Product Data Management

Photo: Luis Llerena

Product data management might seem like the dull, formal work associated with any product design workflow. After all, it’s far from being as exciting and challenging as the creative product design and engineering work. However, product data management actually has a great impact on product design and project efficiency, especially when it comes to complex product designs and/or long projects. Accurate and comprehensive product data management is a crucial aspect of the product design workflow and a key parameter for effective product designs and successful products.

The three main elements of product data management are CAD files-, BOM- and Product-Brief- Management. In this article, I’ll share some working methods and tips about these three product data management elements.

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From Design To Production

From Design To Production

New product design and development is a great challenge. It requires creativity, skills, knowledge and resources—but R&D is only part of the work needed to launch a new product.
Production implementation is the process of translating a product design (in the form of CAD files, 2D drawings, and prototypes) into a ready-for-sale product.

Underestimating the time and cost of the production implementation work is a common grave mistake. The production implementation might seem like a straightforward process, but it can take 3-4 times longer than the R&D stage. The reason for this miscalculation is what I call the “trip planning syndrome.” You cannot plan everything in advance; there are always surprises and unexpected failures. As Pareto claimed, it’s the small (and hard to predict) things that cost the most.

Here is a list of common potential issues and failures to help you prepare your production implementation work and reduce costly breakdowns.

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Design-To-Cost

Design To Cost (DTC)

Design-To-Cost (DTC) is one of the most important aspects of a product design. After all, in an average product, every dollar in cost equals five dollars in sales (see calculation). Most product designers and engineers know how to design cost-effective products in terms of engineering and production but tend to overlook the other aspects of DTC.

In this article, I list the main components of DTC and explain how to deal with them during the product design process.

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BOM Management vs. BOM Listing

Parts & BOM

A BOM (Bill Of Materials) is the “recipe” of a product. BOM data is at the hub of any product design and manufacturing business – R&D, manufacturing, logistics, procurement, inventory, pricing, and sales are all dependent on BOM data. Products cannot be produced without a BOM, and BOM mistakes are costly. Yet, in many R&D projects, BOM management is overlooked, and the BOM is treated as a list instead of as a management tool. There are three main reasons for this oversight: 1. BOM management is tedious work that no one wants to deal with. 2. There are no powerful and friendly BOM management tools. 3. The value of BOM management (as opposed to BOM listing) can be vague.

What is the difference between listing and managing the BOM data?

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