Drawing Callouts and Future Google PLM Design

Drawing Callouts and Future Google PLM Design

google-material-design

For me, Google is one of the symbols of simple software design. Therefore, Google developers event is always a good place to get inspired with ideas and new technologies. Google I/O was this week in San Francisco. I had now chance to attend the event, but was able to watch video streaming of keynote and few other sessions. One of the things Google introduced this year was Material Design –  a new approach to rethink user experience to make it more natural, consistent and clean. Watch the following video to learn more.

Material design presentation made me think again about how to develop simple PLM experience. The topic isn’t new. I’ve been talking about it already for few years. Remember my presentation almost 3 years ago at AU 2011?

future-plm-ux

The time of complex and cumbersome enterprise user experience is finally over. Simplicity is an obsessive motto of every enterprise software company these days. However, to develop good UX is a big deal. It requires time and effort. “Don’t make me think” is my favorite quote by Steve Krug about how to develop good UI. How to do so? This is a tricky question. In my view, one of the key elements of this process is to capture elements of well known customer behaviors. You need to learn how people work today. It is extremely hard to change existing user behaviors.

I’ve been reading GrabCAD blog post -BOM Find Numbers: Don’t Get Too Attached. Read the article – it is short and sweet. I’m sure you are familiar with “drawing callout” and find numbers. It was absolutely must feature on paper drawing. Should we keep them in the future? This is a question Ed Lopategui is asking in his post? His conclusion – not really. Here is a passage explaining that:

Find numbers will make little sense in the future, so it’s probably best for everyone if you don’t get too attached to them. There will come a day where the find number is finally retired, and we can move on to the next chapter of BOM management. How can you get to that future faster, you might ask? That’s the easy part: move away from all those outdated BOM authoring tools (like Excel for one), and adopt a modern, integrated BOM editing capability.

bom-find-numbers

I liked BOM find numbers example. New technologies can clearly help us to interlink between BOM and 3D models. It is good to shift away from managing Bill of Materials in Excel spreadsheets.  At the same time, maybe we need to think twice and not to kill familiar user behavior and experience? Maybe we can re-use it for the future clean user interface design. Users are familiar with existing experience and it can help them to understand how to use the system.

What is my conclusion? Existing engineering behaviors have long history going back to drawing boards, paper drawing and engineers collaborating live in one room. Digital technologies are ripping off these behaviors. We create digital models and collaborate using internet and computer screens. New ideas and technologies are good. At the same time, it is might be a good idea to learn from existing behaviors and  preserve some of them in the way that will simplify digital collaboration and design. It will definition good for user adoption. What to keep and how to combine existing behaviors and technologies? This is a very good question. I’m sure it will inspire PLM innovators for coming years. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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  • Gil

    Old post but we are faced with theses challenges today with our PLM implementation. We now are using the concept of EBOM and MBOM. The drawing reflects the EBOM and whether you decide show the EBOM on the drawing or not, I still don’t see a solution to the Find Numbers. You have to communicate which parts are which on the drawing in relation to the EBOM whether it’s on the drawing or just in PLM, otherwise the design documentation is incomplete.

    Then add the concept of the MBOM which can reorganize the EBOM such as adding Kits in the BOM structure for Manufacturing. In this case the Find Numbers (Balloons) on the drawing no longer match.

  • beyondplm

    If you need balloons, you can add balloons numbers to your PLM EBOM and/or MBOM. Unless, the PLM system you use doesn’t support usage level attributes. What PLM system do you use? Can you share? If not, send me an email to oleg at openbom dot com. Best, Oleg

  • Gil

    Windchill is the PLM. The BOM has a Find Number column we can use but the question is in regards to EBOM to MBOM transformation. Since there is restructuring of the MBOM, the Find Numbers no longer match the drawing. So the conversation about whether Find Numbers are needed anymore leads to what is the alternative?

  • beyondplm

    Are you changing drawings after MCOs?

  • Gil

    Depends on the MBOM change. Adding a few MBOM items like packing materials, glue, etc. requires no drawing change, just build the MBOM in WIndchill. Regrouping components like for bolt kits or other Mfg processes its debatable on whether the engineering drawing needs to change, the balloon numbers being the issue. It seems redundant and a lot of work to duplicate every engineering drawing.

  • beyondplm

    One of the good practice I’m aware about is to use Part Numbers in balloons instead of Find Number.

  • Gil

    Yeah, considered that and with automatic linking to the part number could work well. Issue there that I thought the balloons were created for initially was the space, long part numbers in busy assemblies take up a lot of space.

    I as just curious with the call to remove Find Numbers and BOMs from drawings, what’s the standard for documenting the design?

  • beyondplm

    @gildashardluinstrad:disqus for many years, I’m strongly advocating for removing BOM from the drawings. But organizational culture and some requirements to deliver documentation make this goal not always achievable.