Cooking in someone else’s kitchen
As the main cook in my house I have the kitchen organized in a manner that seems very logical to me. Based on type of meal, frequency of use, and always a consideration for me due to my short stature, accessibility. I can put together a meal quickly at home but I am often lost when I step into a friend’s kitchen. My sister’s cabinets have much of the same content but she has a different style of cooking and I may find myself searching endlessly for the oregano.
There is a comparison between searching for spices and searching for product data. Considerations are different when looking at inventories in order to keep the pantry stocked and looking for the right item for the latest culinary masterpiece. Both goals are important but you can’t walk into the same kitchen ready to shop and then walk in ready to cook and expect a different view inside the cabinets. Or can you?
An intelligent taxonomy and classification structure is key to finding data within PLM applications. It is a quick filter for getting to the right type of data. A limited number of classes means more data per class and a need for additional filters and can lead to aggravation for the user.
Classifying data for your PLM application is an arduous task. Consideration must be given to your current data set and user community as well as future plans for data and user expansion. As part of a requirements workshop it is common to consider all user communities but the main catalyst in deploying a PLM system is generally streamlining procurement and supply chain processes. The cost to configure and maintain your PLM application can often lead to a limited taxonomy and inhibit product data search. Once deployed changes to the classification need to consider a wide set of user and therefore only be done as the discretion of a Change Control Board.
Enterprise applications promote collaboration internally within members of a design team and externally with suppliers and contract manufacturers. The benefits of access to data can been hampered by the ability to find that data quickly.
Giving engineers their own “cooking” style
Organizing your component data is a much larger task than organizing your kitchen but you may need the opportunity to update your “cabinets” based on product lines and new technologies. Also you need a search application that can provide a number of different taxonomies and the flexibility to move between them.
Engineering teams should not be limited by taxonomy decisions that are not congruent with their design style. In order to leverage data content in PLM the engineer needs to be quickly find approved parts, find related product data qualifying the use of these parts, and CAD data ensuring that these parts can be used within their design tools.
For these reasons having multiple taxonomies with flexible search criteria for each catalog in the structure is critical to component search within the engineering community.