If you look at today’s manufactured products vs. those from 10 years ago, you’ll see the level of complexity has increased significantly. And the more complex a product is, the more parts it has. Identifying the exact part needed for an assembly can be very time-consuming – if not impossible, especially when there are many variants of a similar part (e.g. screws with the same thread size, but different length or coating). The confusion of what part to use not only impedes the design process, but it also slows down the process of assembling and testing products so manufacturing and service engineers can’t work efficiently. Managing parts without a classification strategy can lead to poor part reuse, increased scrap and rework, and high inventory.
The challenges of managing thousands, or tens of thousands, of parts is daunting enough. The idea of classifying them all can be downright scary. But with the right parts classification solution, organizations can take control of their parts.
Reducing duplicate parts to maximize reuse can save manufacturers millions of dollars per year. By classifying parts and maintaining associativity across the product lifecycle, engineers can more easily find what they need, when they need it. An effective parts classification strategy enables cost-savings, manufacturing efficiency, and supply chain agility.
As the foundation of the digital thread, a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution provides the governance and traceability needed for effective parts management. PLM enables manufacturers to classify parts by appending additional information to the part’s description, making it easier to break parts down by category. These categories could include hardware, electrical, sourced components, and more.
With access to this type of information, engineers can easily find existing parts that meet their design needs, which eliminates the need to create new parts. This information provides value to the engineering team designing the product, along with those teams that need the data downstream. This enables the supply chain to better communicate around available parts. At the same time, the manufacturing group can prepare appropriate tooling and verification while the service department can plan for field service needs.
Windchill, PTC’s enterprise PLM software, is made for seamless parts classification that maximizes reuse. Configurable classification schemes allow you to establish a standard structure for naming and describing parts in a way that makes the most sense for the business. Once configured, Windchill automatically assigns names to parts and documents based on their classification. For new parts and documents, Windchill ensures their classification complies with company policy.
Once parts and documents are classified, Windchill enables localized text and measurements for highly specific search functionality across multiple business regions. You can also use the software to assign part attributes that are specific to sustainability standards. And in case large amounts of data need to be updated, manufacturers can use Windchill to apply mass updates—while maintaining quality and accuracy.
With Windchill PLM, you can avoid parts duplication, optimize parts classification, and realize critical cost-savings and efficiencies across the enterprise. See the process in action in an exclusive Windchill demo.
Claire is a Content Marketing Manager on PTC's Commercial Marketing team. She creates content in support of PTC products and solutions.