In todays’ world, it is imperative for manufacturers to stay on the cutting edge of innovation – to engineer for choice – and to get products to market quickly. One challenge is that product complexity leads to more parts, which are hard to find and seldomly governed. This results in duplicate parts frequently being introduced. This hurdle can slow progress (and increase costs) across sourcing, manufacturing, quality, sales, and service.
By governing the new part creation process, manufacturers not only benefit from significant cost savings, but realize efficiencies and productivity gains through greater reuse and an overall reduction in part count. Through parts classification it becomes easier to manufacture and bring higher quality products to market faster.
Executing on a parts classification project can save manufacturers millions of dollars and pay many other significant dividends. Parts reuse can help reduce inventory complexity, identify supply chain synergies, and minimize unnecessary aftermarket inventory costs. Seen as an enterprise win, engineering teams can use this project as a steppingstone to further evangelize the value of PLM within their organization.
Reduce product costs
Improve lead time
PTC’s PLM platform, Windchill, ensures parts are classified to align with important attributes such as supplier status and materials used. For example, is the supplier identified as "approved to use and preferred," "approved to use but not preferred," or "do not use?" And were the materials used in creating the part made in support of sustainability initiatives? Windchill connects this information across the part lifecycle; as engineers select parts, procurement establishes new part value, and supply chain strategizes to avoid part and material shortages.
Within the design phase, teams can classify parts by creating a hierarchical taxonomy, making it easy to break parts down by categories including hardware, software, electrical, sourced components, and more. With this taxonomy in place, engineers and design teams can then leverage self-service search functionality on any of the parameters to find an exact or similar part. As parts are classified, the addition of high-quality, accurate data in the form of metadata describing the parts attributes also delivers value downstream.
With supplier management (SUMA), the enterprise understands which parts can be sourced from which supplier as a product is being defined. Windchill makes it possible to list and track vendors and manufacturers and their parts.
Here are PTC’s 5 best practices for getting started with parts classification:
1. Establish a parts governance strategy to avoid duplicate parts being created
2. Assign a new role of Global Module Owner to be responsible for creation of strategic parts
3. Establish a parts classification taxonomy, including supporting attributes, that focuses on commodity parts
4. Align taxonomy with important attributes for purchasing and the supply chain (i.e. materials used, availability of materials, supplier classification)
5. Expand parts classification taxonomy to include engineered parts (both internal and outsourced)
Configurable classification schemes: Establish naming and structure conventions to meet your business needs
Automatic part/document naming: Part names are system-generated based on the classification and attribute values
New part/document classification: Ensure adoption of company policy
Classification search and find similar objects: Localized classification text and measurements can switch between standards – improve search accuracy for all regions
Import/export and mass update: Update large amounts of data without sacrificing quality or accuracy
Supplier data management: Automate the flow of supplier reference data associated to a part or product from a single source of truth
Engineering bill of material specifications: Create alignment with suppliers from the BOM to source and qualify a part and notify supplier of part changes. Jointly manage quality control plan, material compliance, and material DFM analysis
Sustainability: Assign part attributes to assist engineers in selecting parts that ensure sustainability standards are met
Read this guide to understand the inherent value in parts classification with a framework for calculating the cost benefits.
Give stakeholders throughout your organization quick and easy access to product data. Windchill, PTC’s product lifecycle management solution, helps break down organizational silos leading to:
Windchill offers organizations the performance and scale they need to manage large data sets and with subscription pricing, you only pay for what you need. Plus, with easy integration to the ThingWorx IoT platform, data from smart, connected products in the field can be leveraged for a digital twin.
Ready to learn more about what Windchill can do for you? Submit the form and we’ll be in touch!
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