In the past few years, product development has become more and more challenging: regulations are increasing, deadlines are getting shorter and products are becoming more complex. Not to mention the fact that the way we work has evolved, with the generalization of remote working and teams based in different locations and time zones around the world.
Complex projects involve an incredible amount of data and stakeholders, which can increase the risks of miscommunications, delays and added costs. Combined, these factors can make it tough to work together efficiently and meet market demands for faster launches, higher product quality and better sustainability.
Companies need to address these challenges as smoothly as possible in order to keep innovating and retain their competitive edge. Collaborative design and concurrent engineering solutions could be the key not only to overcome these challenges but also to thrive.
Let’s take a look at three ways collaborative design and concurrent engineering solutions help improve product development.
1. Explore your options
Engage your teams
When you first come up with a design, you need to share it with every stakeholder involved on your project to ensure that everyone works towards the same goal. Not being aligned from the start often leads to misunderstandings that can cause budget overruns, delays and even create tensions within your team.
In order to effectively share your vision and gather everyone’s feedback, you need easily accessible tools both for technical and non-technical stakeholders. Management, marketing, finance and manufacturing teams must understand what your expectations are and be able to give their feedback without difficulty.
Feedback from your team is invaluable to the success of your project, as a different perspective can help you uncover potential issues and make better-informed decisions. Collaborative design tools enable teams to effortlessly communicate and share their ideas by working concurrently on real-time reviews, 3D models and digital mockups that automatically track changes.
Leverage knowledge from past projects
Rather than starting from scratch, you can easily consult and reuse data from past projects to optimize your designs and save time. With applications that enable 3D visualizations of overlaid color-coded models, you can quickly compare structures, find duplicates, locate specific components and detect similarities or differences.
But data is only useful if it’s easy to find, share and use. Sometimes, files are duplicated, reworked on or saved under different names and it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. Managing your data efficiently is essential to take advantage of past know-how.
By using a single source of truth on a cloud-based platform, everyone working on your project has access to the most up-to-date product data. Out-of-date assembly components are automatically detected so your files remain accurate and you never risk being out of sync on model revisions or assembly configurations.
2. Optimize your data management and workflows
Streamline your workflows
Engineering changes, issues and workflows can be hard to keep track of with meetings or emails, which take up a lot of time and often don’t provide all the information you need to make progress. Collaborative design and concurrent engineering solutions enable you to centralize all this information in one place.
Assigning tasks to internal and external stakeholders, defining roles and sending out automatic notifications and reminders gives everyone a clear picture of the project status, ensuring that your project runs smoothly.
Keeping track of your product development tasks with agile tools like Kanban boards, project lists and status dashboards gives you a full overview of your project, helping you stay organized and on top of schedules. Visual workflows that you can templatize and reuse on future projects also help you save time in the long run.
Securely manage your data
Accessing and sharing data easily is important to accelerate design cycles, but it shouldn’t compromise the safety of your intellectual property. A secure collaborative space on a platform like the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform on the cloud ensures that data is accessible only to those who need it.
Clearly define file access and privileges, and create and manage dedicated spaces for content storage and collaboration based on specific project stakeholders without having to send emails or create different file versions. Doing everything in the same environment saves time and provides a clear picture of who has access to your data.
You also need to make sure that your data structure stays organized, as disorganized data can slow you down. With an organized structure, teams can find information quickly and focus on their design and engineering tasks rather than waste time looking for data in the wrong place. This will also help you down the line when you need to find information for future projects.
3. Work smarter together
Anticipate and manage roadblocks
Issue management is key to anticipate and handle difficulties efficiently. Issue management tools that allow you to log, track, notify and work on resolving issues enable you to act quickly to prevent minor issues from escalating and impacting product quality, schedules and business.
Respond to issues raised against items not limited to CAD parts and files, raise multiple issues against the same problem and easily view issues at any stage with a priority system. This can help you preserve and improve product quality as well as free up time by reducing the need for meetings or emails.
Implement an agile change management system
Change happens at any time of the product development process and needs to be recorded, tracked and stored for easy access and traceability. Concurrent engineering solutions such as automated change management allow you to notify project stakeholders quickly so that they can assess changes and act on them accordingly.
Create, assign and manage change actions for everyone involved on your project, obtain peer validation and approval, update changes of scope and track proposed or completed work within one framework. Get visibility into the change status and the actions assigned to everyone including remote employees and external stakeholders.
Collaborative design and concurrent engineering tools participate in creating strong processes that make your business resilient as well as more productive, innovative and competitive.
If you want to learn more about collaborative design and concurrent engineering solutions, check out our roundtable, Maximizing Engineering Potential with Collaborative Design, or our e-book Unlock the Potential of Collaborative Design.