How to solve the color complexity puzzle in product engineering?

By Venkat Gonuguntla

Color BOM automation in Teamcenter

Product personalization is a key factor in enabling manufacturers to capture market share and expand in extremely competitive environments. Market demands are pushing these manufacturers to compress development time and go to market faster, as seen across industries from aerospace to automotive to consumer goods alike. Every manufacturer has undertaken some form of digital transformation initiatives and are refining their product development processes to achieve this goal.

Digital transformation begins with managing complexity

Digital transformation starts with a robust solution that can efficiently manage product complexity and eliminate manual processes. The way to achieve this is by managing product variability in terms of parts and bill of materials. Manufacturers are looking to leverage knowledge-driven system automation where possible to manage product and part variability and shift their focus to engineering better products.

Managing complexity in terms of color and appearance

While there are many avenues to implement automation to improve overall product development process, one area manufacturers can focus on is managing product and part complexity in terms of color and appearance variability. The problems that manufacturers face today with managing color and appearance complexity is duplication of parts, limited to no reuse, and scattered information. Information about the part’s color and appearance is often maintained in spreadsheets, leading to change management challenges. If the number of color variations offered is high, tracking and managing change processes can be a significant driver of increased costs.

Utilizing ‘generic’ and ‘less-finish’ parts

The PLM solutions in Teamcenter are best suited to help manufacturers avoid this by implementing efficient change management processes and enabling engineering to complete product development on a “generic part” representation (aka., less-finish or uncolored part) with all the necessary technical and functional specifications.

By leveraging Teamcenter’s product configuration and bill of materials automation capabilities, manufacturers can leverage knowledge-driven system automation to auto-generate buildable combinations based on marketing features and constraints. This eliminates the need to manually compute and create parts for each color and appearance combination, a process that is prone to error when product complexity is high.

Orchestrating automated, lifecycle-controlled color rules

With Color BOM automation, engineers along with configuration specialists can analyze system generated buildable combinations and make informed decisions based on expected market penetration and volumes. They can also associate the combinations as “color rules” to the generic parts and leverage system automation to manage color part explosion automatically. As all the artifacts are lifecycle controlled, changes in product direction, design or engineering can be easily tracked and orchestrated so every impacted color part variant is automatically kept up to date. This will help engineering teams to shift their focus on continuous product improvement and less on managing color part explosion manually in an offline spreadsheets or disconnected systems.

The potential of this system automation in Teamcenter also opens the doors for other stakeholders in the organization to leverage single source of truth with respect to product’s bill of materials to perform a solve for any buildable configuration and visualize an accurate parts list including color parts in real-time. Applying high-end visual rendering† materials to the resolved color parts can help analyze color combinations before it is ever produced as well as help with generating marketing collateral.

There’s much to look forward with bill of materials management capabilities of Teamcenter to help organizations efficiently manage a complete product bill of materials encompassing all aspects from mechanical to electrical and electronics to software, and color with unified change and configuration management and end-to-end traceability across the digital thread.

A brighter future with Teamcenter X

Teamcenter X not only empowers you to create a multi-domain BOM for your products but also accelerates product development, minimizes ownership costs, and enables efficient collaboration. With automated processes, scalability, and hassle-free software management and updates provided by Siemens, you can focus on innovation and product excellence while leaving the technicalities to the experts.

Teamcenter X = full functionality PLM + benefits of the cloud

✔ Gain fast PLM access for all stakeholders, anytime, anywhere

Reduce the cost of ownership with predictable operational expenses and minimal IT infrastructure

Accelerate product design by leveraging existing knowledge to support design re-use, manage change and speed cycle time

Streamline product development and manufacturing processes with internal and external stakeholders

✔ Create a multi-domain bill of materials (BOM) to visualize your entire product

Are you ready to step into the world of cloud-based PLM innovation?

Discover how Siemens Digital Industries Software is revolutionizing BOM management and empowering businesses of all sizes to thrive in the era of connected, complex products.

Experience the transformation firsthand by registering for this discover SaaS PLM webinar to see how cloud is reshaping the future of PLM. Learn more about Teamcenter X, and try our free 30-day trial.

No matter how you choose to deploy Teamcenter,
you get the same proven solutions designed to help you innovate faster.

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