A guest post by one of my esteemed colleague in the Product Management team, Jim Dehmlow.
Jim will give you a brief overview of classification, which is a fundamental piece of your PLM implementation to promote re-use and minimize time & resources wasted to “re-invent the wheel.”
Did you know the ability to classify objects and then later easily find and re-use this content has been part of our PLM solution for a long time (almost 20 years)? Although the name has changed over the years (remember In-Class?), what we know today as Teamcenter Classification is really one of the fundamental building blocks for 100’s of companies leveraging their intellectual property to more effectively run their business.
So why is this so important? The logic goes like this: Most new product offerings include numerous design elements used in earlier products. Typically, these re-usable elements can constitute up to 85% of new design content … so, inefficient design re-use has a huge impact on quality, cost & time-to-market. And all that time spent “reinventing the wheel” (so to speak), is not available for innovation which is a critical success factor in competitive markets.
So when you reflect on classification schemes, do you only think about re-using parts? Getting your parts better organized is certainly a sweet spot for this PLM capability, but Teamcenter Classification has always taken a very generic approach to the content that can be classified. Basically, any workspace object in Teamcenter can be handled, which means parts, documents, specifications, materials, product data, simulation data and even process templates & best practices can be classified. In fact, one of the original drivers for this technology was focused on tooling and the ability to find and re-use all of the components that go together to build up manufacturing tool assemblies where the list of potential components numbers in the hundreds of thousands (and each has a rich set of descriptive attributes).
So how do you tailor this generic offering so it really meets the needs of your particular business processes? Remember that Teamcenter does not ship an out-of-the-box classification hierarchy with our releases. You can design (through a rich administrative user interface) or import classification schemes (bulk load via XML formats which are potentially based on an external standard) to align with your specific business requirements. This includes not only defining the various classes in the hierarchy, but also laying out all of the attributes that capture information when objects are classified, controlling access, setting up views for particular users/groups/roles and managing the behavior of the ecosystem (e.g. multiple units, locales and sites).
Also, don’t forget there are different integrations available! Partners deliver applications built on top of Teamcenter Classification (e.g. BCT aClass), the Siemens PLM manufacturing team has developed a Resource Browser and a Resource Manager application to help with re-use when dealing with tooling, machining and fixtures, and we also have mechanical CAD interoperability. For example, the NX Reuse Library allows designers to search for classified objects and then drag and drop them into the current design without ever leaving the NX environment. It’s also possible to classify components directly from NX and save this information in Teamcenter.
In addition, you may have noticed that the ability to search based on classification attributes is already exposed in Active Workspace.
You’ll be glad to know the classification team is already hard at work on next generation enhancements to make things even better while preserving your existing investment in classification.