Secrets of the Best-in-Class

The “best-in-class.” That’s what Aberdeen Research calls small- to medium-sized companies (SMBs) that outperform their competition, ranking in the top 20% of SMB manufacturers. These are the companies that most often meet their targets for product launches, revenues, costs, development budgets, quality budgets, and lifecycle costs.

Aberdeen studies found best-in-class shortened development time and costs and responded faster to ECOs.

How do they do it? That’s what the Aberdeen team wanted to know. So in a series of studies, the analyst firm looked for common practices among top SMBs. Here’s what they found out:

The Best in Class Use 3D

Even today, a number of companies still rely on 2D design for creating and manufacturing products. But not the best in class. They design with 3D, developing virtual prototypes and following best practices that get high-quality products to market faster.

Aberdeen says that by employing 3D, best-in-class manufacturers can:

  1. Leverage previous projects by copying existing features into new designs.
  2. Embed drawing details into their 3D models.
  3. Synchronize design data as team members work on different parts in an assembly.

What’s the impact?  Aberdeen found that companies using 3D CAD and employing these strategies are more than twice as likely as their lower-performing competitors to hit the revenue, cost, launch date, and quality targets for their products. If you think that’s impressive, look what happens when you combine 3D CAD with 3D printing:

Best in Class Simulate as They Work

Best-in-class manufacturers get to market faster with simulation technology. This technology offers engineers the insight they need to make the quick—and correct—decisions that will optimize product designs while also balancing cost and quality.

Aberdeen recommends simulation early and often during product design and offers the following guidelines:

  1. Focus on validation, identifying problems, as well as optimization.

  2. Understand real-world behavior by conducting system-level simulations while evaluating multiple physical forces.

What’s the impact?  Aberdeen found that its best-in-class SMBs are 21% more likely to use simulation for informing trade-off decisions when determining optimal system architectures, 55% more likely to use simulation tools that look at product behavior at a system level, which offers better visibility into how the components will interact with each other, and 42% more likely to evaluate multiple physical forces simultaneously. Read more about simulation and the Aberdeen findings.

Best in Class Enlist PDM

The best in class also use product data management tools that can centralize product data and manage workflows.  Aberdeen zeroed in on two areas in particular where best-in-class SMBs capture competitive advantage with PDM: Managing BOM and reusing designs.

What’s the impact? Aberdeen found that best-in-class companies are 40% more likely than others to use product data management (PDM) tools. Plus, these companies are twice as likely to have a system of record for BOMs compared to other companies. And finally, top companies are over 45% more likely to copy features created in other models to new models. Read more about PDM and the Aberdeen findings.

Best in Class Plan for and Learn from Change

Finally, the most successful companies know to changes happen, and they plan and learn from them. That’s why they put the following in place:

  • Direct modeling technology. Integrated tools, like PTC Creo Flexible Modeling Extension (FMX), help teams directly change parametric feature-based models for late-stage design changes.

What’s the impact? Technologies like PDM and direct modeling support a more deliberate approach to change. That’s necessary, as Aberdeen says these companies are more than 70-81% likely than their competitors to formalize engineering changes, use supporting product data when creating change orders, formerly review and approve changes, and formally audit their change management processes. Read more about change and the Aberdeen findings.

To find out more about PTC solutions and how they can help you in your efforts to be one of the best in your industry, visit our webcast page and sign up for one of dozens of upcoming live demos and tech tips.