Design-to-manufacturing processes too often are hampered by data dysfunction and misaligned organizational priorities. But concepts such as the digital thread and the digital hub may help manufacturers get products to market faster and at lower cost.

Over the last decade, we have seen a flourish of tools that facilitate collaboration within organizations, and these tools have yielded tremendous value. Using tools such cloud-based 3D design applications, we can now have engineering teams collaborate across the globe, increasing efficiency, shortening time to market, and gaining the agility to scale.

In most organizations, however, these solutions exist in independent domains with data duplication and data recreation occurring between domains. This, combined with the command-and-control structure of data management common in manufacturing, makes it difficult for organizations to be fluid and agile in a quickly-evolving world where new technology, new business models, and increased competition are emerging at a quickening pace.

Automating processes or flowing data downhill by simply transferring files, translating data formats, and importing/exporting data is not enough. Manufacturers will need a framework that will allow upstream and downstream data to be leveraged throughout the product development and manufacturing process to drive sustainable value. As described below, we envision standardized product development data hubs becoming be a key part of that framework. Success moving forward will be realized through proper management, utilization, and leveraging of the product data that is created from product concept to production to use.


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