All too often there are ramblings about project management being an overhead cost to avoid, along with a litany of reasons why that opinion is being shared. The reality is, project management occurs whether it is formalized or not. Without dedicated project management, processes become burdensome for those involved in the project, often distracting them from their actual role and efficient execution of their expertise. The result impedes success.  

Success can be defined in many ways – in the Project Management world the focus is on the accomplishment of an aim or purpose within the constraints of scope, time and cost. Overlooking any one of these constraints and the success of the project will be delayed or difficult to achieve. 

What does success look like?

One of the first questions that needs to be addressed when starting a project is, “What does success look like?”  
 
This is important to know for all people involved in a project – Executive sponsors, Managers, End Users, and those involved in maintaining the product once the project has been brought to life. Without this clear vision a project can end up with dissatisfied end users, delays caused by re-establishing intent (and potential for increased cost) or worst of all, the project gets cancelled.  

MAJOR STAKEHOLDERS

There are (2) primary stakeholders involved in a project: those delivering the project and those who benefit from the project. Their alignment is crucial and will require a representative (Project Manager) that will actively communicate internally within the organization during the project and provide the catalyst for collaboration with all participants. Without these representatives, single points of contact from each organization could make responsibility and accountability unclear, introducing additional risk to the project. 

MINOR STAKEHOLDERS

These are the resources that tackle the technical elements of the project. There is collaboration between those delivering and those benefitting from the project, and it is important they understand who to turn to in the event technical issues hinder or block their progress. Having a person serving in the role of Project Manager removes “management of the minutia” from the technical resources so they can focus on the tasks where their expertise can be applied to and benefit the project. As minor as this may seem, maintaining focus on what they do best helps maintain desired timelines and cost constraints and makes them easier to achieve.  

RISKS

Project Managers ask, “What are the risks”?”  

Every project has risk potential that needs to be identified and managed in a way that avoids or prepares for risks throughout the project. This is important to be managed by a single point of contact from each stakeholder to keep the risks clear, identify and log the implications for each risk, and develop contingency plans in the event they are unavoidable. One of the more common risks is the resources of those who gain the benefit of the project are also trying to maintain their daily activities. Sometimes communication is lacking on incoming project, giving project managers a short notice on project details. Those delivering the project then end up coordinating their effort around the daily business of those who benefit.  

MANAGING CONSTRAINTS

Scope, Time & Cost – the 3 constraints Project Management aims to fulfill. On the outside it seems simple right? The problem is these constraints conflict. If a short timeline is needed, that may require overtime or additional resources thereby driving up cost. If the scope is changed, that typically has an impact on timing, as well as cost. These need to be addressed with an objective eye toward the goal of providing a quality product that fulfills the needs of the end-users.  

Scope is the most common constraint that tends to change because of missing detail identification that wasn’t involved when the project budget was established. Project Management then needs to usher all of the resources involved to determine if the change is a necessity or just nice to have. If it is a necessity, finances and management will be engaged to coordinate a change request and communicate the implications. The goal is to re-establish expectations while keeping all the balls in the air to minimize impact on the remaining elements of the project.      

HERDING CATS?

Though this brief outline may be common circumstances of any project, each project differs and has a tendency to take their own path – making Project Management even more crucial. EAC has dedicated Program and Project Management in an effort to provide the foundation for success and build the partnership required to not only succeed in the short-term, but to assure strategic business initiatives are kept in sight with all projects existing and future. 

Here are the top 10 blogs that our readers loved from this year:

10. Form 3B: Formlabs New Biocompatible 3D Printer

Form 3B Dental Lab

Formlabs released a new Form 3B 3D printer for biocompatible materials. Read the blog if you’re interested in:

  • Knowing the difference between the Form 3 and the Form 3B
  • Form 3B 3D printer price
  • Resin compatibility with the Form 3B
  • Ordering free dental sample parts

9. New Soft, Elastic Engineering Resin from Formlabs

Formlabs released a new Elastic Resin – highly elastic and strong material for prototypes and parts. This new resin is a long-lasting, tear-resistant, and made of resilient material that can withstand repeated use. You may be interested in knowing more if you can relate to these use cases:

  • Wearables and consumer goods prototyping
  • Medical visual simulation and devices
  • Compliant features for robotics
  • Special effects props and models

8. PLM Apps Benefit Business

PLM Apps Benefit Business

Most companies lose a lot of time and money when employees are challenged with finding relevant, up-to-date product data. According to the Harvard Business Review, workers waste approximately 50% of their time locating data, finding and correcting errors, and searching for sources to confirm the accuracy of data. PLM Apps can help.

If you manage PLM systems and organize CAD data within your company you’ll find this blog helpful. In it you’ll read about:

  • How PLM apps are meant for ease-of-use with your PLM system
  • How multiple PLM softwares can be integrated
  • How PLM apps controls security and access to desired teams
  • How customized PLM apps can align with your business strategy

7. ERP vs PLM – What’s the Difference?

ERP vs PLM - What's the Difference?

We have you take a deep dive into your digital transformation initiatives – which in return, will help you develop the skills to choose the right technology for your organization. This blog breaks down:

  • What’s trending in ERP & PLM enterprise systems
  • The differences and similarities between ERP & PLM
  • How you can use ERP & PLM together for most impactful ROI
  • PTC Windchill PLM software and its integration with other systems

6. Bill of Materials Management- What You Need to Know

analysis-business-close-up-1179800

If you have experience with bill of materials (BoMs) or are just learning about it – you may want to brush up on the info in this blog. We cover:

  • Defining bill of materials: ebom, mbom, and sbom
  • Importance of accurate BoM processes and reporting
  • How BoM management plays a role in system integration
  • Custom bill of materials app – BoM Reports

5. Formlabs Releases New 3D Printers using LFS Technology

Formlabs Releases New 3D Printers using LFS Technology

Formlabs retired the Form 2 SLA desktop 3D printer and released 2 new printers at the beginning of the year – the Form 3 and Form 3L. Read this blog to find the answers to these questions:

  • What are SLA and LFS 3D printing? And how the processes different?
  • What other technologies are leveraged with LFS?
  • What are the benefits of LFS 3D printing?
  • What is an LPU and why does it matter?

4. PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0 is here!

PTC Mathcad Prime 6.0

Mathcad 6.0 is the newest release of PTC’s engineering calculations software for engineers. The release is meant to help improve your productivity and overall usability to make your job easier every day when it comes to math notations in product development.

Here are some of the new improvements:

  • Customized margin dimensions, including headers and footers
  • Spellcheck, multi-language keyboard, and hyperlinks have been added
  • 2D ChartApp options such as exporting your plot as an image file
  • New symbolic calculation engine

3. Form 2 vs Form 3: Formlabs SLA 3D printer comparison

Form 2 vs Form 3 | EAC Product Development Solutions

If you’re wondering how the Form 3 compares to the Form 2, we’re able to tell you the differences between the two Formlabs 3D printing machines. The Form 2 is no longer available for purchase – but we’ll point out the improvements in the Form 3 (which IS available for purchase) such as:

  • Why LFS (Form 3) is better technology than SLA (Form 2)
  • Easier support removal for nearly finished prints
  • Flexible tank reduces stress during peeling process
  • More precise detail and quality 3D prints

2. Formlabs Form 3 & Form 3L: Answers to your FAQs

Formlabs 3D Printers: Form 3 and Form 3L

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the retirement of the Form 2, the Form 3, and the Form 3L. Here are a few questions we answer including:

  • How accurate is the Form 3? How fast is the Form 3?
  • How much bigger is the Form 3L build volume?
  • What are the biggest differences between Form 2 and Form 3?
  • What parts are cross-compatible between Form 2 and Form 3?

1. What is PTC Windchill Software?

PTC Windchill PLM Software

If you’re looking for a new PLM system to add to your organization – try PTC’s Windchill. We’ll break down everything you need to know including:

  • What’s the origin of PTC Windchill software?
  • How much does Windchill PLM cost?
  • PLM products: PDM Essentials, PDMLink, ProjectLink, PartsLink
  • Admin, support (Alliance Program), and certified training

System integration is much easier than you might think; here’s why.

The idea of linking business systems and consolidating data, also known as system and data integration, has become a major initiative for many companies – but most organizations have no idea where to start. Why? It’s an overwhelming topic! Organizations operate using any number of complex business systems. The idea of connecting everything seems hard. 

We live in world that is continually being transformed by data, yet much of the data we capture is held captive in disconnected enterprise systems that often include ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, and QMS systems to name a few. This article explains why it is much easier to successfully integrate data and systems than you think.

What is system integration and how does it work?

System integration involves linking together component subsystems ensuring those separate, specialized business systems function as a coordinated whole. You might think of system integration a way to aggregate business subsystems so all systems within a business environment cooperate together as one.

The importance of system integration

When all enterprise systems work together as one, an organization is able to obtain new levels of role-based productivity and company-wide collaboration.

By combining disparate systems that operate with their own distinct data sets, an organization can improve product quality and performance, reduce operational costs, improve response times, and increase overall value to customers. We’ve watched our customers recognize exponential returns as more systems and users come together. It’s much easier to combine and integrate systems and data than you might think and let’s talk about why.

System integration solutions exist!

The problem with integrating systems/data is not a lack of technology – great system integration solutions exist! In fact, there are numerous connectivity tools and software applications available on the market today, that can simplify and speed up system integration. Many of these connectivity tools work in real-time, between data warehouses, software applications, IoT platforms and more!

Connectivity tools, such as applications and system plugins, enable organizations to easily create an environment of integrated data and information. These environments help manage the business itself and automate many tedious back-office functions related to technology, services, and human resources.

Take product lifecycle management applications (PLM apps) for example.

PLM applications connect all system data (from systems such as ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, QMS, & more) and easily transform that data into a single interface with instant visualization. This allows someone from purchasing to instantly access materials, inventory and any other information they might need – without disrupting certain system operators. Furthermore, chances are that a partner from one of your current enterprise systems already is or has a system integration expert that can help you integrate your enterprise systems. (but in the case that you don’t, our company EAC Product Development solutions is capable and happy to help – it is one of many areas that we specialize)

Systems Integration tools are easy to implement

Today many enterprise system platforms can multiplex the reach of information and functionality that you already have on your business and make it reachable.

The steady shift of business systems into web-based connected architectures has made it easier than ever to connect enterprise systems! As a matter of fact, enterprise systems that you’re already using are likely to already have built-in application program interface (API) capabilities.

These built in API capabilities allow applications to talk to each other, while specifying how software components should interact. It boils down to this; get the right software to leverage your system’s API capabilities and you’re on your way to integrate business systems.

System data integration platforms can be affordable

Not only are there many integration applications and tools available on market today, but many of these connectivity solutions are becoming more and more affordable.

One of the greatest benefits of system integration solutions is that they oftentimes cost only a fraction of what it would cost to implement an entirely new enterprise system to do something! And the benefits quickly outweigh the costs when your productivity levels spike!

Integration applications are easy to use:

It’s now easier and less risky than ever to use data integration tools. In fact, many integration applications are designed with the user in mind.

Today many system data integration applications incorporate extremely easy-to-use, ready out-of-the-box features and capabilities! A great example is a tool like ThingWorx, PTC Navigate, or EAC Productivity Apps. These tools are designed to quickly provide integrated access to timely relevant information.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make the most out of your enterprise system data by integrating your systems.

Need help getting started? That’s what EAC Product Development Solutions is here for. It’s our job to make your system integration smooth, easy, and effortless. Let’s talk about the next steps. We would love to help you find a system integration solution that fits your organizational needs. Fill out the form to have someone from EAC contact you about integrating all of your systems, once and for all!