The Parts Classification and Reuse Opportunity

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.

Benefits of parts classification and reuse

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

  • Reduce the costs of duplicate parts across design, manufacturing, and aftermarket product phases
  • Optimize costs by utilizing preferred suppliers
  • Reduce material spend and increase margins

Improve lead time

  • Reduce the manual work of creating, sourcing, and supporting a new part within the NPI process
  • Ensure a strategic reserve of parts to prevent future disruption and inventory shortages

Increase efficiency

  • Improve re-usability of existing parts and part assemblies
  • Decrease time spent searching for the exact part or a preferred supplier
  • Empower manufacturing to better prepare appropriate tooling and verification
  • Drive faster customer service by enabling easier identification of accurate replacement parts

PTC’s Parts Reuse E-Book

Start improving parts classification through parts reuse

This E-Book reveals the secrets of how Parts Classification can be a game-changer in simplifying product complexities. Learn how proactive parts governance through classification not only prevents poor part reuse, scrap, and inventory overstock, but also dramatically reduces costs and minimizes delays.

Implementing parts classification early in the process with Windchill

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)

Key parts classification product features in Windchill:

  • 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

Customer stories

Learn how these companies have adopted an effective parts classification strategy.

How HP Tamed Product Complexity with Parts Classification and Governance

Learn how HP’s parts classification strategy has reduced product complexity, decreased development costs, and improved time to market.

Watch the webcast

Seagate’s Story of Productivity, Quality, and Scale

Learn how Seagate is reducing duplicate parts, improving data integrity, and enabling supply chain collaboration .

Watch the webcast

iRobot’s Part-Centric Approach to Product Development

Learn how iRobot uses Windchill to tackle component shortages, introduce new variants, and drive efficient product development.

Hear Their Story

Talk to an expert

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:

  • Improved time-to-market
  • Decreased costs
  • Improved product quality
  • More time for innovating

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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