Moving towards Model Based Enterprise

Today, even as organizations strive to improve operational efficiency by lowering cost and improving time-to-market, customers have become more demanding in terms of precision, quality, and agility.  In this backdrop, businesses across verticals have gone back to the quintessential drawing board for answers. The principal challenge is encapsulated in the fact that adherence to specifications, rework costs, and time-to-market are often compromised during re – mastering of drawings in the downstream processes of a product development lifecycle. Where traditional design fails, Model Based Enterprises succeed by unifying product view and specifications across the downstream processes as well as supply chain functions.

The way Model-Based Enterprise bridges this gap is by creating a single 3D annotated model containing complete product manufacturing information (PMI) for the entire enterprise to follow, thus the name. The premise behind a Model Based Enterprise is that 2D Drawings, while easier to create, result in merely a two-dimensional representation of the product. At the time of execution, these 2D drawings must be re-mastered into 3D, which involves additional work, as well as the risk of errors downstream. 3D annotated models however, allow for a clear visualization of the product and the requirements for the procurement, supply chain and manufacturing processes. It also allows for greater collaboration as all stakeholders see the entirety of the product design, from specifications to parts, manufacturing processes to precisely how the end product would look.

The biggest advantages of moving towards a Model Based Enterprise are:

  • Reduced cost of development due to fewer prototypes and reduced rework
  • Improved time-to-market due to increased collaboration with the supply chain
  • Increased quality assurance – what you see is what you get
  • Exponentially increased efficiency in configuration management as downstream processes will never need to re-master drawings due to changes made to the master

Moving towards a Model Based Enterprise

This move, albeit a strategic and critical one, can be understood as four- stage transition that organizations undergo to become a seamlessly integratedModel Based Enterprise from a drawings centric organization. The four stages of transition are –

  • Stage 1 – Beginning to use 3D: The path to adoption of Model Based Definitions starts with using a 3D model vs. 2D drawings. In the beginning, while 2D drawings are still used, a 3D master is created to use as a reference point. There is no connectivity or collaboration within the enterprise. However, the 3D master model is distributed throughout the enterprise using a neutral format such as 3D PDF, JT or STEP.
  • Stage 2 – Beginning to collaborate – Here, the stakeholders collaborate on the 3D annotated model (with PMI) and all changes are recorded in the model. With connectivity within the enterprise being established through sharing of drawings in the native format, the MBD (3D PMI model) now can be reused in downstream processes. At this stage, 2D drawings are still used by downstream processes but they are derived from the 3D model shared across the enterprise.
  • Stage 3 Adopting a PLM – At this stage, the technical data package (TDP) is automatically generated from the specifications, and manufacturing data is also stored along with the model in the PLM. This stage also marks the implementation and integration of a Product Lifecycle Management Solution (PLM) that unlocks the true benefits of a Model Based Enterprise. Through wholesome collaboration within the enterprise and drawings used only for exceptional cases, errors and rework is reduced to a minimum.
  • Stage 4 – The connected enterprise: This is the stage when the organization is seamlessly connected both within as well as the to the extended enterprise environment including vendors, suppliers and customers. With a complete elimination of drawings and seamless interaction within and outside the enterprise using the 3D annotated models as established the entire chain of processes shares a unified and up-to-date view of the product definition and thus manufacturing is planned and executed with utmost ease.

Moving towards a Model Based Enterprise may never have been easier, with the plethora of tools and adoption aids available today. The principal consideration, however is still the benefits of cost and time savings, as well as quality assurance.

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Written by Tarun Kant

on 24 Sep 2016

Tarun Kant currently leads the digital solutions practice and is responsible for growing the digital solutions portfolio at Quest Global. He has over 18 years of diverse experience in engineering, people leadership, program management, business development and delivery excellence in the area of software product engineering and digital solutions across verticals like aero-engine, aerospace, power, automobiles and oil and gas.