Posted on behalf of John Holub.
In the previous installment of this series, we discussed a company that had issues with having shipped product to the wrong revision of a design. More often than not, this is the cause of not having the ability to control access to data prior to approval for release to manufacturing. This was a $250,000,000 company facing the prospect of losing 40% of their business if they did not get their act together.
In recent news, we heard about a company that manufactures baby furniture that had to recall one million baby cribs. Apparently these cribs were prone to collapse, and in at least one instance a baby died. To add insult to injury, they decided that the way to fix these defective cribs was to send out a repair kit. In their haste to get these repair kits out to the crib owners, they neglected to include instructions. We do not know exactly how one million baby cribs made it through the Engineering Process, the Approval Process, the Manufacturing Process, and/or the QA Process without this being found until a tragedy had occurred. It may be interesting to be able to eaves drop into the Board Room of this company as they investigate how this happened. It’s a safe bet to say that the process, if there is process in place, is broken.
These two stories bring to mind an old adage in product development. It’s the “One, Ten, One Hundred Rule”. If we find issues in Engineering, it costs us a dollar, If we find these issues in manufacturing, it costs us ten dollars, if we do not find these problems until product has been shipped, it costs us one hundred dollars, or more. Maybe even the reputation of the company.
PDM/PLM solutions are designed to provide a secure environment for a company’s intellectual property, but the key is process. “Process is everything.” Complete visibility into the entire product development process is key to ensuring that the intended design is what has been manufactured and shipped.
Has your company experienced issues such as shipping to the wrong revision? What is your design process? Does everyone involved in the Engineering Change Process know what the entire process may be? Product Data Management is designed to reduce the risks related to new product introduction and can help us to drastically reduce the possibilities of being on the wrong end of the “One – Ten – One Hundred Rule”.
“For more information, contact InFlow Technology at www.inflow-tech.com