Okay…time to break out the calculator watch…
I have visited hundreds of companies in the past few years and I have noticed that engineers are under more stress than ever. They are doing more with less resources and are under tremendous pressure to hit deadlines. As if that were not enough, engineers struggle with issues that could easily be solved with a PDM system (you knew I had to mention that eventually). We see users breaking 3D CAD relationships between their parts and assemblies. Engineers overwriting other engineers work. Users copying files from directory to directory until no one really knows which drawing is the right one. The end result is a sea of duplicates, broken assemblies, and out-of-date prints, all scattered across hundreds of directories on the company network. Usually this madness goes unnoticed, except to the CAD users, until a part gets made to the wrong version and then something hits the fan. At that point, it is too late.
So, how to we solve these problems and avoid future mistakes? In many cases, the obvious answer for the engineer is PDM. The engineers have sat through PDM presentations, attended trade shows and seminars and know that PDM can help. They say, "we will have revision control, managed CAD links, standardization, process management. Great!" Many times, unfortunately, others in the company just see it as a cost. Like the old joke…"Doctor, my arm hurts when I hold it up. The Doctor says: Don't do that." Like the doctor, management simply says, "Stopping making mistakes." The engineer does not have much of an argument. But, as you may have guessed, I have one.
Through some recent benchmarking, we have discovered that Enterprise PDM can greatly improve your day to day CAD performance. We took an average assembly and 135 part files. The total file size was 128 MB. We saved this file to our network, opened it, made changes, and saved it again. This is something an engineer would do many times per day. So we assumed a user would be working on 3 assemblies during a given day and save ~4 times per hour. The total wait time (projected over an 8 hour period) was close to 45 minutes. Using the same assembly with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM took 11 minutes. Over 30 minutes are saved per engineer per day. If an engineer costs $50/hr, this saves the company ~$6000 per year. The math is easy…if you have 10 engineers the savings is over $60,000. This savings plus the additional benefits that come with PDM, would easily provide the justification. Not to mention, network traffic is reduced and so there is more bandwidth available for people who want to read PDM blogs and check out my youtube videos.
If you want to do a study for yourself, break out that calculator watch and measure how long it takes to open and save a typical assembly and multiply that by how many times per day you would open and save. Using Enterprise PDM, these operations will be ~4 times faster. Contact us if you want us to help you with your justification and please respond with your benchmark numbers.