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COCREATE’S ENGINEERING SOLUTION: THE FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION

COCREATE’S ENGINEERING SOLUTION: THE FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION

All information and opinions presented in this paper are the authors. Design News online did no editing or confirmation of the information provided.

Executive Summary

Product development strategies are focusing increasingly on innovation. The most spectacular examples of innovation involve revolutionary new products like the Sony Walkman, which create market leadership for the companies that launch them. More typically, continual innovation on existing product concepts maintains market leadership in the face of competition, while also improving quality and reducing time-to-market.

As a software solution that encourages people to work together to develop superior products more quickly, CoCreate's Engineering Solution provides the foundation for innovation. CoCreate has worked with over 15,000 companies worldwide to improve their product development processes.

Companies that want to be innovative in product development face three main challenges:

They need to incorporate new ideas and feedback.

  • They need to engage the people with the right expertise.

  • They need to proactively manage interdependencies.

Many companies have difficulty incorporating new ideas and feedback into the product development process. However, CoCreate's unique Dynamic Modeling technology makes it easy to explore design alternatives, make major changes, and take account of early and late feedback. As a result, companies such as Traub and RKS Design are able to incorporate feedback into their product designs at all stages. Innovative processes are combined with innovative products. For example, RKS Design estimates that time-to-market for its customer-oriented products is 30 to 40 per cent faster with CoCreate's solutions than with traditional approaches.

Many companies cannot engage the best external suppliers to work on their development projects because subcontractors and partners are unable to deliver their design data in a format that permits modification and further development using the company's internal systems. Furthermore, the most experienced designers within the company have to work on existing product designs, because only they have the necessary detailed knowledge of the modeling steps used and the underlying constraints. With CoCreate's Engineering Solution, companies such as HP are able to work effectively with external suppliers. CoCreate's Dynamic Modeling Open Extensions (DMOX) is unique in the industry because it enables imported models to be modified in exactly the same way as native models. As a result, external partners can be chosen on the basis of their expertise, not on the basis of which CAD system they use. Dynamic Modeling ensures that the most experienced designers are free to do the most creative work, because all designers can easily reuse existing designs. Furthermore, as companies such as Molex have discovered, CoCreate's engineering data management (EDM) solution ensures easy sharing of product-related information to the right people throughout the enterprise. Effective engagement of internal and external expertise makes a major contribution to the development of superior, innovative products.

Companies often have difficulty managing the many interdependencies that occur within the product development process. They lack the tools to ensure that changes to data are reflected in all other related data and documents (information interdependence), or that changes to one process or activity are fully integrated with all related processes (process interdependence). CoCreate's Engineering Solution overcomes this challenge. Companies such as Festo and Norand Mobile Systems use CoCreate's EDM solution to manage and control the entire engineering change order (ECO) process, while Ericsson Diax keeps track of all interdependent information related to ISO 9001 certification using the same solution. CoCreate's EDM solution provides a natural growth path for managing interdependencies, starting with the data vault and progressing through bill of materials (BOM) handling and then, if required, to a fully fledged PDM solution incorporating ECO automation, process management and workflow. This growth path protects companies' investment in innovation, and is offered by few competitive solutions. Furthermore, the tight integration of EDM and CAD functionality is a unique feature of CoCreate's Engineering Solution. It results in easy, automatic access to interdependent information, allowing engineers to spend more of their time and energy focusing on innovation. Supported by superior integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, it also helps to overcome the traditional boundaries between engineering, manufacturing and administration, encouraging innovation throughout the entire organization.

The different routes to successful innovation all depend on people working in teams. CoCreate's solutions are designed for team-based distributed product development. However, innovation can be enhanced still further if people from different disciplines can work together with partners and customers in real time, irrespective of geographical distance and boundaries. CoCreate provides the only comprehensive environment to support this kind of collaborative distributed product development. Its latest set of products, known as OneSpace, has been widely acclaimed by industry analysts and commentators. OneSpace provides a clear growth path for extending CoCreate's Engineering Solution to encourage more effective, innovative collaboration.

Innovation - The Key Driver for Success

Product development strategies are changing. In the past, the primary goal of the strategy adopted by most companies was to lower costs. More recently, the focus has shifted towards cutting time-to-market. Now, in the view of industry analysts such as GartnerGroup, innovation is joining time-to-market as the main priority. Companies are increasingly aware that they need to bring the right product to market at the right time and with the right investment. The right product is not just a product of the best possible quality; to be successful in the market, it needs more. It needs to be innovative.

Innovation is therefore a key driver for companies looking for market leadership today and tomorrow. Innovative products can redefine the expectations of existing markets or even create completely new markets. Innovative processes can lead to breakthroughs in cutting costs and time-to-market. Without the capacity to innovate, companies are unlikely to remain competitive into the new millennium.

In order to develop superior, innovative products, companies are looking for technologies that leverage the sum total of their intellectual property into the product development process. As a software solution that encourages people to work together in order to develop such products more quickly, CoCreate's Engineering Solution provides your company with the foundation for innovation.

"Organizational survival demands innovation . . ." (Peter Drucker, author of "Innovation and Entrepreneurship")

Innovation in Action

The most familiar examples of innovation involve companies that create a new market with a revolutionary product. Sony, for example, defined a completely new market in 1981 with its portable cassette player, the Sony Walkman. However, significant breakthroughs like this are rare and unpredictable.

Companies such as Sony, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Chrysler share another, more subtle form of innovation: continual innovation. By continually innovating, these companies have maintained a leadership position in the face of formidable competition. Sony, for example, has continually innovated on the Walkman concept. It was the first company to offer compact and water-resistant portable cassette players, and the first to offer models with recording capability, built-in tuner and digital audiotape (DAT). Similarly, in the relatively mature inkjet printer market, HP is creating new opportunities for itself by introducing mass-market photographic-quality imaging and printing that is capable of replacing conventional photo-processing technologies. Chrysler developed the first mini-van to have a sliding door behind the driver's seat as well as the passenger seat.

Continual innovation also improves quality and reduces time-to-market. In the latter half of the 1980s, HP redefined the cost structure of the inkjet printer market with its HP DeskJet line. These printers were not revolutionary products in themselves, but HP set new cost standards. HP continues to be an aggressive cost leader through continual innovation that reduces the number of components and the cost of materials. With product life cycles lasting six months or even less, the leader must continually innovative if it is not to be over-taken by its competitors.

Chrysler's driver-side sliding door came just in time. With this innovation, it set a new stand-ard. The product development cycle of its main competitor's next model was too far advanced for the new door to be included, so the com-pany had to wait for a complete revision. In the meantime, other companies were locked out of a market worth an estimated $2 billion a year as a result of Chrysler's innovation.

Significant breakthrough innovation creates market leadership. Continual innovation is necessary to maintain market leadership.

CoCreate Helps Companies to Innovate

CoCreate has worked together with over 15,000 companies worldwide to improve their product development processes. Through achieving these improvements, the companies in question have been able to innovate in order to redefine existing markets or address new ones.

Putzmeister uses CoCreate's solutions to overcome new challenges and enter new markets through innovation. The German-based company currently holds the No. 1 position in the world market for concrete pumps, and also holds the world record for high-rise conveying of concrete. CoCreate's solutions have helped Putzmeister to make innovative use of new technologies in developing concrete pumps and other products such as the world's largest mobile robot, SKYWASH, which is used to clean and polish aircraft. Ideas and change requests from several engineering disciplines and other areas of expertise can be incorporated into the 3D model using CoCreate's Dynamic Modeling techniques. It is much more difficult to incorporate this kind of input using competitive CAD solutions.

MCCS, a group company of Panasonic, uses CoCreate's solutions to develop the products that have helped it gain a reputation as one of Japan's most innovative facsimile manufacturers. The company has won Japan's "Facsimile Manufacturer of the Year" award four times since 1991. When designing its innovative Panafax A1CL plain-paper fax machine and copier with cordless hand-scanner, Panasonic was able to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in overall development time, even though it had never used CoCreate's solutions before.

"Several designers were able to share the same view of a part, which made it possible to rapidly review and correct interference between parts," says Minuro Maraon, head of Panasonic's IS department. Unlike competitive solutions, CoCreate's Engineering Solution supports faster development by allowing design changes that were not anticipated at the beginning of the project.

Introducing Innovation - The Main Challenges

Companies who want to be innovative in product development face three main challenges:

They need to incorporate new ideas and feedback into the product development process.

  • They need to engage the people with the right expertise, whether these people work for the company or for its partners and suppliers.

  • They need to proactively manage interdependencies within the information and processes involved in product development.

Incorporating New Ideas and Feedback

Many companies have difficulty incorporating new ideas and feedback into the product development process while also cutting time-to-market. Yet innovation depends critically on being able to do this. New technologies that suddenly appear on the market, for example, can make all the difference between a run-of-the-mill product and a new market leader. Feedback from sales people or customers who have been shown an early prototype can lead to an innovative, superior product. In order to bring the right product to market at the right time, it is important to be able to incorporate feedback right from the very earliest stage in a design.

Traub uses CoCreate's solutions to incorporate feedback in its product designs from an early stage. In the late 1980s, Traub combined the core functions of turning, drilling and boring in a single turning machine. This innovation carried the company to a leading position in the European turning-machine market, with a current share of 30 per cent. A key factor in Traub's success has been the involvement of multiple disciplines from the very start of the product development process, with the ability to incorporate feed-back at an early stage. CoCreate's Engineering Solution, with its Dynamic Modeling technology, allows design alternatives to be explored and explained in a third of the time needed with Traub's previous solution. As a result, time-to-market is improved because the needs of manufacturing, servicing and assembly are all taken into account from the outset.

RKS Design estimates that time-to-market for its products is 30 to 40 per cent faster with CoCreate's solutions than with traditional approaches. RKS Design developed a Sega-compatible video game controller that addressed the issue of carpal tunnel syndrome. This visually attractive product became the top-selling controller within two months of its launch onto the US market. RKS Design's innovative development projects, which span a wide variety of customers and industry areas, benefit greatly from the use of CoCreate's solutions. Thanks to Dynamic Modeling, design models can be changed easily at any time to incorporate new ideas, regardless of previous modeling steps. Engineers can concentrate on ideas from customers rather than on system-related expertise.

"Time is the main reason why we use CoCreate. If I have a project that a client wants done in Pro/ENGINEER, I have to budget 50 to 70 per cent more hours. Secondly, changes are much easier and smoother with CoCreate's solutions. Thirdly, if I have to use an existing design I don't have to worry where it came from, how it was created or who created it. I can work with it as if it were mine to start with." (Kurt Botsai, RKS Design)

CoCreate's Competitive Advantage: Dynamic Modeling

CoCreate's unique Dynamic Modeling tech-nology overcomes the challenge of incorporating new ideas and feedback. Dynamic Modeling gives your product development team the freedom to treat the product model as though it were a piece of clay. All geometry can be accessed directly and modifications specified only in relation to the geometry. Unlike most alternative systems, where it is essential to understand previous modeling steps and system constraints in order to modify the model, Dynamic Modeling allows the model to be modified directly. This allows all engineers in a team to participate effectively in a project. Traditional modeling approaches can only be used to capture ideas that have been thought through in detail before the modeling process begins. Dynamic Modeling, on the other hand, allows design alternatives to be explored quickly without having to worry about whether parameters have been correctly set. Dynamic Modeling simply does it.

Similarly, it is easy to make major changes and take account of early and late feedback. This provides a contrast with traditional computer-aided design (CAD) systems, where it is necessary to take account of rules and constraints at all stages of the design. Because of the underlying technologies used in these systems, designers often face regeneration problems when trying to make changes that were not anticipated at the outset.

Engaging the People with the Right Expertise

Many companies cannot engage the best external suppliers to work on their develop-ment projects because subcontractors and partners are unable to deliver their design data in a format that permits modification and further development using the company's internal systems. Normally, the import of 3D data from other CAD systems does not allow for further development of the model. This obstructs efforts to build flexible teams that bring together a mixture of internal and external experts to quickly address specific market opportunities. Partners are selected on the basis of which CAD system they use rather than on availability, competence or price. Yet only about 40 per cent of the value of a typical product today is produced within the company, with the remaining 60 per cent coming from external sources. This reflects the fact that it is quicker and easier for a company to turn to external expertise where appropriate rather than developing the necessary expertise in-house, particularly for a one-off project. To develop innovative products, external resources and their expertise are vital.

Furthermore, many companies have to keep their most experienced designers working on their existing product designs and carrying out minor revisions. This is because, having developed the products themselves, these designers are the only ones with a detailed knowledge of the modeling steps used and the underlying constraints. This knowledge is needed for further development and modifi-cation of the model. However, the skills and creativity of these designers are not then available to develop new, innovative products. Other people, who may be fully competent to revise existing designs, cannot make design changes because they lack the necessary knowledge. The result is frustration amongst designers and a missed opportunity to engage the right people to drive innovation.

CoCreate's solutions enabled HP's Printer Division to work with an external company to design new printer housings, despite the fact that the two companies used a completely different design tool. In response to an unexpected fall in demand, HP decided to redesign the housing for its HP DeskJet series of printers, which was starting to look bulky and outdated. The new housing was designed by an external industrial design company, which used the Alias Industrial Design package. However, HP was able to use CoCreate's solutions to incorporate the new housing design quickly and easily into its own product development process, which led to the new HP DeskJet 695 and 697 printer models. Once imported, the Alias Industrial Design model could be treated like a native model and modified accordingly. No other 3D CAD system could do the same with imported data. Furthermore, HP's Printer Division is now using CoCreate's Engineering Solution to share selected engineering data management (EDM) information directly with suppliers through a Web interface that crosses a carefully controlled firewall.

CoCreate's solutions are enabling Molex, a leading global manufacturer of electrical connectors, to share product-related information effectively throughout the enterprise. The universal availability of the company's entire catalog, consisting of thousands of products, parts, assemblies and bills of material (BOMs), makes it very easy for Molex engineers anywhere in the world to locate existing designs in order to reuse and improve them with Dynamic Modeling. The combination of CoCreate's strong EDM solution, closely integrated with Dynamic Modeling technology, is unique. Furthermore, the CoCreate solution is linked to Molex's SAP system using CoCreate's WorkManager Desktop SAP Link, enabling engineering BOMs to be used directly to create manufacturing BOMs within SAP. Most competitive solutions do not offer this functionality.

CoCreate's Competitive Advantage: DMOX, Dynamic Modeling and EDM

CoCreate's Dynamic Modeling Open Extensions (DMOX) overcomes the challenge of involving business partners and suppliers in your projects. DMOX provides the freedom of choice to pick partners and subcontractors on the basis of their expertise. It does not matter whether or not they use the same design system as your company, because DMOX enables imported data to be treated like native data and modified easily.

Information on parameters, modeling features and system constraints is necessary in order to modify models using traditional systems. Yet this is the very information that fails to be transferred from one modeling system to another using standards such as STEP or IGES. With DMOX and Dynamic Modeling, this does not matter because the 3D geometry is modified directly. Other CAD solutions often limit your choice to partners who use the same CAD system as your own, because otherwise it is impossible to incorporate external design data into your own product development process.

Furthermore, Dynamic Modeling ensures that the most creative people in the organization are free to do the most creative work. Because other designers can easily reuse existing designs, previous modeling steps and constraints are of no relevance. New designers quickly become productive because they do not need to understand system constraints and modeling history. Design changes are no longer the province of a few experts and gurus.

CoCreate's EDM solution, which is an integral part of CoCreate's Engineering Solution, ensures that when you involve engineers and people from other disciplines in your projects, their contribution really counts. The solution ensures easy sharing of relevant information to the right people at the right time, and it provides tight integration of data and process management. It can even be used to give suppliers and partners direct, secure access to selected categories of product information. This encourages closer cooperation and leads to a more effective, innovative product development process.

Proactively Managing Data and Process Interdependencies

Companies often have difficulty managing the many different kinds and levels of interdependencies that occur within the product development process. A comprehensive definition of a part or product involves a wide spectrum of interdependent information, with the CAD solution addressing only a small part of the whole. This information includes:

The customer problem, market need or market opportunity.

  • Design criteria, specifications and intent.

  • Design standards, codes and regulatory compliance.

  • Design integrity with reference to engineering principles and analysis.

  • Supplier standards and catalogs.

  • Design and development history.

  • Documentation of physical model and geometry.

  • Procedures for processes, manufacture, assembly, quality and testing.

  • Relationships to manufacturing tooling and fixtures.

  • Procedures for maintenance and support.

  • Interrelationships with software and/or firmware.

  • End-user documentation.

  • Documentation for regulatory audit trails.

The challenge is to ensure that changes to data are reflected in all other related data and docu-ments (information interdependence), and that changes to one process or activity is fully integrated with all other related processes (process interdependence).

If the interdependencies within the above information set can be proactively managed, then the people who use the information can be effective and innovative. These people may work in a wide variety of departments, inclu-ding engineering, cost accounting, sales order processing, manufacturing planning, quality control and customer support.

The proactive management of process inter-dependence involves the implementation of sophisticated process management tools that can control the entire product development value chain. Use of these tools enhances innovation through improved product quality, reduced time-to-market and reduced costs.

Festo, a market-leading German manufacturer of pneumatic devices and systems and hand-held tools, is able to manage interdependencies and carry out, on average, 90 per cent of required changes to a design within a few days using CoCreate's solutions. The same changes used to take the company several weeks. Instead of a note and a change request on paper, an engineer now receives electronic notification and access to the 3D master model. There is no need to visit an archive and wait days until the drawing becomes available again. Changes are made directly to the master model. Because there is only one master model, interdependencies with other assemblies that use the same parts are managed efficiently. Everything can proceed in parallel, including the sign-off process and the communication of the design change to colleagues who are affected by it. Looking at the overall product development time, Juergen Schiefer from Festo says: "The delivery date defines the end of the project, and cannot be changed. The objective is therefore to incorpo-rate as much input as possible in the time available. If we can do this, we can produce superior, innovative products."

At Festo, proactive management of informa-tion and process interdependencies has been achieved through:

Establishing a single master model for each product.

  • Providing easy access to designs for every-one involved.

  • Using electronic notification and tracking of change requests.

Ericsson Diax, a developer of telecommuni-cations switching and access systems, uses CoCreate's solutions to keep track of all interdependent information relevant to ISO 9001 certification. This includes not only design drawings and associated documentation but also internal handbooks, work methods, design improvements, test results, customer complaints and ISO 9001 documentation. Ericsson Diax's products are based on a limited number of basic component building blocks, but these are configured into a bewildering variety of combinations. It is very important to keep track of all these variations. With CoCreate's Engineering Solution, it is possible to search for, access and retrieve the correct, complete data quickly and easily, without compromising security or system integrity. Close integration between CAD system and EDM solution ensures that changes can be managed and implemented more quickly than with competitive solutions.

CoCreate's Engineering Solution is used by Norand Mobile Systems to manage and control its engineering change order (ECO) process. Furthermore, the entire process, from initial request to engineering release notice, is accessible over the Web. Norand Mobile Systems, a division of Intermec Technologies Corporation, designs and manufactures ruggedized mobile computers and smart system peripherals. Its product data management (PDM) database includes 30,000 part descriptions and 23,000 documents. The company adopted a phased approach to PDM implementation, starting with a data vault and progressing via the BOM database to full process management. In contrast to competi-tive solutions, CoCreate's Engineering Solution was able to support this approach from beginning to end.

CoCreate's Competitive Advantage: CoCreate's EDM Solution

CoCreate's EDM solution overcomes the challenge of proactively managing information and process interdependencies. CoCreate offers a full set of functionality, based on three core components:

The data vault, for secure document and data management, with simple retrieval.

  • The BOM-, which can be automatically generated for management of part and assembly configurations.

  • The ECO, for effective process manage-ment with improved control and reduced process time.

A key differentiator of CoCreate's EDM solution is the ability to start small with a data vault and then follow a natural growth path through BOM handling and then, if required, to a fully fledged PDM solution incorporating ECO automation, process management and workflow. The PDM solution can cover all disciplines in the enterprise, including produc-tion, finance, administration, marketing, sales and others. Throughout the growth process, CoCreate's Engineering Solution provides you with the ability to manage interdependencies in a way that encourages rather than inhibits innovation. Furthermore, CoCreate's EDM growth path helps to protect your company's investment in innovation. Very few competi-tive solutions offer the full range of func-tionality, from the data vault and CAD document management at one end of the spectrum to PDM at the other.

Another key feature is the tight integration of EDM and CAD functionality within CoCreate's Engineering Solution. Unlike competitive solutions that consist of interfaced CAD and EDM systems from different suppliers, CoCreate's Engineering Solution incorporates CAD and EDM components that were developed concurrently by engineers working together. Close integration between CAD and EDM functionality is apparent in the areas of document, information and process management, as well as document security and control. The result is easy, automatic access to interdependent information through powerful integrated search facilities, allowing engineers to spend more of their time and energy focusing on innovation and less on routine tasks. As an added benefit, CoCreate's Engineering Solution also boasts superior integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. CoCreate's Engineering Solution overcomes the traditional boundaries between engineering, manufacturing and administration, encouraging innovation throughout the entire organization. For example, design-for-manufacturability is improved, since manufacturing experts can become involved with new designs at an early stage. The solution can grow naturally to integrate multiple departments, multiple sites and ultimately the entire supply chain.

Your Company's Competitive Advantage with CoCreate

CoCreate's Engineering Solution is the foundation for innovation, and it can help your company to overcome all the challenges associated with innovation. But CoCreate can also do more. The different routes to successful innovation have one thing in common: they depend on teams working together. Team-based working builds on individuals' innovative ideas and enhances the company's ability to produce innovative products.

CoCreate's solutions are designed for team-based distributed product development:

ME10 is CoCreate's solution for team-based 2D design, and offers a natural growth path to 3D design as and when required.

  • SolidDesigner, based on Dynamic Modeling, is CoCreate's solution for team-based 3D modeling.

  • WorkManager is CoCreate's EDM solution for managed teamwork.

Innovation can be enhanced still further if people from different disciplines are able to work synchronously together in real time, irrespective of geographical distance and boundaries. This kind of synchronous collaboration is a way of leveraging the company's intellectual property even more effectively into the product development process. It means that mechanical designers, project managers, toolmakers, sales and marketing staff, customers, suppliers, subcontractors and others are all able to view, comment on and modify the product model in real time. It is much more than a way of viewing models, because all team members can execute changes, and all model modifi-cations are immediately visible to everybody involved. People's ideas and feedback can contribute to the product development process without constraints or limitations. As a result, innovation can flourish.

CoCreate provides the industry's only comprehensive environment for collaborative distributed product development. This environment is based on CoCreate's new OneSpace solution for Web-enabled collaboration, which builds on CoCreate's Engineering Solution to provide the three core elements of effective synchro-nous collaboration:

Collaborative access to design information.

  • Collaborative real-time 3D modeling.

  • Management of the collaborative process.

For users of CoCreate's Engineering Solution, OneSpace provides a clear, natural growth path to enhanced collaborative processes. CoCreate's approach to collaboration has been widely acclaimed by industry analysts and commentators, who agree that no competitive solution can match it.

"CoCreate has developed a compelling and unique combination of quality products that support collaborative design processes and is the only developer we know that has committed itself primarily to collaborative engines." (Daratech, August 1997)

"The centerpiece of the company's approach is to use 3D to provide what it calls shared space where various members of a development team - including specialists, suppliers, clients and so on can interact." (Robert Mills, Computer Aided Engineering, January 1998)

"CoCreate is the visionary leader . . ." (Gartner Group, May 1998)

The Foundation for Innovation

If you too see product and process innovation as your entry ticket to the new millennium, you can enhance your competitiveness by working to overcome the associated challenges. Many leading companies have enjoyed success through teamwork using CoCreate's Engineering Solution. They were able to develop products that had a major impact on their markets, and some even achieved market dominance. CoCreate's Engineering Solution gave them the best possible help in applying their talents to create innovative products and processes. It can do the same for you.

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