We advocate starting your MBE journey with an MBD Kickoff. Ryan Gelotte explains the purpose of this workshop and the whys behind the success stories.
What do teams learn in our MBD Kickoff workshops?
It started with making sure people understand it’s not just about getting rid of the drawing, it’s actually more about reusing the model. Then they need to understand:
- What tools they might need, including software and infrastructure.
- What are they going to need on the shop floor?
- What are their suppliers going to need? Not everybody uses the same CAD system, so we’re going to have to have some interoperability, data exchange, strategy.
- What is the roadmap for each part of the organization and the supply chain?
Often, the MBD momentum comes out of Engineering. What do they learn in a kickoff?
Well, they’ve got a very focused viewpoint on what it means for them. Going into the kickoff, they don’t know what it does to manufacturing, what it does to quality, and what it does to supply chain. Any company that’s done this has learned the hard way that if product definition is just going to shove model-based definition down everybody’s throats – without educating them, without everybody getting consensus, and without everybody planning their next three to five years together – then every single time their model-based efforts are going to fail.
They may create some really awesome tools. They may create the best 3D PDF data package in the world. But if they haven’t addressed…
- the culture,
- and operations,
- and quality,
- and the supply chain,
- as well as the competency and the digital tools that are necessary,
- and the language of tolerance
…then those shiny objects that they’re creating are going to just be half-million-dollar paperweights, or something pretty they can put on their wall and show off, but it doesn’t actually do anything.
How does the kickoff solve this problem?
These workshops are crucial for everybody with a vested interest and dependency on product definition data to participate in, so that they’re all going in the same direction. If a company feels that that’s all they need from us, they can go off and try it on their own. But they’re going to encounter a lot of the obstacles and cultural challenges that we’ve seen dozens of times. The workshops get the team together, and they can then use us to help get through those growing pains much more expeditiously as well as eliminating a lot of the churn.
The Proof-of-Concept is a key component in the kickoff workshop. Why does Proof-of-Concept matter?
We could get up there and do that workshop with a generic widget, with the Action Engineering Creo pump assembly or the GeoTol corner bracket. But this company doesn’t make that pump, and they don’t make those corner brackets, so it’s much better to deliver the workshop with their own design that has been converted into a standard MBD proof-of-concept. Now they can discuss something real, something that they work on every day, something they make and inspect, or something that they have a supplier that makes for them. Now we can have conversations with some context that they can relate to.
What about the pain points exercise?
The pain points exercise should be very enlightening to our customers, and we’ve received the feedback that it is, because the age-old adage is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, the bottom line is it’s all about perception.
There are a lot of people that are getting their jobs done. They don’t really think that it’s broken. They don’t think that there’s a need. The pain points exercise brings things out that may not be a pain point for you, but it may be a pain point for somebody else, because of the way you did something and designed it into a 2D drawing. It also makes people aware that there is some ambiguity here. That ambiguity is a problem. And it has actually has been costing them a lot of money for the last 10 years, but they just accepted it as the status quo. They never really looked at it as a pain point. It’s just standard business operations.
The key deliverable from a kickoff is the roadmap. What’s the benefit of the roadmap?
They have a clearer picture of the scope of what they’re about to embark on. This isn’t a one-year project where you’re going to get one person from IT and one person from engineering to check the boxes off. There is actually a lot of work to be done in every organization within the enterprise. The roadmap means they are more prepared to make the investments they need or to sell this to their management.
One of the myths we dispel at kickoffs is the idea that this is a technology change, not a culture change.
People walk away from a kickoff seeing that it isn’t just technology, that they have to invest in people too. I’ve seen it a lot. People want to implement MBD just by buying the latest and greatest 3D PDF publishing software, and the latest CAD software, and some CT scanning software that could reuse the model. That CT scanning software is good for one process: first article inspection. What about the other 90 processes that are going on in operations that also rely on a drawing?
You can’t just implement something because it does such a great job at making your first article inspection process more efficient and less costly. That’s one process of many. In the kickoff, we can start to make people aware of what they’re going to see once we get into the weeds.
I look at these workshops as a way to start planning for all four parts of the MBD culture change: people, processes, standards, and tools. Often companies aren’t looking at all four of them, they’re only looking at the tools, or maybe the processes and the tools, but not the standards and the people. You really have to look at all four. And that, I think, is what I like most about the kickoffs.