In my previous Introduction blog, I listed 10 DOs and DONTs in MBD implementation from three key aspects:
- People: organizational structure and mindset.
- Process: methodology, procedures, and tools.
- Product: product design and manufacturing.
People always comes first. Without people, nothing else would be possible, so this post will dive into the first recommendation from People’s perspective: Drive from Top Down.
Unlike an individual technology innovation, a successful MBD implementation must obtain the support from management team and rollout from top down, not bottom up. 3D Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) and corresponding documents will impact many downstream departments and procedures, such as process planning, project management, tooling, fabrication, machining, assembly, inspection, purchasing, supply chain and so on. Such a broad range of changes demands efforts from much more than one lonely worrier or department. It needs top level sponsorship and layout.
With management support, resources, budget, time, and equipment necessary for a successful rollout are easier to secure. Moreover, the inter-departmental coordination and trouble-shooting will be much more effective and efficient. For example, in 2012, the engineering VP of GE Power and Water clearly defined in his 2013 performance metrics that 100 gas turbine parts must be designed and manufactured with an MBD approach. Similarly his successor required 125 MBD parts in 2014 performance metrics (Source: Model Based Enterprise at GE Power and Water, Prashant Kulkarni, 2014). This kind of top-level commitment drove the behavior of all the involved engineering and manufacturing departments and ensured solid and timely progress.
Otherwise, a bottom-up push would be extremely frustrating, because MBD is about process which has to experiment and flourish among wide spectrum of collaboration, similar to the shift from manual pencil-ruler drawings to CAD. Without a top-down mandate, all of the involved key stakeholders wouldn’t have the willingness, time, or bandwidth to even listen to MBD concepts, let alone the changes to their daily jobs. “Who are you to tell me to stop using 2D drawing in my incoming inspection? Who will take responsibility should anything go wrong with the changes you suggest?” These are the kind of questions that implementation team often gets. Management support is an important part of a strong answer.
Finally I’d like to quote Daniel Herzberg’s tweet at SOLIDWORKS 2016 Launch Event to conclude this section:“I don’t think there’s a single #solidworks user out there who thinks MBD is a bad idea. It’s management you need to focus on. #SW16”
The upcoming blogs will focus on how to obtain management buy-in, how to handle objections, and how to motivate others regarding People aspect. Please stay tuned. To learn more about SOLIDWORKS MBD, please visit its product page. Also welcome to discuss with me at Twitter (@OboeWu) or LinkedIn (OboeWu).