Innovation drives engineering. Looking for new concepts and value services, being different, managing riskier and more complex projects are daily bases for engineers. Then, it is surprising to notice a decrease in R&D budgets.
The innovation process in engineering is slower due to:
- Tough deadlines. Projects are very tight in terms of time and delays are very costly. Time dedicated to innovation is reduced in projects because it is not essential and priority is to finish on-time.
- Accurate solution to a specific problem. In many cases, engineering projects consistof finding an accurate solution to a specific problem in a defined context. It is then difficult to innovate in a close frame.
- Tight budget. In engineering, margins are very low. Allow a large budget to R&D is difficult to defend or to value in project pricing.
- Engineering production processes are normalized. Innovation needs questioning.
- Customers' interest. Customers are looking for proven solutions with minimum risk.
Considering these difficulties, one of the most important levers is engineering companies and their managers' implication in innovation. To facilitate this approach and reduce investment as much as possible, innovation must be fully integrated in companies' processes. On the long term innovation is a source of added value, differentiation and profitability.
There are some existing innovation drivers such as co-financed projects and public collaboration but value innovation among employees is even more crucial. Hiring a dedicated innovation manager or providing bonuses based on innovation implication are already in place in many engineering companies to promote innovation. Having a real knowledge and innovation management strategy implies gathering best practices and methods, structuring and sharing internal and external knowledge in a company and through its partnerships.
PLM solutions provide features to assist engineering companies in their innovation strategy, it helps to:
- Gather internal and external knowledge
- Improve collaboration to benefit from a global vision of innovation
- Better manage workflows and tasks
- Reuse information, best practices and methods from former successful projects
- Analyze project progress and score carding