“The single biggest problem with communication is the allusion it has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw
One could assume that a Fortune 500 company like Cummins Inc. would have a successful requirements management process, however, that isn't always the case. According to Global Systems Engineering Solutions Architect, Teejay Momoh, the corporation had a lot of requirements management “activities” and no enterprise-wide strategy when he came onboard in 2011.
Founded in 1919 in Columbus, Indiana, Cummins is now a global power leader in 190 countries and territories. With $19.2 billion revenue in 2014, Cummins designs, manufactures, sells, and services diesel and alternative fuel engines and electrical generator sets, as well as related components and technology.
Siloed Requirements Management Efforts
The organization, of course, could not have achieved such success in its nearly 100-year history without figuring out a way to manage product requirements. However, activities around requirements management were siloed efforts. Teejay uncovered that some departments would use color coded documents while others stored requirements information in Microsoft Word documents. With various formats, tools, terms, and ways to communicate and collaborate, employees were struggling to find the requirements information that they needed.
For example: with each new generation of a product came updated requirements. If any employee was looking at the product information in a Microsoft Word document, how would they know if the requirements were for the latest generation of the product or for an earlier iteration?
The introduction of IoT-enabled technologies such as connected engine diagnostics and updates complicated the problem. Cummins needed a way to monitor emergent behavior in products but wasn’t able to do so. With broken traceability throughout the product lifecycle (“How does a requirement at the component level affect the customer’s needs?”) and the inability to learn from previous generations of a product, Cummins was ready to change their strategy.
Selecting a Requirements Management Solution
Cummins already had some idea on what they were looking for in a requirements management solution. They had considered implementing an enterprise-wide solution years before and had learned a lot of lessons through the process.
The solution that they chose needed to be simple and intuitive so that all stakeholders would be able to easily use it for their needs. While there would be a standard tool and processes for everyone in the organization, there needed to be enough flexibility to meet the individual needs of different groups. The solution needed to push out notifications when there were updated versions available on requirements and, conversely, users needed to be able to access historical reports to see how requirements evolved through product generations. Finally, and most critically, the solution needed to be secure and have stringent access control to information. To meet these solution requirements, Cummins turned to Windchill RV&S .
Implementing Windchill RV&S
Since implementing Windchill RV&S, siloes between teams have crumbled and the information flow from engineering to manufacturing is much smoother. All key requirements process deliverables are now supported while system requirements are being captured and managed. Cummins has been able to put together a solution to manage interfaces, as well, which has been praised as one of the most robust interface agreement solutions from external requirements experts.
As Cummins has made the shift to a platform structure, Windchill RV&S has been able to support platform requirements management – critical to ensuring efficiency and improving reuse. Finally, using Windchill RV&S, Cummins is populating a global requirements library of all information that can be reused and adapted over time. With about 4,000 trained users worldwide, all programs now use the solution as both their requirements management and verification management tool.
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