The Case for a Digital Thread

Global manufacturers’ systems and processes have been exposed in this time of uncertainty and constant change. Problems with people, process, and technology you thought you had time to address now require a pace of acceleration that even in “normal” times would be difficult to achieve. Now, there is no room for failure. Those that succeed, win. The payback for them is productivity gains, rapid shifts aligned to customer demand, and a reliable feedback loop for next generation products. The problem is most organizations are inefficient where it counts most—Engineering, Manufacturing, and Quality.

As a business leader it’s your responsibility to execute the strategic objectives mandated by executive leadership. These are wrapped in concepts like Digital Transformation—but what is really keeping everyone up at night is not having the ability to collaborate effectively. These issues are now compounded by new workforce models allowing flexibility regarding where teams work. This is slowing down your business, resulting in a lack of visibility, uncovering disconnected processes and tools, and increasing time spent searching and communicating the right context.

It’s time to combat this and accomplish great things as a result—delivering on-time product launches, improving product quality and innovation—lowering operating costs at the same time. How? By taking a thoughtful approach to product lifecycle traceability through building a Digital Thread. The Digital Thread links critical information allowing you to track a product and its digital assets from concept through design, manufacturing, quality, and field maintenance. Implementing a Digital Thread will result in productivity gains, improved response to customer needs, market expansion opportunities, and sustainable feedback loops for innovation, including Digital Twin applications.

The purpose of this eBook is to help you understand how the Digital Thread is fundamental to successfully increasing efficiencies in your organization and improving collaboration — regardless of the workforce model—between teams, groups, and the broader enterprise in which you work. It provides actionable ideas for business leaders to implement a Digital Thread incrementally and make a big impact with productivity gains.

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