In my last post, we talked about the proven benefits and opportunities associated with Model- Based Definition (MBD) along with the cost of inaction (not taking advantage of this fast-growing trend). Please refer to the posts, “Don’t hesitate (Part 1 and Part 2) in Table 1 for more details. Now when the rubber hits the road, a practical piece of advice is “Don’t take too big a bite at first.”
There have been plenty of painful lessons learned from being too ambitious in initial implementations. Paul Huang, MBE Program Leader at U.S. Army Research Laboratory, shared his experience. In 2009, Army River depot started an MBD project, but “took too big of a bite”: the Bradley Cross Drive Transmission with over 2000 parts in Figure 1 (Source: Paul Huang, Reuse of Model Based Definition Data to Increase Army Efficiency and Reduce Lifecycle Costs, 2010). Paul reflected: “That wasn’t a very good idea because it’s a very complicated process. They (the team members) are basically doing it once and then forget it. There is not a lot of repetition… We did make it work, but there were a lot of growing pains.”
Furthermore, according to several other manufacturers, upfront complicated MBD projects bring too many tough challenges at once, which can easily frustrate and even discourage participants. The lack of repetition not only hinders knowledge accumulation, but also underutilizes the software and hardware invested.
Figure 1: Bradley Cross Drive Transmission
Instead, Dr. Prashant Kulkarni summarized a three-step rollout strategy at GE Power and Water in Figure 2: Crawl, Walk and Run to reduce risk (Source: Model Based Enterprise at GE Power and Water, Prashant Kulkarni, 2014).
Similar to GE’s strategy, Paul Huang also suggested: “Get people familiar with the tools. Do repetitive work on small projects and then tackle big projects to make it more efficient.”
Figure 2: GE Power and Water 3-Step Rollout Strategy
That’s it for now about “Don’t take too big a bite at first” from two angles: Lessons learned at U.S. Army and good practices at GE. Next post will share a bit more ideas to motivate all involved in an MBD implementation. To learn more about SOLIDWORKS MBD, please visit its product page. Also welcome to discuss with me at Twitter (@OboeWu) or LinkedIn (OboeWu).