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An effective change management process strategy is a key element of product development process management and PLM process execution. I’d like to take a closer look at product change management as an enabler to part reuse.
Effective change management processes are a critical component to part reuse. Part reuse has become prevalent across OEMs and suppliers as PLM and PDM systems have gained wide acceptability and penetration. In the past, engineers were often designing new parts as the information on existing parts was not readily available and searchable. PLM systems, with their rich classification capabilities, have ensured that the relevant information is easily retrievable to the engineering and allied community thereby promoting Part reuse. Part reuse has helped OEMs contain costs by freeing up engineers to do more productive work, by reducing time to market, and by lowering the cost of inventory. Part reuse has also helped to increase quality and reduced the risk associated with designing new parts.
While part reuse has reduced the number of parts that the OEM has to manage, it has posed specific challenges to your change management processes. For one thing, there are more requests coming in for changes to the parts and therefore the execution of change management processes has become more complex. The interdependencies between the changes have become more pronounced and very often different departments or vehicle programs might be making changes to the same or related content at the same time.
This brings in a need to be able to sequence the execution of the change due to multiple reasons.
- A change notice executing the release of a long lead item needs to process early so that the purchasing department has enough time to be able to find a supplier who can provide good quality at a competitive price.
- A change might be dependent on another change; for example, a change executing the release of a battery tray can be released only after the change executing the release of the battery is completed. The execution can start in parallel but the battery tray cannot be validated unless the battery has been finalized.
- Multiple change notices may need to be released together (concurrently). In this case, a consolidated package of multiple change notices needs to get into the product together.
- The same resources might be working on multiple changes and hence there can be the need to sequence those changes based on priorities, organizational capacity, and schedules.
- Very often, a change (emergency or otherwise) on a part might conflict with an in-process change on the same part. The ability to sequence the change would establish order and prevent overriding of the contents by the different change notices. The last change can subsume the prior change using change incorporation
We are in process of developing some exciting functionality for change management processes to be able to manage the sequencing and order of change in Teamcenter. What challenges does your organization faces when managing and sequencing changes?