May 7, 2014

Tech Doc Automation Next Step in LEAN Revolution

LEAN is the name of the game these days, especially in the realm of industrial manufacturing. With an increasing number of competitors in the global playing field plus a considerable upsurge of information flow, streamlining the production process is vital to maximizing value and staying in the lead.

Much has already been done in terms of automation to achieve alignment with the principles of LEAN manufacturing. Yet, there remains a lesser-explored opportunity that can make a considerable difference– namely, the automation of technical documentation.

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Whether placing an order for a ship engine, drilling device, production module, or an entire assembly line, both the customer and the vendor want to be certain that what ultimately gets delivered is what is actually needed, and that it’s delivered on time. If either of these elements were to fail it would cost an enormous amount of resources, both time and production related.

Unfortunately such resource wastage is quite common, and has much to do with inefficient and lengthy technical documentation systems, which up the risk for inaccuracy, and delays as production teams stand still, in waiting for the appropriate documentation which often takes weeks to be produced and delivered. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This is where the automation of technical documentation can be instigated to create significant LEAN results.

Take, for example, one of our clients who produces complex engines and drivelines for large ships. When one of their customers, a product engineer who is designing a ship, has decided upon a specific engine and driveline, they indicate their preferences by simply ticking a number of boxes on a web interface, enabling the immediate publication of preliminary, customized, documentation. The actual publication takes less than two minutes and uses data from a number of internal systems to produce a preliminary 200-page manual on the fly.

The fact that the customer can receive this documentation before the engine and driveline have even been delivered gives them a distinct advantage. Production doesn’t have to be halted just because some of the pieces aren’t yet on site. They can begin building their ship well ahead of time, with complete confidence that the engine and driveline they will later receive will be a perfect fit.

We have helped create similar valuable results for all our clients, whether they’re working with robotics, medical devices, stock exchanges, washing machines – you name it! Implementation is easy in all respects— with actual set up taking no more than a couple of weeks, and return on investment materializing within a year.

Many of our customers have even taken the process several steps further, making automated connections between technical documentation and sales, delivery, and project departments. Follow their lead and connect your CCMS with your CRM, PDM, PLM, Sales configurators, and ERP systems— you can’t get more LEAN than that.

Check out some of our customer case studies to realize what is possible!

About the author

Niklas Thorin

Niklas specializes in marketing and sales, and is backed by extensive experience in leading positions within frontline global technology companies.

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