Our world today is unquestionably digital. Now, more than ever, organizations are faced with the need to modernize their business methods and shift their mindset to encompass digital innovation, lest they fall behind the competition. However, keeping up with industry and technological trends for the sake of remaining competitive is not always sufficient motivation for an enterprise to make major – and potentially costly – changes to their day-to-day operations.

A large part of making the case for digital organizational change revolves around selling the idea and educating stakeholders, specifically the executive leadership team, on why this change is necessary for the long-term success of the business. Creating stakeholder alignment is vital before any significant organizational change can occur. As such, gaining executive buy-in should be a preliminary step when making a case for change.

Selling Model-Based Change

When selling the concept of model-based definition (MBD), knowing your audience is key. Begin by looking at your organization in depth and determining what leg of the stool is going to sell the idea. While the bottom line may vary from one person to the next, see below for four key points to consider when making your case.

1. Return on Investment

Revenue is critical to every organization. Executives will likely ask questions that revolve around cost and return on investment (ROI) during a pitch for MBD.

Thankfully, there are several opportunities for a positive ROI and revenue gain on both the engineering and consumption sides of MBD. Calculating an exact percentage increase before diving in may be difficult, but industry studies indicate organizations have seen approximately 10 percent savings on the engineering side and 30 to 40 percent savings on the consumption side.

On the engineering side, which focuses on product definition and geometry, MBD presents an opportunity to reduce the amount of information that goes into the product definition process. Allowing the model to speak for itself can help streamline the engineering process by diminishing the need for drawings. Modernizing product definition to use 3D computer-aided design (CAD) models with geometry and product manufacturing information (PMI) can also enable increased automation, which will ultimately support expedited validation and inspection phases downstream.

The consumption side is all about reuse and eliminating the need for re-creation within manufacturing and quality phases. Increasing the reuse intent alone can save considerable time and mitigate human error throughout the product lifecycle.

At an enterprise level, there is a return for executing MBD efforts. That said, most benefits are realized in consumption phases, even though engineering is doing a majority of the heavy lifting by authoring machine-readable PMI.

2. Contractual Requirements

We are in a pivotal time where everything is becoming increasingly digital, a trend that’s reflected in contractual requirements for government projects and programs. This is especially prevalent within the Department of Defense as contracts are requesting 3D CAD models and file formats as a part of the deliverable.

Contractual requirements have not always requested digital capabilities, so it raises the question—why are they moving toward being model-based now?

Firstly, the number of organizations who are successfully operating using MBD has sharply increased, so it is likely the government will request it simply because they can. Secondly, geometry within CAD models is becoming increasingly complex. With complexity rising, parts are becoming more difficult to create in drawing format. Models are becoming necessary because the machines being used to create prismatic shapes and complex parts require a 3D model.

Contractual obligations can make it seem as if there is no choice but to take steps to incorporate MBD, especially when multiple vendors are competing for the same contract.

When making a case for change, it’s common for contractual requirements to be what initially seals the deal. There are billions of dollars wrapped up in government programs and for many businesses, winning these contracts is a necessity. This factor should not only help to solidify the need for MBD but expedite the implementation process.

3. Other Digital Business Strategies

As a whole, the model-based enterprise (MBE) is made up of several model-based strategies. For MBE to work well, there must be a strong base upon which all digital initiatives within an organization will be built.

MBD can function as a foundational element, facilitating all other digital strategies across an enterprise. Having a solid foundation in place makes it easier to build up and tie all digital models and strategies together. For example, when implementing model-based methodologies into downstream phases such as manufacturing and quality, having a strong digital foundation supports data interoperability and reduces the need for work re-creation. Without the foundational piece, additional digital business initiatives will be costlier to initiate, require more work to execute, and may not be able to stand for long on their own.

4. External Stakeholders

Thanks to the ubiquity of digital technologies, your external stakeholders are most likely making strides to increase their digital capabilities too—whether that be suppliers, customers, and/or competitors. If this is the case, stakeholders beyond your internal organization may need more than a 2D drawing and organically require a 3D CAD model.

When collaborating with external suppliers and customers, aligning on what type of artifact is being used as the authoring source matters. If your organization is operating using 2D artifacts as the authoritative source and your suppliers or customers are using 3D CAD models, the 2D artifact will need to be validated and recreated in a 3D format for it to be usable by the supplier or customer. The need for re-creation will add time to the production process and can increase the risk of human error or mismatched files. On a macro level, an authoring source mismatch may signal to the external stakeholder that your organizations are not a fit when it comes to proficiency with – and commitment to – the latest technologies.

If your competitors are successfully operating in a 3D MBD environment, it will give them an edge over you. Optimized workflows and improved data interoperability downstream will expedite time to market and ultimately save on cost. Additionally, as mentioned previously, when it comes to winning contracts, those who are successfully operating using MBD will have a better shot at winning the work, especially if 3D models or MBD are listed as deliverables.

When making a case for change, it is important to look at external stakeholders and partners beyond your immediate organization and assess their status in terms of model-based adoption. Implementing MBD can be daunting when there is no straight line to a successful outcome, but there is a lot to be learned from others who are working towards the same goal, which can support in driving your initiative.

Gaining Buy-in and Keeping it Overtime

Gaining organizational buy-in is a crucial step in the model-based implementation process. Once internal stakeholders are on board, meeting the necessary milestones will help keep them excited about model-based initiatives. Creating a roadmap or matrix that includes metrics for gauging and tracking success overtime should support forward momentum and keep your organization on the right track as it continues its digital transformation.

Belcan subject matter experts are experienced in laying the groundwork for model-based change and gaining buy-in at an executive level. For support or to gain more insight on getting started with your digital journey, click here.

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