The Institute of Configuration Management did a study and empirically derived the cost of poor data integrity. They determined that with a 5% loss in data integrity an employee is only 70% effective at his or her job. The remaining 30% of their time is spent verifying the data they have is suitable for use. It's a huge waste of human resources and costs companies real money in corrective action (although most companies can't track this cost or even recognize it as corrective action). Now, imagine if you're sending bad data to a supplier. How effective are they and what is that costing you?
Data Integrity and MBD
Data translation of solid models has improved over the years as developers have improved their translators. But, there is still the possibility that a STEP, IGES, or even 3D PDF does not exactly match the native geometry. Sending a translated model to a vendor to tool to could result in bad parts.
About two weeks ago I wrote an article about Kubotek Compare. In the article I spoke about how that software can help you achieve a paperless environment and meet requirements of MBD by comparing your native file with a translated file. Although the article is correct that Kubotek Compare does compare two files, the good folks at Kubotek contacted me and informed me that Kubotek Validation is the proper tool to use when comparing files for things like
- Detecting Translation Changes as CAD data is passed from one CAD system to another,
- Detecting Design Changes,
- Validation for Long Term Archiving (LOTAR) of CAD data,
- Validation for CAD Model Migration.
A Typical Workflow
Let's say that I create my designs in NX but my supplier uses Inventor. Ideally, I would send him my native NX file and he would import it into Inventor. But, the translation process may have errors so he would use Kubotek Validation to compare both the native NX file and the converted Inventor file to be certain there are no geometry or PMI differences.
But what if I'm sending my files to a vendor and I don't know what software tool they use. In that case, I would create a neutral file translation such as STEP and I would run Kubotek Validation comparing my native model to the STEP file for any errors. By validating the translated file, I can be assured that my vendor is getting 100% geometrically accurate data in the STEP file. The supplier, having to translate the STEP file into their native CAD software, would compare the STEP file to the translated file to assure 100% geometric and PMI accuracy. Only in this fashion can both parties be assured that there are no errors in the model.
The Cost of Data Validation
Of course there is a cost to data validation. First, and most obvious, is the cost of the validation software itself. Second, is the cost of the employee to take the time to run the comparison and interpret the results. The question you have to ask is whether or not those combined costs to assure 100% data integrity are less than the cost of building a bad tool, producing bad parts, shipping those bad parts to your customer, and either having the bad parts rejected or having a warranty recall.
Depending on the volume of data translation your company performs, it may be feasible that an employee would be spending 30% of their day validating models. Arguably nothing is saved, until you look at the exponential cost of perpetuating bad data. Validating your data at the beginning of the process is less costly than waiting until the 2nd, 3rd, or 5th contact point. Kubotek Validate mathematically compares two files using its proprietary Pattern Matching technology to ensure all differences are identified and documented. Reports can be generated, built-in repair tools can be used to correct the files, and users can be assured that their data integrity is maintained.