August 2004

Manufacturing Program Intelligence
By: Bill Davis
Cyntergy Technology, developers of Thumbprint CPM

 

Efficiency and Effectiveness Across Product Development and Production

As manufacturers manage numerous product research, design, development and order fulfillment projects each year, managing the wealth of information those projects generate becomes increasingly important. Most of that “knowledge capture” is stored in the mind of a project engineer or on a long-outdated spreadsheet.

Common questions from product engineers and management include, “How do we know what the priorities are across all product orders and how can we achieve program-level efficiency?” “What have we learned in on prior projects that could be applied to our new project to increase effectiveness and reduce our product development cycle?”

Since program managers are bombarded with countless details on multiple projects, it is nearly impossible to raise visibility of product design and delivery schedules as well as view their own task priorities on a given day. All too frequently schedules are reacted to, rather than proactively managed. Rarely do team members collaborating on projects have time to share vital cost-saving information with their peers managing other similar projects.

How quickly and effectively information is captured, retained, and applied across projects in your program are key business indicators of your company’s Manufacturing Program Intelligence (MPI). A company with a high MPI would be one that automatically captures product and process knowledge into a dynamic learning knowledgebase, or smart database. This learning knowledgebase is the heart of Thumbprint CPM collaborative program management software.

Product and Process Knowledge in Action

Let’s look at a common scenario where Thumbprint CPM could capture, share, retain, and apply project and process knowledge to increase your company’s manufacturing program intelligence.

Your company operates 10 basic product lines across a global customer base. Each of these product lines may have numerous variations on their engineering and development. In addition to custom-order fulfillment with tight deadlines, there are also longer-term development projects reaching for critical windows of opportunity in the marketplace. Thumbprint CPM’s unique approach to program management ensures the most efficient process alignment for all variations of all product lines, while fostering flexibility to make process changes on the fly.

Let’s suppose a product engineer encounters a particular safety requirement for a project fielded internationally. He alerts the development program manager and they decide on the process they’ll take to fulfill the customer’s need.

In the past, each time a product engineer encountered this same requirement the same dialogue and process would be repeated with the program manager. However, because several of the international projects will encounter similar requirements in the future, the program manager simply enters the new condition under which the safety issue applies with the relevant documentation into Thumbprint CPM. The learning knowledgebase now understands what is necessary to fulfill the safety issue proactively (project knowledge). The learning knowledgebase also understands the conditions under which it will automatically “push” this information to each field product engineer when it becomes relevant to their own projects (process knowledge).

Thus, knowledge captured on one project can be appropriately applied to both concurrent and future projects, reducing time and cost. This product and process knowledge is immediately available across teams and product lines through Thumbprint CPM via the Internet. In the future, if conditions for the safety requirement change, the learning knowledgebase can be modified on-the-fly instantly. Essentially, Thumbprint CPM becomes increasingly smarter as it is used to manage products and processes.

By implementing a system that elevates your Manufacturing Program Intelligence (project and process knowledge) companies can realize faster time to market and higher customer quality, as well as enhanced communication and organizational efficiency.

Bill Davis is the president of Cyntergy Technology, www.thumbprintcpm.com, Tulsa, Okla., and has over 20 years of experience in advancing state-of-the-art technology. He can be reached at wsdavis@thumbprintcpm.com. To learn more about Thumbprint CPM, visit www.thumbprintcpm.com