An Engineered-to-Order (ETO) approach requires a higher level of participation from customers during the manufacturing and design process. With different parties coming together to transform ideas into reality into a physical product, it is not unusual for difficulties and inaccuracies to crop up. Problems can arise at different stages and have a knock-on effect on other stages of the project like inaccuracies in the design stage, can lead to issues in the production, while inaccuracies that are not discovered until the point of manufacturing can lead to delays or substandard products.
ETO relies on accurate specifications as well as good communication between the company and the client. All data, design specifications, engineering changes and other information will be passed back and forth many times before the design is finalised; therefore this can easily lead to confusion for one or both parties if the process is managed poorly. Ensuring all the necessary components are ready swiftly can also be a complicated and time-consuming process. There are, however, several ways to minimise inaccuracies and ensure a smooth project.
Numbering parts and components
Use a serial numbering system for parts and components will help you to create an efficient process for your engineering projects. An inventory software that allocates part numbers and control stock will assist with purchasing and with the locations of the components on the manufacturing floor. This will minimise the risk of project delays due to out of stock components and save time.
Create bills of materials automatically
Bills of materials (BoM) is essentially a list of all components required for product assembly; with the use of technology, you can automatically convert sales orders to a BoM which helps minimise inaccuracies. Systems such as ERP is a useful way of effectively managing product data and highly complex information that comes with a product. Even more vital, the use of BOMs means you have product-specific records that are easily leveraged on for future products.
Electronically manage any engineering changes
Be in control of engineering and design changes as it will aid product accuracy by logging all changes in one place. This will enable you to refer to information at any given time detailing the reason for the change(s), the specifics of the change and whether it was implemented. Moving away from traditional paper systems, business management software for change management is the most efficient method of collating and managing data concerning changes - some can even help you set different milestones for each project. It can also smooth out the lines of communication between the business and clients during the development period of the product.
Other things to consider
Utilising a business system to manage your projects will increase your efficiency and minimise inaccuracies because it will assist in the collation and management of all project documentation, from start to finish - ensuring no loss of information and no miss items that need organising and tracking.
It is also vital to have a final checklist procedure in place prior to the start of production, to ensure the finished design is fully in line with client specifications and requirements; and requesting client sign off at key points will help guarantee this.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can help you manage engineered to order projects; and communicate with your clients and team members. If you're looking for ERP software for ETO projects contact WinMan today, we're happy to help...