A data-model for managing data in a Product Development Program
A data model for a PDPM system (Product Development Program Management)
Let’s define the scope of this blog. We look at a company that creates and produces a product for selling it to customers in order to have a good return on the investments.
The company consists of people that are organized in team, groups, departments, sectors. The people in an organization have one or more competences that add value to the company. In this study we are interested in competences that are needed after the company decides to create a new product. The organigram of the company is a rich source of data regarding the availability of competences as needed for a product development venture.
The bill of material
The design of the product is an important part of a product development venture and it gets a lot of attention in academic literature.
Mechanical piece-parts are defined by such properties as dimensions, surface finish and material choice. Information about the owner, the purchase person, the costprice etc. can be attributed to a part, but that info does not define the design.
Commercial off-the-shelf parts are defined by the document that specifies their performance and properties.
We like to think that it is worthwhile to discriminate ‘properties’ from ‘attributes’, for later application.
The Bill of Material prescribes which intermediate results need to be assembled before, in the end, the new product is completed. It contains all parts and defines their relation. The bill of material is an important source of data.
However, creating sketches and drawing the blueprints in 3D-CAD it is not the only act of creation in the program.
Parallel and slightly preceding the product-design-process is the struggle of getting the requirements right: what do we want to create, what does our customer want our/his product to do? In this blog, we treat the writing a functional description and specifying the required properties as an act of creation. What functions and sub-functions can we define, and what performance values (properties) do we decide them to have?
Manufacturing Process design
Slightly trailing but parallel to the product design there is the design of the production process and the production facilities. The bill of process does not follow from the bill of material automatically. Production engineers need to make clever choices in defining and sequencing process-steps. We will use ’task’ as the atomic item in a production process, tasks go in operations and operations go in work-centers, where a factory consists out of work-centers. The properties of tasks are their duration and their relation to other tasks. Attributes of tasks are the required (competence of) an operator, the required tooling, the required floor area, etc.
The latter three acts of creating a function tree, a bill of material and a bill of processes are easily recognized, since there are all in the engineering domain of systems engineering, design engineering and manufacturing engineering.
In order to cover the full venture of new product development, we need to cover two additional data-sources.
Tasks in projects
Here is a fourth: we need to define one or more design-projects in a design program, each with a beginning and an end and with a well-defined deliverable. The atomic element in a project is a task, tasks are grouped in projects, project to in programs and programs are grouped under company.
The creators of such projects will define the resources and competences required. Creating a project is not a small feat. The ability to create a project may be better discriminated from the competence of leading one.
The organizational chart
We have now determined a fourth ‘independent act of creation’, being the definition of tasks and their relation in project in a program. This leads us to a fifth act of creation that is required in a program: as the project-definition will lead to the identification of competences that need to be available soon, who must take care of that? The human resource and organization development needs to create an organization with the competences required. The deliverable of HR&O is an organigram with competent people. So, the fifth act of creation, and it may be longer term, is the establishing of an organigram with people and groups having the required competences, as one of their attributes in the HR&O database, besides age, salary and education.
Next to come: Having performed these five acts of creation, does that generate sufficient data for a preliminary business plan?