The Processes

The Processes affected by PDM

The Mega Processes of any Manufacturer:
Four Mega Processes are defined. They all use PDM in one way or the other. Some of the processes contribute to the collection of information and knowledge and some just use it. The four Mega Processes are: 

  •     Product Development
  •     Sales to Order
  •     Order to Delivery
  •     Delivery to Re-purchase 

The processes should not be confused with the organization units, Product Engineering or Product Development, Marketing, Manufacturing and After Market. It is rather rare that the organization of a company is according to the processes they have. The organizations are more often based on tradition and the skills of the managers and prestige etc. 

In order to be more specific and give you an example I have defined the Product Development Process as think it should be. I doubt if there are many companies that will agree entirely and I believe there will not be any companies that have organized accordingly. This is of course open to discussions depending on local "culture". 

A definition of the Product Development Process

New Products: 
Building of virtual and real Prototypes. These may be Parts, Assemblies, Systems or complete Products. Testing of these including simulations and structural analyzes. 
Development of the Manufacturing Process including the definition of the necessary manual and mechanized Operations (Routing), the design of necessary Tools and development of NC programs etc. and the Specification and Documentation of these. 
Virtual and real testing (validation) of the Manufacturing Process including Pre-series. 
Development of

  •     Drivers Manual
  •     Repair Methods and the documentation of these in Workshop and Service Manuals
  •     Spare Parts Catalogue
  •     PR Material 

Initial Marketing efforts: making the new Product known to the world.

The Product Development Process ends when the first serial material is shipped from the vendors or when the first Product in serial production starts down the line.

Engineering Changes on existing Products:

Building of virtual and real Prototypes (these may be Parts, Assemblies, Systems or complete Products) or changes to existing Prototypes and the testing of these including simulations and structural analyzes.

Changes to the Manufacturing Process including the changed definition of the necessary manual and mechanized Operations, changes to Tools and NC programs etc. and the changes in the Specification and Documentation of these. 
Implementation of the Engineering Changes in Manufacturing. 
Virtual and real testing (validation) of the Manufacturing Process. 

Changes to 

  • Drivers Manual 
  • Repair Methods and the documentation these in Workshop and Service Manuals and Service Bulletins if necessary 
  • Spare Parts Catalogue 

The Product Development Process ends when the first changed material is shipped from the vendors or when the first changed Product starts down the line. 
 
The Product Development Process may include the following organizations: 

  • Product Engineering 
  • Manufacturing Engineering 
  • Manufacturing Tool Development 
  • Pre-Purchase Department 
  • Customer Support: Part Planning and Parts Catalogue Development 
  • Marketing/Sales: All efforts related to the introduction of the new Product including relevant information in the Product Configurator. 

Any other activity that is necessary to be able to start sales of the new product on any market.

In 1966/1967 I did a study of the Volvo Product Development Process as it was at the time for Volvo Trucks primarily. The result was documented as a PERT network diagram drawn on a regular elongated A0  drawing format. I have now scanned the document to a pdf-file.
The study was very interesting and rewarding for me. I had frequent use for what i learnt then!

The other Mega-Processes have close interfaces to the Product Development Process.

Concurrent Engineering

In order to shorten the over all time and costs from the start of a product development project until the first product stars down the manufacturing line, it has become imperative to deploy Concurrent Engineering in some form. The more you invest in the early phases of the project, the more you save in the later, more costly phases – within reason of course.

Se more about this under Parts and PPPP.

      

Definition of a Generic Process.

Typically a Process starts with an Event and ends with an Event. 
A Process may be purely manual, entirely mechanized through a computerized Workflow or something in between. 
Processes should always be well defined and described with what starts it and when and how it ends, roles involved, responsibilities, sequences etc. 
A Process should always result in: 

  • improved information or 
  • more information (abstract results) or 
  • a Product or part of a Product (physical result) 

The Generic Process Axioms.

Sometimes the events happening along the Process are recorded in order to improve or monitor the Process. 
In the Product Development Process it is necessary to add Knowledge and Experience. In a Workflow this may to a certain extent be part of the Process Control Information: The knowledge and experience has been embedded in the application.

Some axioms related to Processes and the Information in these: 

  • The same Information may be created in one or several Processes. 
  • No Information will be created without any kind of Process. 
  • Processes that do not create or improve Information (or products) are unnecessary. 
  • Any Information, which is not accessible to those who need it, should be regarded as "Non-existent". 
  • The structure of a database should be determined by the information handled in the Process or vice versa if an Object Model is defined. 

The Process and the database should together determine the applications needed by the Process. 
Product Development as done within the traditional Product Development Organization including Engineering Changes to and/or partly new Design, Modeling, Drafting, Technical Calculations, Testing etc. and the Specification and Documentation of data that defines and describes the Product.