Arena Blog

Is Your Product Record Lost in Translation?

Posted in Arena, PLM
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When you outsource assembly, the product of your engineering department isn’t really hardware—it’s raw information.

This raw information (BOMs, drawings, specifications, purchasing and sourcing information) is of critical importance to your suppliers, yet many OEMs lack visibility into how ambiguous their data can be when it’s received on the other end.

The idea of throwing product data over the wall is a major source of frustration for OEMs. While it can be a struggle to get the right information to the right person at the right time, its important that the people building your product receive the information they need.

Your CM: An ally in the fight against product record ambiguity

Fortunately, your contract manufacturer wants to minimize ambiguity too.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your CM partners dislike fighting over quality problems, excess and obsolete inventory, or the costs of a product recall or field service problem. And if the source of confusion is often due to incomplete, messy or outdated product data, this is something you can easily fix.

If you think you may be sharing less-than-perfect data with your suppliers, here is a list of four things you can do to ensure you are giving your supplier team the information they need to be successful.

Four things you must do to eliminate product record confusion!

1. Define:

  • What makes each part/revision acceptable
  • Which parts should be used (and when)
  • Assembly instructions for how parts go together physically

2. Control:

  • Who can edit your BOMs (and how)
  • How related BOM updates are grouped
  • Who reviews & approves BOM changes
  • How & when BOM changes become effective

3. Communicate:

  • Sufficient information to build the product
  • Only the necessary information
  • Each and every update to the BOM

4. Collaborate:

  • Sign-off for BOM changes (in advance)
  • Requests for improvements
  • Up-to-date status

And a bonus tip (that a lot of companies struggle with): Keep a historical BOM accurate and unambiguous. To do this, it’s helpful to adopt a system that allows you to manage change over time (like Arena BOMControl.)

Helping your suppliers is a win—win situation

Ambiguity can sometimes seem like an unavoidable part of the outsourcing relationship—especially when it comes to sharing your product record. But with the right processes in place, you can communicate with your CM partners with focus and purpose.

About the Author

Alex Gammelgard

Alex managed social media marketing and communications at Arena from 2011 to 2012. Although coming in fresh to the manufacturing industry, Alex is married to an engineer and is well ...

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