Britain spends the second highest amount on IT in Europe and, more importantly, its IT sector has the second fastest growth. British manufacturing companies have invested heavily in IT to address specific tasks, using applications such as MRP and CAD/CAM. The next step for many companies is to get the most from their wider computer-based information systems by using engineering IT to transform their operating processes and provide company-wide benefits.
Integrating product development and engineering makes it easier to change the product development process, speed up the introduction of new products and improve the quality of information. The key to this is the creation and re-use of a digital product data model, available across the firm, through development, manufacturing and into support services.
Using engineering IT packages to control workflow, product data and engineering document management, companies can create an environment in which information can be exploited throughout a product’s life cycle. Such a strategy results in big corporate benefits.
Large manufacturers are devising improvement strategies based on responsiveness, an ability to change and the need to make production processes more agile. These objectives require a strategy that recognises engineering IT as the driving force, enabling processes to be radically transformed.
Engineering IT ’98, a regionally based management forum, will help engineering and manufacturing understand how to integrate existing applications into a business-wide capability.