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Making plans for digital transformation for Industry 4.0? Enterprise Configuration Management is the thread for success…

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Article provided by Aras, last updated on January 3, 2018

Most organizations struggle with the ability to manage information accurately for the enterprise or throughout the product/solution lifecycle. How to maintain the Digital Thread from the baseline to the planning bill, then from the planning bill to the order bill, and finally from the order bill to the actual as-built record is a major challenge. Knowing which requirements, at which revision level, to use at any point in time is another. This failure creates a high level of intervention resource expenditure and an inability to track fielded configurations. This drives significant warranty, recall, and concession costs that can have devastating impacts on the business.

Digital Thread

Digital Thread

The Digital Thread & Twin

To tap the power of the Digital Thread and to facilitate a true Digital Twin, all facets of the organization and all lifecycle phases are reliant upon the Enterprise Configuration Management (ECM) process. Activities driven through the Digital Thread impact the Digital Twin with a constant barrage of changes making the ability to manage the Digital Twin that much more complex. How an organization identifies, structures, links and assigns ownership to its requirements and internal processes directly affect its ability to successfully and efficiently perform the intended mission or achieve its business objectives.

If this activity is ignored or done incorrectly, an organization pays severe penalties in the form of intervention resource expenditure. Those expenditures are the unplanned time, money, and resources expended to compensate for quality and schedule problems. When quality and schedule problems dominate the energy an organization expends on a daily basis, corrective action becomes the standard “way of working”. Changing that environment requires an understanding of how current processes relate to best practices and the culture change that is needed to make the transition.

Requirements management is the foundation for the Digital Thread

A structured and effective methodology for documenting, validating, releasing, and changing requirements is paramount. Requirements management is the foundation for the Digital Thread. Organizations struggle with the ability to define and maintain the digital architecture needed to support Software, Hardware, Systems, Facilities and Infrastructure throughout the entire lifecycle. The inability to effectively manage the Digital Thread creates a high level of corrective action in every phase of the lifecycle. Configuration management is the major backbone of requirements management and requirements management is a major building block in the creation and management of the Digital Thread. Understanding that relationship is imperative when defining the future mode of operating.

Configuration Management facilitates a Digital Thread

CM2 establishes the roadmap that facilitates an organization’s ability to create a world-class enterprise Digital Thread. This is achieved through the application of a set of proven principles and techniques. When properly applied, this improved business model enhances the development, structuring, and managing of requirements throughout the enterprise. Organizations continually struggle to define a fast and efficient change management process. Many organizations have changed or replaced their change process multiple times without understanding the dynamics of change or the building blocks needed to facilitate change management. Struggles with item re-identification decisions and the required level of visibility of changes directly impact the ability to develop and maintain the Digital Twin. The management of change includes understanding it’s impact throughout the entire organization and the total product/solution lifecycle.

Enterprise Configuration Management

The inability of an organization to successfully manage the digital thread ties directly back to their inability to effectively manage change. Most organizations have subject matter experts (SMEs) identified for each key discipline, but rarely do organizations have a SME focused on the management of change. It is imperative that your organization address the importance of Enterprise Configuration Management and introduce the roles, responsibilities and workflows required for a world-class organization to efficiently manage change. Thereby ensuring that the digital thread remains intact throughout the entire lifecycle of the product/solution, and that your digital twin is accurate. Once the power and efficiency of the CM2 closed-loop and fast-track change methodology are implemented, an organization’s view and perspective of their change management process will shift from it being a “necessary evil” to it being a true competitive advantage.

“The foundational element of the 4th industrial revolution is a proper CM network leading to people, processes, data, and products that are integrated within a functional Internet of Things.”

Organizations continue to be disappointed with the results of efforts to implement improvements to legacy PDM, PLM, and/or ERP systems. Even when opportunities for specific improvements are identified, they struggle with the ability to achieve successful implementation. These improvement projects are oftentimes reduced in scope and still experience cost overruns and missed schedules.

The negative experiences described above are also realized when an organization launches a process reengineering project. These common failures are not the problem…they are simply symptoms of an underlying bigger issue. The number of organizations that have achieved integrated process excellence is smaller than it should be. This is because most organizations continue to use configuration management (CM) in a limited role, only applying it to design information. Those organizations process a high volume of deviations and waivers; use redlines and assume firefighting is normal business practice.

Achieving Integrated Process Excellence (IPE)

In order to achieve Integrated Process Excellence an organization must break the many paradigms generally associated with configuration management’s limited role. The phased transition from that limited approach to CM2 is a major culture change that must be carefully planned and managed. The foundation of that new culture is the ability to change faster and document better. The application of that ability is extended beyond design information to include all requirements for the enterprise, and the enterprise deliverables throughout all of the lifecycle phases. Keeping all of those requirements clear, concise, and valid at all times is the goal…a very achievable goal.

“IPE is achieved when all core business processes are fully integrated and automated and resources being spent on intervention to rescue quality and schedule are approaching zero.”

  1. What happens if your organization doesn’t take the time to address inefficient and possibly broken legacy processes?
  2. What happens if your organization doesn’t configure its respective Internet of Things (IoT) correctly?

The answers to the questions are simple…sunk cost!

Take the first step with Configuration Management Training

Javelin is now the official Canadian partner of the Institute of Configuration Management providing training, certification and services in Configuration Management to help companies achieve integrated process excellence. The CM2 Enterprise Configuration Management training will provide you and your team with best practices, roles, workflows and templates for out-of-the-box usage in any project.

Configuration Management Training Class

Configuration Management Training Class

Benefits of learning and using Configuration Management include:

  • Profit Increase thru Cost Avoidance. By reducing corrective action, unnecessary costs will be avoided leading to increased profit.
  • More room for creativity thru less rework. Most organizations spend more than 50% of resources on fixing problems. If corrective action declines creativity will increase.
  • Reduced lead time for changes. Lead time for changes will be reduced dramatically by using the unique “fast-track” capability of the Closed-Loop CM2 Configuration Management change process. More changes can be implemented in the same period than before.
  • Competitive advantage thru shorter development cycles. Products will be released into the market earlier by using CM2 Configuration Management principles in product development — with better quality and less failure than today.

Learn about CM Training

Joseph Anderson

Joe has over 20 years of experience in the automotive, defense, marine, and aerospace sectors. He holds executive-level authority for implementing transformational service solutions to integrate the ICM global services organization, introduce enterprise agile methodologies, and shift paradigms to focus on customers and solution providers. His organization will establish a global vision to align our company strategy and goals, while meeting customer needs. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and is CMII certified at the CMIIP level.

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Javelin provides PLM Services to companies that need to manage product development, multi-site manufacturing, operations and quality compliance.

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