Part 4 – Digital Manufacturing Delivers in a Changing Landscape

By Tim Egloff

Measure to Continuously Improve

Part 4 of this blog series… delayed.  In case you missed it, we recently launched Tecnomatix 10 and I just returned from a trip to South America.  That’s the day-job getting in the way of the social media job.  Such is life.

In this, our final examination of innovative digital manufacturing strategies in a changing landscape (there are many more but I only had 25 minutes), we look at the importance of product AND process quality.  There have been several studies done which have tried to identify the top business strategies for long-term profitability and growth; hands-down, product quality rises to the top.  And yet today, many manufacturers still struggle to meet their quality objectives to just remain competitive. 

In an Aberdeen survey of over 500 manufacturers from 2010, results showed the total cost of quality to be between 18 and 28 percent of product revenue.  (Check my blog: Big Numbers for Quality, if you want to learn more).  I’ll bet it’s even higher in many cases as capturing total quality cost is not an easy task.

The title of this blog in and of itself isn’t so interesting or innovative; common sense says that you need to measure quality.  It’s the “what we do with measurements” that is innovative.  Our quality solutions are built on the understanding that quality is a lifecycle process.  From dimensional analysis in design to optimizing inspection strategies in planning and capturing results from production, quality touches all aspects of bringing product to market.  Yet many of the manufacturers we talk to struggle to achieve the promise of this business strategy due to disconnected systems, lack of visibility and the increasing costs of synchronizing design intent with production results.  Enter: Lifecycle Quality. 

This unique approach improves proactive quality processes while delivering a more efficient means of solving those quality issues that are sure to arise regardless of preparation.  Taking this strategy further, lifecycle quality closes the loop between production results and continuous improvement.Quality begins in design where interrogation of critical to quality features and tolerances are analyzed showing the amount and significant contributors to dimensional variation.  With this information we can improve design, assure our inspection strategies are focused on the right things and reduce tooling and labor costs in production; a powerful beginning to your product quality strategy. 

Then a closed loop capability, unique to Siemens PLM Software, brings as-built measurement data back into full association with the lifecycle data model.  This streamlines root cause analysis and makes collaboration on quality related issues very easy even with those who may not be so familiar with quality information.  This measure to continuously improve strategy assures that your quality investments deliver improvements program after program.  As an added benefit, you are now able to make quality decisions based on objective information improving design, planning and ultimately production quality.

If you’d like to learn more about lifecycle quality, see our Tecnomatix 10 landing page for more information.

There’s one final post for the series where I’ll share a new paper from CIMdata: “Enabling Lean for more Flexible Manufacturing”.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at