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This chapter answers commonly asked questions about the implementation and use of PDM such as: what PDM functionality will be needed?, who should be involved in implementing PDM?, how does PDM fit with Concurrent Engineering?, should PDM be outsourced? Most of the questions are easy to answer if you’ve a well-defined PDM strategy, but very difficult if you haven’t. The answers to the questions are obviously dependent on the specifics of each individual company. But, in general, they depend on five factors: the industry the company is in; the company’s organisational structure ; the company’s culture; the company’s resources; and the PDM approach so far. The industry sector is an important factor. For example, PDM needs will differ between an automotive company making a high-volume, standard product, and an aerospace company making a make-to-order product which will differ from one order to the next. The organisational structure of the company is also an important factor. For example, PDM will play different roles in companies that are organised by project, and companies that have a strong departmental focus. The culture of the company is an important factor. In some companies, top management takes all decisions, and bottom-up initiatives are discouraged. In a company where things are always done top-down, there’s little point in trying to introduce PDM bottom-up. Similarly, in a company where management actively tries to get decisions taken by people lower down the hierarchy, it wouldn’t be useful to try to get management to impose a particular PDM system on the company. In this chapter, many frequently asked questions about PDM are addressed.
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