Attention COO’s, VP’s & Director’s of Manufacturing for Manufacturing companies – would clear and unambiguous data help reduce the amount of firefighting? Listen in as Patrick Sullivan and Jennifer Herron from Action Engineering uncover the enigmas behind MBD/MDE. Make sure you listen for the 3 major incentives as to why executives are interested in this being a key initiative in your digital journey.

Transcript

The transcript is close to a literal transcript of the spoken word. Please excuse any grammatical errors, spelling errors or break in the flow. The podcast is a non-scripted conversation with natural flow aimed to deliver value.

Patrick Sullivan:

All right. Welcome everybody to another episode of Archer Grey’s PLM Quick 30. We have a spectacular guest today on the topic of model-based design, model-based engineering. And I’ve kind of started incorporating that into the idea of digital thread and digital engineering. She is the CEO of Action Engineering, and she is an advocate of all things, MBD, MBE. We’ve been dialoguing with her for a very long time, and she’s gracefully accepted the opportunity to be a guest on our podcast. So without further ado, Jennifer Herron, thank you very much for joining us today.

Jennifer Herron:

Thanks, Patrick. Very nice to be here. Appreciate it.

Patrick Sullivan:

Good. So I’ve given just a brief introduction. If you wouldn’t mind taking a few moments to explain who you are a little bit about your background. I’d appreciate it.

Jennifer Herron:

Okay. Well Jennifer Herron, CEO, and founder of Action Engineering, our company is one that enables digital transformation specifically for manufacturing organizations. And we like to partner with teams to build resilient futures that are centered on connected, trusted models and an uplifted workforce. So we do a lot of work with teams coaching one-on-one, do a lot of education, do training workshops and things like that.

Jennifer Herron:

Let’s see, background. I am a mechanical and a computer engineer, two degrees on that. And my design career is focused on spacecraft and robotics design. And I have a lot of geeky, nerdy space paraphernalia in my background as well. There’s also a snake patent on the wall that you can’t see behind me. And that was in my robotics work because I have a computer engineering degree that was focused on image processing for remote sensor applications.

Patrick Sullivan:

So you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to MBD or MBE?

Jennifer Herron:

Well, I do have real-world design engineering background to go alongside it, and have tried to advocate for the authors of model-based definition all these years with Action Engineering. So I hope I know what I’m talking about.

Patrick Sullivan:

It’s an incredible background, and having double degrees and pursuing things, I mean, you’ve definitely been exposed to a lot of different aspects of the technology and then these advanced concepts that quite frankly, because I see a lot of clients continue habit, the way things have been done-

Jennifer Herron:

Stop it.

Patrick Sullivan:

I know. I’m just saying.

Jennifer Herron:

Stop doing the things you constantly are doing today. This is my favorite quote, is that if you want to change the results of your business, you actually have to change the way you do business.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yes. Yes. Well, so you said two words in your introduction that I’m actually curious on. You said uplifted workforce.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah.

Patrick Sullivan:

Can you explain that to me?

Jennifer Herron:

Yes I can. So a lot of the time with model-based definition and model-based enterprise activities, there’s a misperception that you can go buy a new tool on a new technology, flip the switch and everybody will then use it. And the fact is is that once you flip the switch, nobody uses it. And so we have been dedicated to analyzing the workforce within manufacturers so that we understand not only who’s offering the engineering data, but really who’s using the engineering data downstream, and how are they using it, and how will, when we make our data 3D and digital, how do they get to use it better? And then what are the benefits to them? How does their job change?

Jennifer Herron:

And the reason we use the word uplifted is because we really want to upskill people. We don’t want to replace them, but we want to bring them the technology that’s going to make their lives easier and make their jobs more fun and more effective, and hopefully have more throughput. And that’s where the business dollars and cents bottom line comes from.

Patrick Sullivan:

I love that explanation. And I’m glad you casually said it. I mean, is that a common term? Am I just not exposed to it?

Jennifer Herron:

Uplifted workforce? I don’t know. Perhaps it should be. Huh?

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah.

Jennifer Herron:

I don’t know. Personally I had done a lot of digging into modern social science, but that’s nothing compared to our chief social scientist, Rhiannon Gallagher, who’s been on our team for about three years. And she keeps constantly bringing up, “I don’t see the people in the solution. Well, how will the people use it? What about Walter the inspector? Could he understand how his job is going to change?” So everything we’re doing, we’re constantly looking at the people aspect. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a technology solution. Yeah. Yeah. We’re trying to eliminate some people in some of the processes, but there is not an implementation that’s digitally focused today that when you just throw a new technology at people, do they not basically hold up their hand in a stop sign and just say, “Forget about it. I don’t know what you’re doing. It’s all too much change. You haven’t taught me what I need to know.” And then everything fails and falls apart and it’s really deflating. So we tried the opposite approach. Let’s uplift you first. Let’s let you really get excited about this technology, and then we’ll teach you how to use it.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. And I assume that’s not a quick process. Like how does that evolve? It’s not flipping a switch like technology, right? Is it-

Jennifer Herron:

Also thank you. Yeah. Technology is almost the easy part of this. The hard part is the user adoption.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. I think of our more successful projects and it’s where… I’ve always, well, I guess throughout the years, I’ve come to the realization that an educated customer is the best customer to have, and whether that’s them having gone through previous experiences and have some lessons learned that they can bring to the table, which makes them more receptive to change. And if you can get that initial concept and have that readiness, at least the baseline to it, whether it’s executives or on the user’s side or anywhere in between, that’s an important ingredient as much as having budget available to even do it in the first place.

Jennifer Herron:

True. I think I like the word you use ingredient. That makes a lot of sense to me. Yeah.

Patrick Sullivan:

All right. So I’m sure we’ll come back to that topic of user adoption, how you get somebody to change their culture, and how they actually create design and use the information, but going back to you and your background, how do you even fall into MBD, MBE in the first place? And we have a range of listeners, right? So some are going to have an engineering background and know exactly what we’re talking about, but there’s also people who have no idea what this is. They may be Googling it. So can you go back to the layman side and [crosstalk].

Jennifer Herron:

Let’s go back to basics for a sec. And so what we do at Action Engineering is we teach people the basics of model-based definition and model-based enterprise. And then we coach them to successfully implement that within their organization. So model-based definition is an annotated CAD model with its attributes. And that includes the geometry plus the annotations, and we would like them to be semantic. Please, graphical annotations are mostly useless attributes.

Jennifer Herron:

So what is the metadata used throughout your enterprise and organization? And that’s not a trivial conversation. And then presentation states. And that’s what I call the fourth part of MBD. And presentation states, similar to what you see on a drawing, but clearly 3D navigable, but we kind of need those presentation states like a storybook so that we can help the human reader to actually step through just like they would in a story book, how you want your part to be built, or how you need your assembly to go together. So four parts of MBD, geometry, annotations, attributes, and presentation states.

Jennifer Herron:

Once that MBD is established, then you have an enterprise, that’s the model-based enterprise, which uses, and then also reuses annotated CAD models. And then there’s a whole bunch of other 3D data and other 2D data that goes with it by the way. But we’ll leave that to the side for this moment. And they use that model-based definition data to improve their quality and decrease their costs.

Patrick Sullivan:

All right.

Jennifer Herron:

How’d I do? Not shallow enough, or do you want me to bring it up the next level?

Patrick Sullivan:

No. You defined it very well. Thank you for taking the time to do that. And so what?

Jennifer Herron:

So what.

Patrick Sullivan:

So now you have this 3D data, certainly has cool visuals, but maybe if we take a second and we say, okay, how do the engineers use it? How does that benefit them? And then let’s go to manufacturing. How do they use it? How does it benefit them? And are there benefits downstream from there?

Jennifer Herron:

Okay. Yeah, that’s great. And there’s three data silos, or information silos, or departmental silos that we normally talk about. And that’s the design engineering function, the manufacturing function, and then the quality or the inspection function. Those are different for very small manufacturers up through large manufacturers, as far as who does what and when and where.

Jennifer Herron:

But if we think of those three areas, broadly engineering, manufacturing, and inspection, what we’re doing in engineering is we are generating unambiguous engineering requirements that are digitally captured. So that’s my geometry, my annotations, my attributes. It comes out of engineering or out of somebody’s head like myself, like a designer’s head, and it gets documented digitally. So that’s the first thing.

Jennifer Herron:

What we find in that process is we’re forcing engineers to be a bit more pedantic than they are in drawings, which I know seems kind of counterintuitive. Engineers are always pedantic, but in a drawing-based world, you have some opportunities to sort of kind of fake some things. There’s not anybody in the world who’s made a drawing who’s never faked anything. It’s not something malicious. It’s just something that we do to get the work done. So there’s no more faking of the data. There’s actually making hardcore decisions. And sometimes that gets a little prickly for people when they do an MBD transition. So that’s one aspect.

Jennifer Herron:

The other aspect is you’re relying on a human brain to read and interpret what you have on a drawing today, and then make some assumptions and go either build from it or inspect from it. So what we’ve discovered as we transition companies from drawings to model-based is there’s no interpreting, it’s all getting encoded in a one or a zero, right? That’s it. You got to switch. You got to flip it to one or zero, and that’s all you have. So you have to make a lot more choices upfront about model-based definition to make everything completely discrete and unambiguous than you would with a drawing.

Patrick Sullivan:

So I’ll kind of converge two topics here at the same time as we go through this, because I realized I asked three big questions. So let’s break this sandwich up a little bit. So we were just talking about engineering and we spoke earlier about transforming the organization and how they do their designs and taking the ambiguity or interpretation out of the PDF, out of the decision making process, because you can’t fake the data anymore, right?

Jennifer Herron:

Right.

Patrick Sullivan:

So what would you say is the most important ingredient to ensure that those standards are being followed. That you’re implementing this process, because if you’re taking that same engineer who’s been working for 10, 15 years creating 2D representations, how does that person, all of a sudden start making 3D representation?

Jennifer Herron:

Well, they don’t do it all of a sudden. That’s the first thing. Yeah, of course there’s some very unique cases that people can pick it up and move straight on to the next step, but we never see that. There’s a couple of things, and I’ll try not to go too deep, but the first thing is we have to be very specific about how their work is going to change, and when their work is going to change. It’s not enough to kind of do a bunch of hand-waving, oh, in five years, we’re going to be drawingless. It’s like, wow, okay. That seems ambitious, and also wrong, right? Because there’s some things that are never going to come off a drawing, and they will always be represented in 2D, because that is what makes the most business sense for whatever particular enterprises implementing it.

Jennifer Herron:

So that’s my very first advice. Never say you’re going drawingless. You can forget about it. You’ll lose all of your social capital that way, because people will call BS on you. So that’s one thing, be very clear about what the goals are for individual jobs, and when they’re going to make the transition, and then what are the new skills expected? And, oh, by the way, here are the 10 training modules you need and here’s the certification program you’ll need to do that.

Jennifer Herron:

So we all know training is always thought of last and which is one of the reasons we put uplifted workforce right in our mission statement, because we know that’s a game changer. If you have people that are bought into the process, that’s one. And then secondly, you give them high quality training to let them do their job even better. Why would they not want to do it? And so I think those are the primary factors of how to get there. And I left GD&T off the table at all to discuss about, but that’s a thing. In case you want to go down that rabbit hole again.

Patrick Sullivan:

Well, just for everybody listening, what is it?

Jennifer Herron:

What is it? Yeah, GD&T is geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. There’s two standards that govern that on the planet. One is ASME, American Society for Mechanical Engineers in the Y14 standards. And then there’s the ISO GPS standards. There’s actually also Japanese in the JADA standards as well. So there’s actually a handful of geometric tolerancing standards around the world, all fundamentally roughly similar, but there’s some nuance changes like languages. Geometric dimensioning and tolerance is a language that engineers use to communicate to fabricators and inspectors what they want their engineering requirements to be. That’s the bottom line. And the big trick is that it’s matured significantly in the last 20 years. And we still have people who learned 20 years ago about GD&T and were having a hard time shifting them from their original learning. And sometimes they make the shift and sometimes they don’t.

Patrick Sullivan:

Right, right. I’m glad you explained that. Now I learned some things right there as well.

Jennifer Herron:

Sure.

Patrick Sullivan:

All right. So we took a little detour, the design set aside, and just to bring everybody back to the question that I had asked was, okay, MBD, MBE, you’re implementing it. So what? Was the big question.

Jennifer Herron:

So what?

Patrick Sullivan:

And then we just dealt with the engineering side. I’d like to talk about the manufacturing side, and then downstream from there, you had mentioned there’s quality. So hitting those other two categories. So manufacturing.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah. So for manufacturing, this is going to be a compelling message to say the VP of operations or a VP of supply chain, for instance. Here’s the flat statement for engineering, MBD fosters unambiguous digital capture of engineering requirements, for both manufacturing and inspection, MBD forces engineering to unambiguously communicate the engineering requirements to the fabricators and the inspectors.

Jennifer Herron:

So that’s really the clear message that I’d like to share, is when we get model-based definition right, and I’m not sure it is globally yet, by the way, for people that are doing MBD today, I think it’s still underway and maturity of what it means to author model-based definition in a robust and accurate repeatable manner. So when that is done right then the fabricators, whether they’re internal on your factory floor or their external supply chain, they go, oh yeah, that’s very clear. I understand the material. I understand the processes. I understand the dimensional requirements that you’re levying here. I’ve got about five ideas. I want to go play with that I had to fabricate this. I’m going to bring it back to you and hopefully give you the cheapest price. That’s really their job as manufacturers. So if the engineering requirements are clear, just like a statement of work for any deliverable, then the product you get back is going to be on time. And hopefully, the least amount that it can cost.

Patrick Sullivan:

Is there adoption that needs to occur around how you’re supposed to communicate at that point? I assume it changes how the manufacturing side of the house needs to communicate with the engineers. And then the engineers have to realize that work is not done when it goes to manufacturing. Because how an engineer intends it to be built isn’t always how it can be built based on…

Jennifer Herron:

Right. Well, that’s a good point you bring up. I think the short answer for your first question is, do the communications about how we do business today between engineering and operations need to change? Oh yes. Is the short answer. But it’s not that what you do today is bad. It’s that there’s opportunity for continuous improvement, and there’s opportunity to find more savings.

Jennifer Herron:

In some cases we have seen savings up to a 40% part saving cost. So for some organizations, some large manufacturers that are tier ones, top of the supply chain, they’ve got billion dollar annual supply chain costs. So if you get 40%, you’re talking about a $400 million in annual savings. Seems like something you ought to go after. right?

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah.

Jennifer Herron:

But you’re not going to get $400 million annual savings because it’s easy, you’re going to have to do a lot of hard work to get in there. And a lot of that comes down to changing the communication methods that you have today, and digging deep into that information exchange. My favorite story is I went onsite to a customer for a day to train them on MBD. And I said, “Could you have one of your suppliers there? We’ll just do quick cross training at the same time.” They said, “Okay. Yeah, we got a great cheap metal supplier. They’re our favorite ones.” And We started talking about model-based definition, and they kind of went, “Well, so there won’t be a drawing?” And I said, “That’s right.”

Jennifer Herron:

And I used to do this in my classes, but I would carry around a drawing. And I’d say, “Well, here’s the drawing.” And I walked it over to the supplier. And I said, “Could you please tell me what you do with this drawing that comes from this company?” And he picked it up and he walked over to the trash can and threw it in the trash. And then he goes, “They send us a model right in SolidWorks. So we just use that directly. We don’t even look at that thing.” And the engineers in the room went, “Are you kidding me? I just spent a week making that drawing.” And I was like, “So now you don’t have to do that anymore.”

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah. So having the hard conversations with your supply chain or even internal manufacturing is really, really important, because you don’t learn that stuff by just throwing data over the wall.

Patrick Sullivan:

Okay. All right. Very good. Thank you for diving into that one. So now we’re on quality inspection.

Jennifer Herron:

Quality inspection. One of our very, very favorite topics to talk about. And we do talk about it a lot. I’m on the board of Digital Metrology Standards Consortium as well, where it’s really been an educational experience for me to be involved in that standards organization, because I didn’t know anything about inspection. I have flight hardware flying in space today, and I had no idea how it was being inspected, or if it was at all. And I did not understand geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. So I upskilled myself to really understand how to author data that inspectors can then use. And then once you do that, now you have the opportunity to automate that using model-based definition.

Jennifer Herron:

So, as or for instance, when we create an author model-based definition annotations per standards, we see an 80% time savings during inspection planning phases. So we can click buttons from our native CAD system, and generate coordinate measurement machine programs in about three minutes, as opposed to about eight hours a day. I mean, the 80% is sort of ridiculous, but if I told you it was 99.5% you’d think I was crazy.

Jennifer Herron:

It’s a huge, massive time savings. And the accuracy is much better because what people do today in inspection is they literally take a drawing and then they put all the little balloon numbers all over it. And then they highlight, which is what and where, and that kind of thing. And then if it’s done, if that geometric tolerancing is set up in a way that the inspector will per a standard, so that the inspector can actually read it properly, and they’re actually both speaking English in that, where I’m talking about GD&T being a language, then all that goes pretty smoothly. That’s still like eight hours a day to do one part. But when I go click, click, click, and do it all automated, it’s just done for you. So that’s a pretty big opportunity for return on investment.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. I assume that would catch a lot of people’s eyes, which made me think of a question for you. So sometimes when I think back throughout my customers throughout the years, there’s some where I well up with tears of happiness, because we were able to make such a big impact for them on some of the work that we’ve done. So I’m curious, do you have a scenario, because we kind of walked through this world of MBD and MBE and how Action Engineering helps organizations transform how they work and do business.

Patrick Sullivan:

So do you have tears of happiness for one where you’re saying, “Oh, that felt so good. That was a great experience.” Can you kind of tell the high level story about that, and why you think of it so fondly. And sometimes the smallest victory can be the biggest one, right? It doesn’t have to be this beautiful thing, but you put out some statistics here of 80% and I think the other one was 40%. I mean, those are huge wins for an organization.

Jennifer Herron:

They are. And I think those are real, strangely enough, they’re real statistics, whether you believe it or not. And I will say that one of the other major benefits of this is avoiding the cost of poor quality back to that when we start converting things from drawing-based to model-based, we start realizing how much ambiguity there is in the system of drawing-based today, and how much we’re relying on great people. Don’t get me wrong, great people to read and interpret that data and do the right thing, but that doesn’t necessarily seem repeatable sustainable or without error. So during that MBD transition folks end up discovering that their drawing-based processes and practices have a ton of cost of poor quality hidden cost.

Jennifer Herron:

So I think that is probably the biggest win for us, is when we highlight some of their drawing-based challenges that they have today, because some people I’ve been happily going along thinking their drawings are great. But when you really start diving into it and diving into the math behind that, which is a lot of what geometric tolerancing is as well, it’s applying math to the requirements, people start to really understand that they haven’t defined the math as well as they thought they had.

Patrick Sullivan:

I don’t know if anybody listening here would describe it this way, but words are popping out in my mind when you talk about math and the language of how designs are communicated throughout the organization and then the story of all of it. And you really have to be at a mastery level to associate the math with a story and then associated to the quality of the product. I mean, those words are… I’m trying to formulate it, but I think the phrase that you said-

Jennifer Herron:

No I like what you’re saying it’s about mastery because actually today they’re really highly safety, critical components that we build or assemblies that we build today, I mean, we being humans. They are relying on people who have a mastery level understanding of either the design of that system or the fabrication of that system or the inspection of that system.

Jennifer Herron:

So is there a way that we can take out some of that need for mastery level so that your cost comes down a little bit, either in time or in number of years that experienced people have to work on these authoring and consuming of the data to build the part correctly. Is there something we can take out of that? And I’ll bring up the words machine learning and AI, and then completely backpedal from there.

Jennifer Herron:

If we want to leverage machine learning and AI, the inputs to machine learning and AI are digital data. So therefore if you’ve got a drawing that requires human interpretation, forget about leveraging machine learning and AI. So that I think is one of the big things for us as a mission, is to help people author model-based definition that is 100% digital, 100% unambiguous, and that could feed those big data learning systems to help reduce that level of mastery required to do that, which is overall going to save the company time and money.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Well, I’m glad. Thank you for saving me as I was trying to pull that together and picking up on the mastery word.

Jennifer Herron:

No, its great. Actually, I liked it. Yeah, it was good.

Patrick Sullivan:

Well, so let’s try to package this up a little bit for everybody because in terms of bringing a very real situation, because we talk about going from paper-based to model-based, okay? And so a lot of companies throw the PDF over to manufacturing. It’s still very prevalent. And I know that budgeting for MBD, MBE initiatives is difficult in a lot of places for whatever reason. That could be mostly because I’m sure there’s communication and how it’s presented to executives. But let’s start with benefits, what are the top three benefits that executives care about in terms of moving to MBD and MBE. Even if you’re not selling MBD or MBE, but you’re implementing it. What are the three benefits that they are after?

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah, I like this question. It’s good. The first one is reduction in supply chain per cost. And we talked about this, but let me repeat. We’re seeing savings of up to 40% in per cost savings. So that means that if you have a billion dollars in annual supply chain costs, that’s a potential of $400 million in annual savings. Not that you’re going to see that all in one year, but seems like that’s pretty decent goal worth achieving. So that’s number one. And we’ve kind of already went down that road a little bit.

Jennifer Herron:

Number two, there’s significant cost of poor quality today in our manufacturing processes. So during an MBD transition you’re finding that your drawing-based practices they’re not so hard, and you might have some sneaky little hidden costs in there. And one of the ways you can create a metric or investigate a metric around cost of poor quality is to look at your scrap rate. I know that there are some industries overall that have a scrap rate of about 40%. That seems like an enormous amount of money to throw into the garbage. And so I think that’s a good indicator. If your scrap rate is really high, if you do a fishbone analysis, are you finding drawing-based practices or the lack of communication between engineering, manufacturing, and inspection? Is there something driving in there that you can improve? My guess is yes. I can always find an MBD solution to help a scrap rate go off there to be reduced.

Jennifer Herron:

And then I think at number three, and you touched on this a little bit, Patrick, about budgets are hard to find, to have these initiatives tackle. And I know a lot of executives perceive model-based definition or model-based enterprise as a risk to their production schedules. But the reality is, is there’s a lot of manual hand-offs today and undocumented processes going on that occur today that are actually adding to the time to market rather than reducing it.

Jennifer Herron:

And we know that because we like to do interviews on the factory floor and ask people, like I mentioned earlier, “What is it that would make you go faster?” And they would say, “Well, if the engineering was better or good to start out with, we wouldn’t have had to make all these XYZ changes.” So with MBD, we can turn the tribal knowledge into digital data, and then you can automate it and then you can do the fun stuff like IOT, and industry 4.0, and digital twin. But before you digitize that first set of data you’re stuck.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Thanks for taking the time to wrap that portion up in terms of what would appeal to executives. So for folks that are listening to this, because it’s a topic that you’ve tried to get budget, you’ve been unsuccessful because it’s viewed as let’s just say an engineering initiative, or it’s a manufacturing initiative and engineers don’t want to do it. And you’re having a difficult time getting buy in from executives, but words like IOT and AI and whatever modern term-

Jennifer Herron:

Aren’t they fun words?

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah, exactly. So what advice do you have for people that are trying to figure out a strategy, well, so they can achieve the objectives that executives are looking for, but change how they’re selling it to be more effective. Any advice to those folks on how to position that? Like, what would you say?

Jennifer Herron:

I’ll say that the bottom line really is that organizations need to change the way they communicate internally and with each other. And if they start to crosstalk between the silos then that’s a real benefit. We always recommend that when you go into a model-based definition implementation, you have a cross-functional team so that you can see all the viewpoints and perspectives, and that is engineering, manufacturing, and quality, but also probably supply chain, because that’s probably a big aspect of your business. Even if it’s, for some people it’s 20%, some people it’s 80% so.

Jennifer Herron:

But then you also have to engage IT for successful MBD implementation. And I will sprinkle in here. You also have to pay attention to PLM or add a minimum product data management, because managing 3D data on SharePoint flat out doesn’t work. Believe me, we’ve tried really hard. 3D data is really complex and it’s intended to all work harmoniously together and be managed in a sophisticated way. So if you miss that step of it, it tends to break down.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. In terms of how you organize and share the data, correct?

Jennifer Herron:

Right.

Patrick Sullivan:

That’s what you are referring to?

Jennifer Herron:

Yes. And collaborate with it. Just plan on revision control of the models as people are working, whether you’re, again live day to day, like live collaboration versus check-in check-out, and those are two big topics to have a conversation about.

Patrick Sullivan:

Right. Right. Okay. So I have a situational game if you’re up for it, but here’s the situation. You sell me at three different levels, but for the same goal, right? It’s to implement MBD, MBE. And we’ll say, let’s say you have 30 seconds. You’re in an elevator. The director of engineering is in there. And you know that he’s got a lot on his plate, but you know that MBD, MBE is a valuable thing for the organization to invest in. And the director of engineering has budget to do something. And if you’re the advocate and you’ve got 30 seconds on the elevator with the director of engineering, what are you going to say to him?

Jennifer Herron:

I think what’s tricky, and it took me a long time to understand this perspective is that engineering, especially non-recurring engineering in most organizations that build more than one part is, all of the time and money is in operations. So it’s almost a better sell for model-based definition to get operations. If I could trap the operations VP in the room and say, “You know all of those firefighting activities that you have to do on a daily basis, we can reduce those firefighting activities by probably 30%. Is that a value to you? How do we do that? We do that with clear unambiguous data, and we’re going to make engineering do it.”

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah.

Jennifer Herron:

There’s my 30 second [inaudible].

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah, that’s good.

Jennifer Herron:

And actually the engineering side, they’re easy. They’re really easy to sell on this, because they’re sort of more in tune with using 3D data every day. So they’re a little bit more creative about how they could see it being used in fabrication and inspection. I think it’s harder for operations to imagine, because they’re always in firefighting mode, I haven’t met an operations person. A fabricator or an inspector who doesn’t have a backlog just piled up on his desk of papers and 50 things they’re trying to do at any one moment. That’s their state of affairs. So if you could say, “I’m going to reduce that chaos by 30%, now are you interested?” I think that’s a really compelling thing.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. That is compelling. You take 30% of any chaos in my life and I’m going to sit and listen.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah. So maybe that’s, and I appreciate this conversation, maybe that’s the bigger picture here, is that in fabrication and inspection, we’re going to reduce the chaos by having our documentation be very certain and repeatable. And I think if that were the case, people would be like, “Oh yeah, exactly. That is the problem.”

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I can think of a couple of conversations I’ve been having recently with some organizations that are talking about that exact pain point. So I’m sure it’s resonating with a lot of folks. So I know that you’ve been very generous with your time and I appreciate it. So I want to make sure that we’re conscious of being on time here. So one last question, and this is an easy one. Do you have any parting advice for anyone that may be listening and taking diligent notes, and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate these waters on their side of the fence.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah. I always have advice. I’ll try to blow it down. The real thing here is to be brave. This transition is really hard. Too many people only seeing the learning dip that occurs during model-based definition transformation, they’re going to miss out on the growth and the savings opportunity. And so that’s the J curve there is missing. Is that learning depth. I think in order to do that, to be brave and persist through the hard transition, you have to get clear on your vision and your mission and have incremental goals, and then persistently stick to them. So basically, I mean, don’t expect this to be an easy transition, because achieving a $400 million annual savings is going to be hard, but really worth it.

Patrick Sullivan:

Yeah. Well, and then I’ve written down some key words here, and I think you’ll encourage people to be brave if you can reduce their firefighting and at the same time help the organization reduce costs. And I just want to thank you for taking the time and sharing all of your mastery with us on MBD, MBE, and how Action Engineering provides value for their clients. And it’s not a small value, it’s large values that you’re talking about. So thank you for being so passionate about it, and taking the time to your knowledge with us.

Jennifer Herron:

Yeah, you’re welcome. That was really fun. Thank you.

Patrick Sullivan:

So join us again for another episode, and thank you for listening to this one. If you have any feedback, feel free to reach out to us at any time at info@archergrey.com, and that’s A-R-C-H-E-R-G-R-E-Y.com. Thank you.

 

Join our email list to receive updates