Improving Engineering Productivity Using Lean Principles
Unless an engineer is directly involved in the manufacturing of their products, they may only be slightly familiar with “lean” principles.
At the heart of lean principles are these core concepts:
- To view work as a process
- To identify and maximize value of your product for the customer
- To improve the process by minimizing/eliminating waste
Lean has its roots in the manufacturing world and was created by Toyota to improve their manufacturing process. Essentially, lean is centered on reducing everything that isn’t adding value.
Finally, companies across all industries are realizing that lean can be applied to any business or production process, including engineering.
Lean Engineering is the process of improving the efficiency of engineering departments within manufacturing companies by increasing the amount of valuable engineering “data” produced per dollar invested.
Could your company benefit from Lean Engineering? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are there any repetitive steps that could be eliminated, such as retyping data from CAD into an ERP?
- Are departments ever left waiting for someone else to finish entering information?
- Are your drawings identical to work order documentation or are there often errors?
- How much time are high value employees spending on low level clerical tasks?
Once the need for eliminating waste is clear, the next step is implementing Lean Engineering solutions. One of the easiest solutions to justify and implement from a business standpoint is through the addition of automation software.
Many manufacturers rely on Infor’s CloudSuite Industrial ERP system to keep their business running efficiently and eliminate waste. Another step further towards a lean engineering environment is automating your product development process by integrating your AutoCAD system with your Infor’s CloudSuite Industrial ERP system.
By combining Infor CloudSuite Industrial with CADLink and SOLIDWORKS, you’ll be able to ensure a vastly higher degree of accuracy between your design process and manufacturing operations.
For example, an engineer typically spends an hour per day working on BOM which is then repeated in the ERP system. While this data is critical, it also qualifies as a non value task because it is a repetitive, duplicated task.
Using automation software like QBuild’s CADLink, you can free up your engineering staff to do more engineering and reduce your engineering costs. This is accomplished because CADLink serves as a bridge between SOLIDWORKS and CloudSuite Industrial. Companies can pass data between CAD and ERP to handle engineering changes in both systems at one time. CADLink takes SOLIDWORKS BOM data directly from the on screen drawing and pushes it directly to your ERP through an ERP CAD interface as well as a BOM import feature.
Time saving features of CADLink include:
- Part numbers are automatically transferred into SyteLine BOM from SOLIDWORKS
- Auto checking of parts: Part data is picked up from CAD and then matched up in the ERP to see what part numbers already exist, what are new and where discrepancies between existing parts are. Any errors or discrepancies are visually noted and easily adjusted to ensure they match long before inventory is ordered
- 100% fidelity between SOLIDWORKS and CloudSuite Industrial. CADLink features bidirectional data to ensure both systems have the same data at all times
As a result of reducing the amount of time spent inputting data across multiple platforms, your engineers can invest more time on projects and designs. Most of all, you’ll be able to shrink engineering costs dramatically—most CADLink customers achieve payback within six months.
QBuild Software is first and foremost an engineering company. Our CAD-ERP integration software was built by engineers for engineers. As a result, we pride ourselves that our software comes equipped with the features engineers need the most. The majority of implementations can be done in less than a month and CADLink training takes less than an hour.