A MBD Cautionary Tale: Underestimating the Benefits

References Cited

Mechanical Computer Aided Design (MCAD), Model Based Definition (MBD), Model Based Development

Studies Cited

The ROI of MBD Study

Pursuing an MBD initiative is much like any strategic effort: it requires executive buy-in. Leadership is often presented with the potential benefits in terms of hard monies and organizational productivity gains balanced against monetary investments and changes to processes and practices. As shown in this research report, adopting an MBD initiative is worth the effort, but it must be done the right way. In this context, it becomes imperative to set the proper expectations. Unfortunately, a number of cohorts surveyed for this research report have underestimated or overestimated the benefits of such MBD initiatives to an extreme.

Comparing Against Projected Estimates

A major cohort defined in this research study includes those that only release drawings as their engineering documentation. As these organizations are also candidates that may consider implementing an MBD initiative, it is also crucial for them to accurately assess associated benefits to set executive expectations correctly.

Their estimates to develop a fully annotated model is markedly higher than those of other organizations, on average coming in at 14.1 hours. Interestingly, this is more than twice the estimates of organizations releasing drawings and models, which averaged 6.9 hours. However, it is not as different as the estimate of organizations releasing MBD deliverables today, which averaged 11.7 hours. Overall, estimates from drawing-based organizations represent a 60% increase over the amount of time it would take to develop the fully annotated drawing dataset. While this is nearly double the productivity loss of 33% estimated by organizations releasing MBD deliverables today, at least it is not portraying a benefit for engineering productivity when it would result in a detriment.

Why would a drawing-based organization estimate the effort to develop a fully annotated model to be so high? Likely having released drawings as a standard practice for decades, transitioning to MBD deliverables can represent a radical change, leading some to err, in their estimates, on the side of caution.

Finding: Underestimating the Benefit of MBD

Finding: Underestimating the Benefit of MBD

On the left is the average of the estimate to create the fully annotated drawing dataset by All Respondents cohort. In the middle is the average of the estimate to create the fully annotated model dataset by the Drawing-Reliant cohort. On the right is the average of the estimate to create the fully annotated model dataset by the Model-Based cohort. Details on all of these estimates and cohorts can be found in the ROI of MBD study page.

Comparing Against Real Performance

Interestingly, these drawing-based organizations estimate the effort to develop the minimally annotated model dataset accurately, coming in at an average of 6.3 hours compared to the 6.7 hours estimated by organizations releasing MBD deliverables today. At least drawing-based organizations clearly assess the productivity they could gain by transitioning to minimally annotated models. The outstanding issue is whether or not they realize they can rely on the inherent ability of the model geometry to convey the complete and detailed geometric form of a component.

The Takeaway

Therein lies the second cautionary tale: drawing-based organizations need to realize they will likely underestimate the benefit of transitioning to MBD deliverables. Realize that minimally annotated models represent a real opportunity to improve engineering productivity.