How often do you find yourself spending valuable time searching for a model or a file? Have you ever had to recreate a model because you could not find the original? Have you ever spent time creating a design only to discover later that one of your colleagues had previously modeled a similar design that would have met your needs? If you are not using an integrated product data management (PDM) system, chances are you can relate to these scenarios.
In today’s global economy, wasting your valuable time looking for or recreating designs that already exist not only puts you out, but also puts your company at a competitive disadvantage. Adapting, leveraging, and reusing existing designs can save you time and save your company money. It can also help you bring new products to market faster, improve your company’s profitability, and win new business.
Companies that use an integrated PDM system can maximize the effectiveness of design reuse by efficiently addressing the associated challenges. This paper examines the five key benefits of design reuse and explores how SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM software can help you turn design reuse into a winning strategy.
Keys to Success
1 - Slash Design Time
Time is more than money. Getting a new product to market or responding to a project faster than the competition is a critical requirement for success in today’s competitive marketplace. Given these deadline pressures, it does not make sense to start every new product design or new proposal from scratch—especially when studies show that the majority of new product designs (as much as 85 percent in some studies) contain intellectual property from prior designs.
It’s much faster to adapt existing components or design elements for use in a new design than to start with a blank slate. The essence of design reuse is to leverage existing designs in some way—either by completely reusing the design, which can eliminate design time, or by modifying or updating the design, which takes less time. In addition to reductions in modeling time, design reuse carries the potential for significant time and cost savings in downstream engineering, manufacturing, purchasing (saves time with fewer transactions, vendors, and material acquisition costs), and assembly operations
2 - Leverage Proven Concepts
There is an old saying that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Existing designs carry the advantage of actual market circulation, and have already withstood the test of the consumer. These designs represent proven concepts and are known quantities with established performance histories and warranty return rates. Working from an existing design, a designer can have greater confidence that the design will perform as advertised.
It’s less risky from a customer satisfaction and field failure perspective to leverage a validated, proven concept than to go off in a completely new direction. By working from a previous design, a designer can maintain design intent while adding aesthetic improvements. Design reuse can also spark innovative ideas and possible enhancements that a blank slate typically cannot deliver.
3 - Increase Quoting Speed and Accuracy
Winning a competitive bid demands a promptly delivered, accurate quote. Existing designs and proposals typically include accurate estimates about the costs and lead times required in the past. Accessing information on previously used design components and updating that information into proposals can save time and improve accuracy when estimating new projects.
In addition to helping companies turn around accurate proposals on bid projects, design reuse can also facilitate and streamline the quoting process between manufacturers and outside vendors. For example, with an integrated PDM system, purchasing can access models and drawings for quoting purposes without having to take time away from a designer or engineer.
4 - Reduce Data Duplication and SKUs
Design data is a manufacturer’s lifeblood. However, when data is mismanaged, disorganized, or unwieldy, it can become a burdensome drag on product development. In most organizations, a healthy percentage of engineering data is either lost or difficult to locate due to the misfiling of files and documents. This can lead to data duplication, an unnecessary growth in the number of stock keeping units (SKUs), and additional data storage costs.
It’s more cost-effective to reduce the number of parts in your database. In addition to making it easier for designers to locate and reuse existing components, reducing the number of SKUs or part numbers can reduce costs across the entire organization, because the addition of a single part can add many hours of work and additional costs downstream.
5 - Integrate Global Resources
For many manufacturers, product development has increasingly become a worldwide effort, with design and engineering resources spanning the globe. While many product development centers once operated independently—each designing and manufacturing products for their own specific markets—more and more companies are taking advantage of their overall design talent by encouraging collaboration on a global scale.
It’s much more efficient to leverage existing designs, whether they were created in the next office or on another continent. Although design modifications are often necessary to meet the customer needs and nuances of a particular market, the ability to reuse a design created elsewhere in the organization can save a substantial amount of time and money.
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Written by The Alignex Team
The Alignex Team of application engineers combined their depth of experience and industry knowledge to bring you the contents of this article.