Chronicles of the MBD Journey: A Tale of 4 Companies

Jennifer Herron, CEO of Action Engineering, attended 3DEXPERIENCE® World (formerly SOLIDWORKS World) held February 9-12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. She participated in the MBD User Group session, a panel discussion spotlighting the expanding MBD/MBE implementation success stories across many sectors of manufacturing. Following are excerpts from Jennifer’s presentation: The Chronicles of The MBD Journey, A Tale of 4 Companies. We’ll include a sampling of quotes and questions from the 70-plus industry professionals who participated in this conversation.

First: What is MBD?
Model-Based Definition (MBD): An annotated model and its associated data elements that define the product in a manner that can be used effectively without a drawing graphic sheet. [ASME Y14.47-2019]

The Conceptual Definition: MBD can be the Whole Tree.

Then let’s look at the 4 elements of MBD.

There’s no question: the journey is complex and each member of your team likely has a different idea of what Model-Based Definition may look like in your company.

Aerospace & Defense Perspective 
10 plus years ago, we saw innovators inventing new ways to leverage 3D data. Companies like Boeing heavily supported the very first ASME digital standard Y14.41, Digital Product Definition. 
5-10 years ago, we saw other early adopters jumping on board and helping to shape and mold the future of 3D digital data interoperability. We also saw the DOD coming to the table by way of the Army and Air Force running pilot programs from certain program offices. ASME Y14.41 also saw an update. 

In the past 5 years, we’ve seen an even larger ground swell of those starting the Model-Based Enterprise journey. There are pockets of successful practice everywhere. To keep up with this industry growth, we see new 3D interoperability standards emerging, and established ones are evolving. 

Today, SAE, AIAA, ASME, ISO, DMSC (QIF), and the U.S. Department of Defense (MIL-STD) have released standards that surround the 3D model data. 

Real Stories. 
Let’s take a look at the MBD implementation journeys of 4 companies and what was learned by each in the process.

Let’s start with Company A .

What can we learn from Company A? 

Early on, this company wasted a lot of time “dabbling” in MBD. If you’re a lone wolf trying to do MBD in your spare time, you’re never going to be able to roll that out to all of the people who need to consume it.  

Later, this company had too many cooks in the kitchen. The core team were getting input from all sides, creating confusion and indecision. The remedy for this was adopting Agile development for MBD processes.  

Next we’ll look at Company B.
Note: Company B is a supplier to Company A. 

What can we learn from Company B? 
Company A came to Company B with clear guidelines and goals. 
They had already built the same part using 2D methods, so this gave both Company A and B data points to compareGet a very special person to lead the efforts. Servant leaders make a huge difference for MBD. 

What did they accomplish? 
They accomplished a “first release” of MBD at their company. And they now have hands-on experience to learn from. Because they didn’t tackle too much, they were able to quickly find value, win new business, and can now continuously improve their processes. 

Now let’s look at Company C.  
They are also a supplier to Company A, but not involved in the initial pilot phases. They are hoping to entice their customers to give them MBD work.

What can we learn from Company C? 
There are so many benefits to be gained with MBD, and this company wanted to provide ALL the benefits to ALL the model consumers at once. Our recommendation for them was to step back, choose their most important improvements, and check them off the list one-by-one. Really tightening up their goals and providing some quick wins also gave them the material they needed to reassure their leadership and get the support they needed to continue the journey.  

Finally, here is Company D.

What can we learn from Company D? 
MBD was a buzzword to them. They didn’t know what they were looking for, and it turned out that they were making it way more complicated than it needed to be for their requirements. They would have been much happier if they’d had a clear idea of what they needed to accomplish.  

A lot of companies we work with feel like their company is utterly unique, and no one has ever seen their problems before. This one was the opposite– they didn’t understand why we couldn’t just wave the MBD wand and make it all happen for them. The truth of the matter is in that balance– understanding that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but realizing that your company’s current state, culture, and goals all inform your MBD journey.  

Why should you embrace MBD?
In our work with 20-some companies in MBD, we’ve established some key messages which sell not only to the executives, but also to the downstream consumers. 

Which of these would be compel you to champion an MBD implementation initiative at your company? 

Bringing it all together.
Prepare to witness both the roadblocks and enablers once you embark on your MBD implementation journey. Engaging and collaborating with an experienced implementation team will ensure your success.

3 Key Takeaways for MBD Implementation.

Engineering and process improvements aren’t free. Ever. If MBD is something you’re interested in, you are going to need support from your organization.  

Remember Company D? This is the commercial company with very little understanding of the overall MBD benefits, they just thought it was about implementing the tool. They went in thinking they knew what they wanted to get out of MBD, and then wasted everyone’s time. Having goals links back to commitment. Goals keep leadership support intact for MBD, and it’s how you will measure your success. We recommend following the Agile Mindset and the Scrum Framework.

While you always want to keep your long-term goals in sight, a little MBD is better than no MBD! By starting small, you can start reaping the benefits of MBD quickly, demonstrate success, and adjust your course along the way. We find Agile Scrum an essential tool to chunking up the work and keeping stakeholders engaged with successes and challenges. Typical waterfall planning leaves the outcomes to the end, and they rarely hit the target. When we use an Agile Mindset, we course correct to the target as we go.

Action Engineering turns talk into Action because we do things differently.
Through straightforward coaching, we lead you into the manufacturing future. We just happen not to use drawings. For over 10 years, Action Engineering has been completely focused on researching, experimenting, and developing business practices to re-use 3D data throughout an entire enterprise. The team has codified enterprise accountability methods that leverage 3D CAD data in order to maximize CAD collaboration and interoperability.

For more information on getting started with MBD, work with our experts:
Jennifer Herron, CEO
Ryan Gelotte, CTO
Michelle Nordwald, COO 

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