In our overview blog post on concurrent engineering, we discuss what concurrent engineering is and why you need it. As a quick reminder, concurrent engineering uses technology solutions to automatically communicate product data changes to distributed teams. With this automatic communication in place, distributed teams can easily collaborate and create products in parallel rather than trudging through sequential steps. Ultimately, these improvements accelerate the pace of your product development and keep you on the leading edge.
This sounds like an ideal solution for many organizations—but the question remains, how do you implement concurrent engineering processes?
How to Implement Concurrent Engineering
Concurrent engineering empowers multidisciplinary teams to accelerate their product development—but that can only be done with the right software solutions. Therefore, picking the right platform as the foundation for your concurrent engineering initiatives is the first and, by far, the most important step of the process.
Step 1: Find the Right PLM Software
Product lifecycle management (PLM) is often the best solution to support concurrent engineering because it generates a digital thread—a single source of truth for your entire organization. PLM unites engineering and production and connects everyone to the same manufacturing requirements, products, processes, and resources.
PLM enables automated, traceable, and bi-directional handoff of everything related to product development:
- Engineering data
- Manufacturing data
- Manufacturing bill of materials (MBOMs)
- Manufacturing process management
- Manufacturing optimization and simulation
- . . . and more
PLM is the power behind concurrent engineering. It acts as the single source of truth for all product data, supporting continuous communication and information sharing between teams.
Want to know how to pick the best PLM solution for concurrent engineering and all of your other product development initiatives?
Step 2: Leverage CAD and PLM for BOP and Work Instructions
Once a PLM solution is selected, manufacturing engineers typically leverage their PLM and their CAD solution together to create the documentation needed to move product development forward. Typically, the bill of process (BOP) and work instructions are created from the 3D CAD structure released by engineering. This 3D data becomes the baseline for all other downstream activities and uses the PLM as the source of truth across teams. The data can also be used for simulations, process plans, work instructions, and change management processes.
Engineers combine the power of CAD and PLM to distribute updated product data across teams.
Step 3: Create Factory Views
Once the correct data is distributed, the manufacturing engineers have everything they need to develop unique factory views of products, which are then visible to all team members. What’s required here depends on the organization, team, or product but often includes plant-specific processes, resource plans, and work instructions.
Step 4: Additional Integrations
Lastly, to build a proper digital thread that supports robust concurrent engineering processes, teams must integrate their product data into other IT systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, and operational technology (OT) systems, such as SCADA. PLM should also be integrated with connected machines and tools to support current and future IIoT initiatives.
Integrating your PLM into IT and OT systems strengthens the digital thread throughout the organization, reinforcing the success of future IIoT initiatives.
Support Your Concurrent Engineering Initiatives with Windchill
Learning how to implement concurrent engineering is one thing—actually doing it is another. And while there are numerous PLM solutions on the market, we recommend Windchill from PTC.
Windchill is available on-premise or via the cloud (Windchill+) and supports concurrent engineering initiatives with advanced tools that help you navigate:
- Streamlined access to product data
- Standardized processes
- Change management
- Automatically distributed changes
- . . . and more
Implementing concurrent engineering keeps your organization competitive by speeding up time to market and optimizing product development. Also, having a single repository of product data makes finding and reusing data easy—so you never have to start from scratch. Lastly, since all changes are maintained and distributed, your teams won’t waste valuable time working on outdated versions.
Interested in implementing Windchill for concurrent engineering? Need help determining if concurrent engineering is right for you? Contact us—we have a team of experts ready to help.