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Disruption of Engineering

Engineering has become a significant part of the overall value chain. When established value-added processes change, this also affects the role of engineering. Change can only be successful if the adjustments are seen as an opportunity.

Posted on: 10/24/2019

What began with primitive stone tools has become a high-tech business. We are talking about the production of commodities. A host of companies worldwide deals with the production of products for every conceivable purpose. Today, a complex engineering process is upstream of the manufacturing process. It has now become part of the overall added value. Its constant improvement is a very important goal of any company. The only question is: how can the design process contribute?

For example, higher added value can be achieved through higher efficiency. The first step in this direction was taken in the 1990s when drawings, planning documents and design tools were digitized. Globalization emerged around the same time, increasing competition and creating additional price and time pressures as well as increasing quality requirements. Towards the turn of the millennium, the once independent planning disciplines such as mechanical, electrical and software were increasingly dependent on the data from one another. The mechatronic concept was born as the next logical step. This idea gave rise to a promising approach to functional engineering, which had not yet achieved a breakthrough. Why this is can be debated, but a lack of suitable planning tools is just as responsible as the lack of consensus on how functional engineering should be applied in practice.

Mechatronics is increasingly used in the components of automation technology, but the design process itself has hardly changed. In this decade, digitalization has joined economic globalization. The promises of Industry 4.0 (IoT) have put more and more companies under pressure, because competitive price pressure is squeezing margins, increasing individualization requires ever shorter innovation cycles, and advancing digitalization massively changes the established value creation processes. Many companies recognize that something has to change. But how are changes made in an already complex technical process, such as engineering?

Increasing efficiency alone is not enough. If you want to face the challenge, you have to think about the following tasks:

  • Automating routine tasks: What has long been known and built in production will also find its way into design. However, the prerequisite for this is a clear set of rules on how and what to do in any situation.

  • Adapting processes: An important side effect of automation is that it can significantly change existing processes. Timely analysis of the effects of automation is therefore mandatory.

  • Rethinking the value creation structure: Digitization in particular is radically changing existing value creation structures. The share of the manufacturing process will decrease in the long term, so other business areas should increase their share. The design process holds potential that should not be underestimated.

  • Configuring product instead of designing it: Only configurable products simultaneously meet the dueling requirements for increased individualization and manageable product complexity. The most important prerequisites for configurability: clarity about the product structure and the production process. An important side effect is that this approach changes working methods.

  • Change organization: Short reaction times to changes in the market require an organization with complex processes in which quick and well-founded decisions are possible because the decision-makers have direct market contact. This requirement conflicts with conventional hierarchical management structures, which is why the company also needs to rethink its organization.

 

Spread your wings!

Engineering is again at a turning point. The digitization of plans and planning tools has led to a significant increase in efficiency over the past 15 years. The digital transformation of engineering does not end here. The entire engineering process also need to be transformed. However, this will only succeed if we look at the process with all its synapses throughout a business. For this we need a wider perspective. We need to step back and look at the whole picture to better recognize all relationships and possible solulions.

Anyone who has ever seen the world from the window of an ascending airplane knows the fascination that continues to rise with every meter of altitude. Not only are hundreds of objects suddenly visible, but also how they relate to each other. This change of perspective alone opens up unimaginable insights in an exciting new world.

On this website you are invited on a virtual flight. Spread your wings and join us on a journey through the new world of engineering. Gain new insights through posts and stories. They are about experiences, successes and failures. They are about the cooperation of people in a complex process. They are about expectations and how they are met. They are about the way we search for ways to solve problems and why failure usually is not caused by technology.

What we offer

We guide companies on the way to digitizing their engineering processes

There is no universal recipe how engineering can be digitized. Every company must find its own way. In such a case it is good to have a guide at your side, who has done this kind of pathfinding many times before and can recognize tempting wrong ways but also hidden chances in time.

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Consulting

Confucius sagte: the way is the goal.

In this sense, the common journey along your way will be an interesting experience. With our support, you will not only find your destination at the end of the journey, but you will also keep the stations of the journey in good memory. To consciously experience the way is also very important because the original destination is only a stopover, your journey continues afterwards. And we want you to dare to continue your journey without us.

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Tailor-made solutions

There are many ways to get from A to B. On foot, by bike, by car, by boat or by plane. However, not every vehicle is suitable for every purpose. Even in the story of Jules Verne “80 days around the world” the protagonists get into unexpected situations. They have to improvise and sometimes come up with solutions that nobody had thought of before, but which are very practical and sometimes the only way to reach their goal.

Together we will find the missing bridges on your way so that you do not have to make any detours.

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Digital process design

Current value-added processes can rarely be digitised 1:1 because not every sub-process can (or should) be automated. Digital processes differ in many respects from analogue processes and whether they function well or poorly is decided by completely different factors and aspects.

Digital processes basically require IT infrastructure, which is why the people who design or support these processes must acquire the corresponding IT know-how. Engineers are very technical by nature and most of them do not have much difficulty in acquiring IT skills. With us they will gain additional knowledge about the processes in the company, so that the path of the engineering team fits very well into the big picture of the company’s business.

Contact us

Disruption of Engineering

Engineering has become a significant part of the overall value chain. When established value-added processes change, this also affects the role of engineering. Change can only be successful if the adjustments are seen as an opportunity.

Posted on: 10/24/2019

What began with primitive stone tools has become a high-tech business. We are talking about the production of commodities. A host of companies worldwide deals with the production of products for every conceivable purpose. Today, a complex engineering process is upstream of the manufacturing process. It has now become part of the overall added value. Its constant improvement is a very important goal of any company. The only question is: how can the design process contribute?

For example, higher added value can be achieved through higher efficiency. The first step in this direction was taken in the 1990s when drawings, planning documents and design tools were digitized. Globalization emerged around the same time, increasing competition and creating additional price and time pressures as well as increasing quality requirements. Towards the turn of the millennium, the once independent planning disciplines such as mechanical, electrical and software were increasingly dependent on the data from one another. The mechatronic concept was born as the next logical step. This idea gave rise to a promising approach to functional engineering, which had not yet achieved a breakthrough. Why this is can be debated, but a lack of suitable planning tools is just as responsible as the lack of consensus on how functional engineering should be applied in practice.

Mechatronics is increasingly used in the components of automation technology, but the design process itself has hardly changed. In this decade, digitalization has joined economic globalization. The promises of Industry 4.0 (IoT) have put more and more companies under pressure, because competitive price pressure is squeezing margins, increasing individualization requires ever shorter innovation cycles, and advancing digitalization massively changes the established value creation processes. Many companies recognize that something has to change. But how are changes made in an already complex technical process, such as engineering?

Increasing efficiency alone is not enough. If you want to face the challenge, you have to think about the following tasks:

  • Automating routine tasks: What has long been known and built in production will also find its way into design. However, the prerequisite for this is a clear set of rules on how and what to do in any situation.

  • Adapting processes: An important side effect of automation is that it can significantly change existing processes. Timely analysis of the effects of automation is therefore mandatory.

  • Rethinking the value creation structure: Digitization in particular is radically changing existing value creation structures. The share of the manufacturing process will decrease in the long term, so other business areas should increase their share. The design process holds potential that should not be underestimated.

  • Configuring product instead of designing it: Only configurable products simultaneously meet the dueling requirements for increased individualization and manageable product complexity. The most important prerequisites for configurability: clarity about the product structure and the production process. An important side effect is that this approach changes working methods.

  • Change organization: Short reaction times to changes in the market require an organization with complex processes in which quick and well-founded decisions are possible because the decision-makers have direct market contact. This requirement conflicts with conventional hierarchical management structures, which is why the company also needs to rethink its organization.