Even a sheet of paper is lighter when two people lift it.

—Korean Proverb

There's a saying in the military that all plans are brilliant until the bullets fly. Similarly, when developing a process for manufacturing, there's how it should work versus reality.

For many years, procedures developed by experts were static, never changing. Unfortunately, there have been situations where a process didn't work, making the production staff discover ways of working around it.

This inefficient process worked for a while. However, the world doesn't result in a standstill. Changes in the complexity of components, government regulations muddying the water, and increasing expectations in quality forced manufacturers to reassess how they do things.

Expanding competitive markets are forcing manufacturing companies to examine the way they conduct business. Specifically, improving the decision-making process and product development, while also reviewing new work philosophies, such as collaborative engineering.

Collaborative Engineering

As markets become crowded with supply chains, transportation needs, and tighter deadlines, manufacturers have little time to produce.

Tighter lead times require an internal evaluation of a company's systems. Better collaboration between engineering, process, and product planning, and manufacturing is necessary to manage growing product and variant complexity.

Using correct collaborative methods, companies now have the opportunity of optimizing their overall production.

Benefits of Collaborative Engineering

Now we know what collaborative engineering is and why companies needed incorporating it into their production schedule. But how does it help?

With as many facets involved between teams, any perceived value may fall through the cracks. A cloud software company, Upchain, shares nine benefits of using collaborative engineering that may not be obvious.

  • Identify New Market Opportunities
  • Better Error Correction
  • Oil Existing Processes
  • Time-to-Market Delivery
  • Coordinate with Geographically Disparate Offices
  • Reduce File Confusion
  • Leverage Networking Effects
  • Better Business Insights
  • Engage Your Staff

Identify New Market Opportunities

The cost of exploring fresh markets is high and with considerable risk. Effective collaboration helps identify and explore new business opportunities.

Better Error Correction

By bringing together people from unfamiliar areas of a company, troubleshooting and problem-solving become easier. They eliminate wastes of time because the right people are already taking part.

Oil Existing Processes

Each complicated process results in hidden costs. As teams change a component, corresponding updates in other aspects of the paper trail need are necessary. Updating those reports takes time away from more critical tasks.

Having an integrated staff collaborating, however, presents the opportunity of automating those tasks. The team then concentrates on the task at hand without interruption.

Time-to-Market Delivery

It accelerates delivery to market in four ways:

  • Increased efficiency from automated tasks
  • Solving problems holistically a way that works for everyone, reducing the back-and-forth communications from different teams
  • Faster communication, which reduces the average time at each production stage.
  • Centralized feedback

Conference calls with collaborative engineeringCoordinate with Geographically Disparate Offices

Companies with remote locations find communication easier using the collaborative process. Utilizing the benefit of remote access, all essential documents are available to each team member.

Reduce File Confusion

fixing file confusion with collaborative engineeringBy building a collaborative environment, businesses create transparent systems for file versions. Users from all over the world can see:

  • What version is the latest version?
  • What has changed from the previous version?
  • Who changed it?
  • Who approved it?

The result is less confusion and reduced risk of sending the wrong file to the floor.

Leverage Networking Effects

Network effects are when the more people using a network, the more valuable the system becomes. For manufacturers, network effects mean that the collective contributions to a project more valuable than any single team.

Better Business Insights

When making collaboration with business stakeholders, organizations can achieve a better market fit and leverage deep business insights to drive better products and a better bottom line.

Engage Your Staff

By making cross-team communication more accessible, you empower staff to work on high-value, creative tasks like solving design problems or working with business units to dream up new products.

The team remains engaged, happy, and, most of all, around for the long-haul, building experience and becoming more valuable to the organization.

In Sum

Collaborative engineering has long been hyped for solving critical and complex challenges in manufacturing. For some companies, making such complex changes is a hard concept to grasp. Unfortunately, Flat Earthers also have tough times changing because we've always done it this way.

Plans, however, tend to change, especially in today's dynamic market. Market complexity and increased competition force companies to perform an objective review of their processes. 

Companies with the fortitude needed change to a system of collaborative engineering and allow it to operate the way it is designed.

Change for change's sake does not follow logic. Adaptation to change, however, increases the odds of continued success.