Engineering time hourglass

Engineering time solved

Engineering time requires careful management. Workload comprises of both scheduled and unscheduled work. Unscheduled work often comes from the need to support sales and production. Also, Engineering must respond quickly to errors that arise which can affect sales and production. Most scheduled work is cyclic, and backlogs can frequently occur. Delayed scheduled work results in further problems in downstream processes and often dissatisfied customers. Sophisticated engineering resource planning systems are used to manage workflow. These plans change daily with new demands on engineering time. Checking procedures used to verify work add further time.

By working differently, much of the scheduled and unscheduled work is eliminated. Without sales and production demands, engineers can manage product design more efficiently with fewer errors.

 

Problems:

Sales and production often require engineering support to fulfil enquiries and customer orders. Reactive engineering can be challenging to manage due to the high number of tasks and continuous changes to the programme. It is challenging to balance scheduled work and urgent work which takes immediate priority.

Design engineers are often employed to provide incremental product changes. This mainly administrative work has little added value. This iterative design work adds delays to both the sales and production processes. Furthermore, this work adds cost to the product and exposes the company to opportunities for error. Errors can happen whenever people are involved in processing or transferring information. Furthermore, checking the information adds further delays and cost.

 

Solution:

Ideally, product design is completed in advance of sales and production requirements. Also, product families should use efficiently designed modular, reusable components. A standard reference library should be used to catalogue all product components. Engineers must ensure that the standards are complete, accurate and contain all the data required by stakeholders. Depending upon product complexity, it is very likely that the product should be created using the standardisation principles.

After establishing a standard product library, sales can reference configurable standard products. Products must be supported by excellent documentation,  costs, and robust product rules. These standards allow sales to prepare customer quotations with minimal support from engineering. Customers receive good quality information quickly. After receipt of a customer order, standard product information passes directly to production, reducing delivery time. Sales and production processes no longer need to wait for Engineering.

 

Advantages from different perspectives

  • Shorter delivery times and remove engineering and checking delays
  • Fewer bottlenecks requiring management attention
  • Increased customer satisfaction as customers receives products faster with fewer errors.
  • Better more reliable information
  • Eliminate engineering cost
  • Shorter delivery times and remove engineering and checking delays
  • Less risk, fewer processes and transfers of information
  • Fewer bottlenecks requiring management attention
  • Increased customer satisfaction as customers receives products faster with fewer errors.
  • Improved productivity as more work is possible
  • Increased profitability with the reduction of cost and risk, while improving  productivity
  • More reliable cost information
  • Eliminate engineering cost
  • Better cash-flow as delivery times shorter
  • Less risk, fewer processes and transfers of information
  • Fewer bottlenecks requiring management attention
  • Improved productivity as more work is possible
  • Increased profitability with the reduction of cost and risk while improving  productivity
  • Increased customer satisfaction as customers receives products faster with fewer errors.
  • Shorter delivery times and remove engineering and checking delays
  • Eliminate engineering cost
  • More opportunities to be more competitive with lower costs
  • Increased profitability with the reduction of cost and risk, while improving  productivity
  • Less risk, fewer processes and transfers of information
  • Fewer bottlenecks requiring management attention
  • Increased customer satisfaction as customers receives products faster with fewer errors.
  • Better planning and management of engineering time
  • Shorter delivery times and remove engineering and checking delays
  • Increased productivity as more work is possible
  • Less risk, fewer processes and transfers of information
  • Fewer bottlenecks requiring management attention

 

Further help and assistance

Gatehouse Design are specialists in product standardisation, product configuration and design automation. We can help companies develop highly effective product strategies, maximising profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction. We can help you manage and reduce engineering time and improve the efficiency of your business. Please contact us to discuss any product design related issues that you may have.

There is an offer a free product audit to help identify opportunities for product standardisation, product configuration and design automation. Additionally, Gatehouse Design has published many helpful white papers and articles which are available on this website.

 

The author

Written by Peter Slee-Smith 14/05/2018.

Peter Slee-Smith founded Gatehouse Design in 2012, a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with more than 30 years experience in industrial design. Peter qualified with a Masters Degree and had held senior positions in many leading engineering and product manufacturing companies. He is passionate about product design efficiency and has written many articles on the subject. Based in Littleport just outside Ely in Cambridgeshire, Gatehouse Design specialises in product standardisation, configuration and design automation.

 

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