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Automotive design and engineering: Optimizing collaboration standardizing data formats

Accenture helped one of the world's largest premium automotive producers to optimize collaboration with standardized data formats.

Overview

Accenture helped Daimler AG set up an effective collaborative system using the Siemens' JT format tool enabling real-time collaboration between the designers, engineers, business partners, and parts-supply vendors throughout a product's lifecycle.

Daimler AG is one of the world’s largest producers of premium automobiles and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach. In fiscal year 2013, the company reported revenues of nearly €118 billion (approximately $160.4 billion).

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opportunity

Automotive design and engineering processes require high levels of collaboration—not only among in-house designers and engineers, but also among the hundreds, if not thousands, of external business partners and vendors that supply vehicle parts. The more seamless the collaboration among these parties, the more efficient the design and engineering processes become. Siemens’ JT™ data format, which makes it possible to view and share digital 3D product information in real-time throughout a product’s lifecycle, is one tool that is making new levels of collaboration possible.

As a leading provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) services in the automotive sector, Accenture clearly understands the value that standardized data formats can bring to design and engineering processes. Its acquisitions of PRION Group, PCO Innovation and business from evopro group not only strengthened Accenture’s position as one of the leading providers for PLM strategy consulting and systems integration services, but also to help clients streamline their engineering collaboration processes with tools such as JT.

In working with Daimler, Accenture was tasked with articulating the business potential of a standardized data environment and determining what a transition for relevant business scenarios to the JT data format would entail. An understanding of the JT business potential, as well as the transition journey, was supporting the automotive manufacturer’s strategy of Multi-CAD for engineering collaboration processes.

Solution

Accenture quickly deployed a team of PLM advisors and engineering professionals to assess the potential value of a JT implementation. Through extensive interviews, it became apparent that different design and engineering teams had different notions about how they might use the JT data format. Accenture, therefore, focused on standardizing the potential approach to using and implementing JT within the client’s existing collaboration and development processes. The team also built a JT Cockpit prototype to manage a specific set of parts delivered by suppliers via the JT data format. This helped the team further refine its analysis of JT’s business potential.

Throughout the one-year program, the team not only drew on its solid PLM skills and best practices, but also applied the Accenture Delivery Methods to maintain the project’s momentum and focus on value. Accenture’s structured approach to assessing the business potential of JT confirmed that global JT usage was not only possible, but advisable for selected business scenarios.

Results

With Accenture’s help, the client has a much clearer understanding of what a transition to the JT data format means— both in terms of its potential value to the business and the process of implementation. An assessment revealed that more than 50 percent of the client’s externally created data could feasibly be based on the ISO standard JT format.

  • Increase its design flexibility and build collaborative relationships with business partners and suppliers, regardless of their IT environments.

  • Improve its design efficiencies and accelerate its engineering processes, which translates into faster time-to-market.

  • Reduce its data preparation and collaboration efforts, which would mean its own staff and supplier organizations could focus more on designing and engineering.

  • Reduce risk during the development process because everyone uses a standard format.

  • Engage more readily with a wider range of possible suppliers worldwide, including those in high-growth markets.

Encouraged by these findings, the client is now looking at standardizing other formats and processes to drive even more value from collaboration. The transition to the JT format, which will be completed over the next year, is the first step in this larger collaboration journey. Equally important, it is a clear indicator of the client’s commitment to engineering excellence.


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