost. It’s time for manufacturing to adopt a more lifecycle-based approach to create new products, ones that bring together design, engineering and manufacturing interactively on a real-time collaborative platform.

Courtesy: Dassault Systèmes DelmiaWorks

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  • Product models need to be defined only once in the CAD system to serve as the multifaceted information need of each phase of manufacturing

  • One of the most valuable strengths of a design to manufacturing platform is its ability to propagate from design to manufacturing in real-time

  • Integrating design, engineering, quality and manufacturing systems enables teams to share design information in real-time

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