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Configuration Management has long been the Achilles heel of ERP implementations. The emergence of global enterprise resource man­agement concepts makes it even more imperative to guarantee that de­signers and manufacturing planning folk are singing off the same song sheet. Competitiveness in the new millennium demands that we no longer tolerate CAD/CAM, Product Data Management (PDM), Com­ponent Sourcing Management (CSM), and ERP each having its own version or iteration of the bill of material data.

This paper will examine the ongoing enterprise challenge, using the single bill of material concept/process to make a quantum leap for­ward in the way the engineering design community communicates with its prime customer: manufacturing. Manufacturing, using design in­formation provided by engineering, is charged with the task of taking design information and making product that meets customer expecta­tions, can be manufactured effectively, and can be delivered on time at a fair price. We will suggest that the twin silos of engi­neering and manufacturing must be thrown down in order to achieve true competitiveness in the 21st cen­tury.

Our approach will be to map the configuration man­agement process and define the scope of the available software tools and the need for complete integration between all elements of the enterprisewide process and systems. In addition, we will revisit the principles of concurrent engineering and provide a road map for com­panies to begin their journey of introducing the "single bill of material" process.



Phase 1, the "as-quoted," represents what sales, mar­keting, engineering and/or program management have put together as the basis for quoting features, functions, price, and delivery of new or upgraded products. The old way of doing this was more often than not sketches and notes compiled quickly and documented, if at all, in rather disorganized paper files.

Phase 2, the "as-designed," represents what has come out of the CAD/CAM/CAE tool kits and normally is in engineering files in formats quite different from what will eventually be used by manufacturing.

Phase 3, the "as-planned," represents what the manufacturing resource planning folk do, hopefully in conjunction with manufacturing engineers, to convert the "as-designed" into formats that are acceptable in their systems. In most cases in the past, the product structures needed for the manufacturing planning and execution pro­cess had to be created, because the engineers were not chartered to ensure that their engineering parts lists reflected the way the products had to be manufactured.

Phase 4, the "as-built," represents what was actually made. All the changes that the manufacturing community had to make to actually build the product are hopefully captured in the manufacturing bill of material system—along with all the changes that came down from en­gineering after the initial release. Trying to keep the "as-designed" per Phase 2 in sync with the "as-planned" of Phase 3 and the "as-built" of Phase 4 has been a frustrating, costly, time consuming, and often-im­possible task.

Phase 5, the "as-shipped," represents what actually went out the door. This phase is often entirely overlooked by both the engineering and manufacturing communities. Phase 5 represents making sure that all the "pack-up data," that is, instruction manuals, warranty cards, test and inspection reports, and other documentation required by the cus­tomer are in place and reflect the "as-built" condition of the product(s).

Phase 6, the "as-maintained," represents the ongoing configura­tion of shipped products as they are serviced, maintained, upgraded, refurbished, or remanufactured. Historically, all the activities and data associated with this field maintenance process has been carried out totally independently of all the other "as-something" phases.

Figure 1 illustrates these six phases in the pre-enterprise bill of material environment From this illustration, it is easy to see that the six separate silos or islands of information present a formidable task as one tries to keep all of them in sync with one another.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 12

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