4 Ways to Make Concurrent Engineering Easy

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Within manufacturing facilities, small change projects are constantly taking place. Some of these changes are independent of each other, but the majority overlap, which can cause challenges in keeping track of simultaneous revisions to as-builts drawings. These overlapping changes often occur on a functional location within a facility or specific equipment. Many owner-operators design with 3D tools—like Inventor or Solidworks—and the design reviews can be done with the 3D designs. During these reviews, various departments may be required to give their input. For example, the electrical group may need to adjust the wiring harnesses, or the mechanical group may need to re-route the flow. During the production phase of this equipment, operations and maintenance teams may need to provide their input as well, typically with 2D files.

Without the proper software solution in place, overlapping changes and projects can be difficult to manage. In this blog, we will discuss the 4 ways manufacturing organizations can shorten the project turnaround time by using the concurrent engineering functionality within Meridian.

1. Keep Organization Up-to-Date with Project Changes and Project Phases

Maintenance and operations departments actively look for their asset-related information within Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)—such as Maintenance Connection, SAP, Maximo, vxMaintain, etc.—while performing work orders. Accruent’s engineering document management system, Meridian, provides a single source of truth for all asset information throughout the asset lifecycle. By connecting Meridian with a CMMS, companies can break down information silos between departments, increase workforce productivity and enhance personal safety.

The approved and released technical documents that are managed within Meridian can be shared and viewed within disparate departments throughout the entire organization. Meridian also allows for both projects and documents to have workflows. Organizations can configure rules that allow or block the transition from one project stage to the next if certain documents within the project are not yet approved. In Meridian, these are called “interlocks”. The interlocks provide organizations with an accurate representation of the document status.

2. Meridian Integrates with CAD applications to Help Concurrent Design Process

Meridian is a full CAD-platform independent solution for engineering drawings management, where organizations can store, manage, render and visualize both 2D and 3D content easily from major CAD systems. CAD documents, such as piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), can have a multitude of references and relationships with other documents. Within Meridian, users are able to have all of the references of their documents readily available, including:

  • Project copies, current or historical.
  • Equipment tags.
  • Functional locations.

When making a change to a design, an organization may want to link several documents together so that different teams can provide their input. For example, to use a large motor, a manufacturer may need to link together several documents like wiring diagrams, 3D designs and P&IDs so that electrical teams can provide their input. By providing visibility to the entire organization, other departments can offer alternative suggestions or comments. Furthering cohesion, Meridian provides version control to prevent users from working on an incorrect or outdated document, ultimately increasing team productivity and effectiveness.

3. Collaborate with External Contractors with Meridian Portal

In the manufacturing industry, more and more design work is being outsourced to external contractors, while internal design teams are busy updating facility documentation and maintenance and operations teams are adjusting and optimizing the facility itself. It is mission-critical that these disparate teams communicate well together to ensure that field changes are accurately conveyed to the design team, and that the design team can reciprocate any planned changes. In addition, if several major projects are being planned simultaneously, the need to communicate well and share accurate information increases.

Accruent’s engineering document software system, Meridian, offers several ways for organizations to accomplish this. Through Meridian, organizations can easily send documents to external contractors or vendors to view, update and add any additional information before returning the documents. This allows organizations to safely exchange engineering documentation with their external contractors. Meridian provides formal and informal sharing of documents, automatic validation of CAD file references and a full audit log of all actions.

4. Ensure Effective Control and Change Management

Whether a manufacturer’s review process is simple, complex or somewhere in between—or if manufacturers are reviewing designs—internal teams need as much flexibility and automation as possible to shorten project turnaround times. Organizations are able to keep their master data up-to-date while coordinating their change processes in isolated work areas with workflows, ensuring data validation and providing a full audit trail for regulatory compliance.

Meridian can ensure that the right people know when and how to accomplish a task—even if multiple people need to review the same document. For example, during a motor assembly project, different engineers need to review the integrity of the motor designs and updated wiring, all while someone from the fabrication shop ensures the project itself is feasible with the available machinery.

Document Workflow

Workflows are not used just to inform users of their responsibilities, as they are also for automating tasks such as:

  • Creating a PDF for each file and adding a print stamp to automatically show up when the document is printed.
  • Applying a watermark to let users know the status of a document.
  • Adding an electronic signature.

Meridian preserves the established control of engineering data changes, keeping master data up-to-date while organizing change processes in dedicated project areas. Meridian provides highly configurable workflows based on an organizational needs to speed the exchange of project documents while preserving an accurate audit trail.

Shortening Project Turnaround

By using Meridian’s concurrent engineering functionality, organizations can ensure that each stakeholder has the right information at the most optimal time. Organizations are able to improve the way that they exchange data and documents with contractors or venders. Additionally, by utilizing Meridian’s concurrent engineering functionality, organizations can shorten project turnaround times and ensure that projects are delivered according to plan. By increasing project visibility, organizations can maintain full proof of control of deliverables for internal and external audits by regulatory bodies. Concurrent engineering projects can be the most difficult and complex document management challenge for owner-operators. Meridian helps to put our customers at ease by enabling and easing organizational collaboration with maintenance, engineering, and project teams to maintain compliance and ensure effective change control.

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