Until CADTALK, other applications that integrated CAD and PLM systems with ERP simply linked the data assuming a one-to-one match in bills of material. But every engineer understands that this simply cannot work as the eBOM and mBOM are often drastically different and CAD has no concept of manufacturing routings or operations defining the method of manufacturing. To complicate matters, new items are entered into CAD that never existed in the ERP and items are updated in CAD requiring manual edits to those existing items in the ERP system. Further, a fully-functional manufacturing routing needs additional missing information not available in the CAD system – machines, work centers, scrap calculations, manufacturing run times, queue or setup times, move times, operator factors, and so much more.
Most manufacturers today rely on highly-paid technical staff – either in engineering or IT – to decipher the engineering bill of materials and manually transpose that information into the ERP system. This process is extremely prone to data entry error and can take hours for a single engineering revision or days for completely new product designs. Further, the person entering this information must make a lot of assumptions regarding the missing data including the manufacturing routing details and is apt to make considerable errors which cause downstream issues with material planning, production scheduling, and manufacturing costing. And those errors can affect a company’s financials and can take days to correct – especially if they go unnoticed for an extended period of time. Consider the impact of incorrect finished goods costing using FIFO, LIFO, or Actual costing. If the finished good costs are incorrect, it is likely to require a cost accountant to correct the underlying cost tiers, to rebuild inventory cost tables, and to make adjustments to the cost of goods sold and other general ledger accounts.
Technology has transformed manufacturing – from the inception of the assembly line to robotics and now with Industry 4.0 technology we are on the dawn of a new era of technology to drive manufacturing efficiencies even further than we ever imagined.
At its core, CADTALK was designed for optimum flexibility and simplicity. CADTALK AI is not a product – you don’t have to buy it. It is embedded within the CADTALK suite of products. The AI rules engine allows for extremely technical transformations of data making assumptions to fill in the missing pieces. When CADTALK sees multiple items at a specific level in the bill of material, it knows there is likely to be an assembly operation. If it sees that there is a hole in a part, it assumes the hole must be drilled. CADTALK’s AI functionality is best in class and we are continually working to improve it. Where will we go with AI? As far as we can. The day is not that far away when CADTALK will included machine learning to figure things out on its own. And we envision a future where CADTALK operates automatically, seamlessly, and quietly in the background without human intervention.
For now, CADTALK can operate as a black box – in an unattended mode but most engineers prefer to review the data before processing the information from CAD into the ERP application to make small adjustments that AI simply cannot compute with today’s technology. We also envision a day when you interact with CADTALK much like you do with Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or the Google Assistant where you can ask questions, receive immediate notifications and alerts, and let the software do the work for you so you can do what you do best – design great products.