Everything becomes global these days. The same applies to manufacturing. It comes in variety of forms. To compete in a global market, manufacturing companies are looking how to leverage global locations for low cost labor, bringing manufacturing closer to customers across the globe and many others. These and many other things are creating demand for engineering and manufacturing software to support engineering, manufacturing and supply chain processes in a distributed global environment. Some of my earlier thoughts about that are in earlier posts – Product Lifecycle, Supply Chain and Data Networks; PLM and manufacturing in networked world.
Over the weekend, my attention was caught by CIMdata commentaries publication – Collaborative Manufacturing: Critical for Success in Today’s Complex Heavy Equipment World. It speaks about complexity of manufacturing products in global environment using multiple plants. To solve this problem better collaboration between engineering, product planning and manufacturing is required.
Article brings examples of Siemens PLM solution to solve the problem of engineering and manufacturing collaboration. One of the key elements is so called – Global Manufacturing BOM. The following passage can give you short description of what is that:
Global Manufacturing BOM supports the ability to automatically author an MBOM from an Engineering BOM (EBOM) based on sourcing information. A plant-specific MBOM can be created from the EBOM or another existing plant-specific MBOM. The product configuration is automatically ported to the manufacturing structure during creation, with each plant getting a unique manufacturing structure. The solution maintains a link between the manufacturing structure and the product structure. This also enables the ability to automatically track and apply design changes over time. Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter solution provides the capability to automatically create a manufacturing structure for each plant based on the product structure and the advised fabrication and supply strategy (e.g., supporting make/buy decisions).
Global Manufacturing BOM supports deviations for individual plants so that companies can leverage local low cost sourcing opportunities. It also helps companies reduce unique manufacturing part numbers per plant, which leads to simplified inventory. Using this tool to review and compare MBOMs from different plants helps companies derive and use global and local MBOM best practices, which supports continuous improvement to their manufacturing processes.
Although, the example of global manufacturing BOM was made in the context of multiple plant production, it can be used to find optimal production environment. Global manufacturing BOM can help to identify manufacturing options not only between production plants of the same factory, but get across supply chain networks and contractors. It made me think about potential challenges such implementation can create for many existing environments:
1- Global identifications system of parts, which allows to identify parts made by multiple manufacturers, provided by multiple suppliers.
2- Additional level of BOM complexity – configuration of Bill of Materials to support multiple MBOMs in addition to product variants and configurations.
3- Combined network model of manufacturing including multiple plants, contract manufacturers and supply chain that can support process of manufacturing optimization in a global environment.
What is my conclusion? Multiple plants is an option often used by global manufacturing companies. PLM solution that can support multiple plants and integration between engineering and manufacturing environments was demanded long time by multiple customers I had a chance to meet. These days I can see even bigger challenges especially for new type of manufacturing facing multiple manufacturing choices – manufacturing in house, establishing multiple manufacturing locations or working with contract manufacturers. To manage product data lifecycle in such environment as well as to find optimal manufacturing solution is not a simple task. It brings additional requirements for global manufacturing BOM to be supported in PLM environments. Just my thoughts…
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital network-based platform that manages product data and connects manufacturers and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.