Gearing Up for MBD

I typically start my work day sitting on my butt, coffee in hand, reading emails, writing emails, determining where the cultural barriers lie to adopting Model-Based Definition. My thoughts today are on the family dynamic. Since we all know that your company is like a family (dysfunctional or highly functioning), consider how MBD (CAD model + 3D annotations) might be like your family.

Try this analogy on for size:

In our family, I’m Procurement (Mom) in the CAD family scenario (read “Finding Your CAD Groove”). After a long work week, today is Saturday, a day to ski. The last Saturday of our ski season, in fact.

The Manager (Dad) has been out of the house bright and early ever since getting new skis for Christmas, banging up the bumps on his own. It seems he’s always out in front of us, and since he sometimes bugs us with his go-go-go agenda, we let him tire himself out first. Engineering (Son) and I are a little slower to get going. You see, Engineering is only 12 years old. The biological need to sleep late is kicking in. Not a problem, as I’m still enjoying my coffee. (We’re paralleling the CAD world quite well here, don’t you think?)

Finally, we’re both ready to go. We ride the lift up, where we meet up with the Manager. Then we start down my first run of the day. It’s a black diamond, equivalent to a 10- to 15-sheet drawing set.

Oh my gosh, I do have strength in my legs! Never mind it’s our last day of the ski season. Give me a break, Procurement is operating with antiquated systems – my skis are 3 years old, ancient by shredder mentality. Engineering’s synapses are firing from his brain to his legs much faster than mine. Off he goes.

It’s cold but sunny. The 3D data (snowy terrain) is pretty good today. Procurement is feeling disoriented and tired, with laggard legs and heavy breathing. It’s been a long season. Is 10:00 am too early for a hot toddy?

My second run is down the most notoriously long black bump run on the mountain. Ugh! Really?! Lunch and hot toddies are just down the way. My ROI! I can almost taste them from here.

Engineering & 3D Printing Tackle the 3D Data Under the Watchful Eye of the Manager

Okay, here we go. These bumps are no joke. I’m breathing hard and concentrating. On this run, the Manager (that’s Dad, remember) is further back with Engineering (Son) and his friend, 3D Printing, who just showed up. This will be a distraction, thinks the Manager. The Manager tries hard not to lose his patience; he works to keep them focused. Their spry but inexperienced legs and lack of focus are no match for these bumps. Procurement is off and banging through the bumps, while Engineering and 3D Printing babble to each other on the hill. Distraction indeed.*

Engineering and 3D Printing are clearly distracted from the ROI now. Their goals (socializing) are clearly different than mine (hot toddy). The Manager wants to keep going. Every minute counts on this final day of the ski season. He’ll eat trail mix on the lift so he can keep pushing on.

Procurement makes it to the end of the run before the others. She heads into the lodge and orders a drink. Engineering and 3D Printing lag behind. They’re a lot of talk and not much action. The Manager skis on by himself. There are thousands of vertical feet to be had before the others are ready to venture back into the 3D data.

To say we’re independent souls would be an understatement.

What can help this situation?

  1. Align all technology: Everyone gets brand new skis appropriate for their size and ability level. Don’t let your team’s lagging behind with MBD be due to technology. That’s the easiest of the barriers to overcome. Then you can focus on the other barriers common to achieving your desired Model-Based Enterprise: PLM workflows with MBD considerations, change management strategies for using 3D models, and aligning all stakeholders so they use a 3D single source database.
  1. Define and execute the same way: Everyone goes down the slope, no chitter chatter. Standards, people! Align your company’s standards with ASME Y14 or MIL-STD-31000A.
  1. Management drives the movement: The Manager needs to keep the goals and focus intact for everyone (everyone should do 10 runs before lunch). The investment in your MBE journey needs buy-in from all levels, though especially key from management.

* We don’t mean to pick on 3D Printing. We love 3D Printing! But she gets all the love and glory without a real appreciation for the prep work involved. In reality, 3D Printing serves as a great motivator to keep pushing on to see the fruits of our MBD efforts.

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