It amazes me that in 2016 there are still companies that don’t know what to do with engineering and enterprise data. Do we keep it on local hard drives? Should we get a shared hard drive? Servers? Vaults? Cloud(s)? Do drawings go in the same place as plots? What about spreadsheet files?
If your company is still scratching its corporate head about how to manage enterprise data—and even worse, confusing storing data with managing it—then it is time to wake up and smell the Grade AA Arabica coffee of modern engineering data management and stop drinking the cheap Robusta of file storage. If you need some help convincing the Powers That Be in your organization about the importance of data management, here are five New Year’s Resolutions to get the conversation started. Over some really good coffee, of course.
- Stop the chaos of the file-save free-for-all: How many times have projects in your organization been delayed because designers unintentionally overwrite each other’s work? File management systems take charge of who has the data, what version is current, and who gets to share it. Time lost because someone saved an older version over a later one is pure waste.
- Find engineering data faster: Many manufacturers move incrementally from one product to the next, with plenty of overlapping design elements. If you designed it once, don’t design it again. Put a system in place to make it easy to reuse engineering data. Today’s engineering data technology is all about Search, not Sort. Reusing parts is much easier when you don’t have to go digging through servers and network file folders trying to find the right model or drawing for the part you know was used last year.
- Automate design history: A detailed audit trail can save incredible amounts of time and money, but there is no audit trail when your filing method is limited to creating new Windows folders every day. Design history automation makes internal control possible, allowing a full understanding of design iterations and progress tracking. It also makes it easy to track and prove compliance with customer or regulatory requirements.
- Clear up release and submittal confusion: Models, drawings, and related documents should never be prematurely released or accidently accessed by the wrong departments, partners, or clients. With the right EDM software, submittals can be as simple as a one-click process.
- Take stock of how you waste money: The old adage about being too busy cutting wood to stop and sharpen the saw applies here. Running the engineering department with the same data management practices you had five years ago is wasteful. It is the dull blade of unnecessary hard labor. Spend a little upfront on a sharper saw. How much money are you losing on manual processes? Can you afford to NOT invest in engineering data management this year?
If these points don’t get the conversation started, then contact us and we’ll help you get the conversation started and EDM on track for this year.
Randall S. Newton is the principal analyst and managing director at Consilia Vektor, a consulting firm serving the engineering software industry. He has been directly involved in engineering software in a number of roles since 1985. More information is available at https://www.linkedin.com/in/randallnewton.