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Building Blocks of The Digital Thread

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What are the fundamental elements that manufacturers require in their digital thread? What does their PLM system require to serve as a digital thread backbone? 

The Importance of Digital Thread 

More than 75% of manufacturers believe that the digital thread is either crucial to implementing their business strategy. These industrial businesses see the digital thread as a crucial tool for enhancing performance and gaining an edge over rivals. However, according to our research, only about 25% of businesses have a digital thread initiative in place. 

Having a thorough digital thread is evolving from a competitive advantage to a necessity. But many businesses find it difficult to find their needs and launch an initiative. The top 7 fundamentals that manufacturers should consider when implementing and supporting their digital thread are discussed in this guide, along with some important solution requirements to support them. 

Business Benefits of the Digital Thread 

The definitions of the digital thread vary widely. The two main value drivers identified in our research are streamlining engineering and ensuring digital continuity. More importantly, these elements supply the foundation for important company advancements. Benefits include increased efficiency, reduced lead times, higher levels of innovation, and more. Our research proves that businesses that have implemented a digital thread allow their technical resources to dedicate 10% more time to work that adds value, such as innovation, design, and development. 

Reduced handoffs and translations, a complete and coherent data model, connected data, traceability, reuse, and improved collaboration all contribute to this value. This is why manufacturers must have access to digital threads. 

Business plans need a unified digital thread

The digital thread, according to more than 75% of businesses, is either crucial or important to executing their business strategy. 

A variety of significant aims for their digital thread initiative are reported by surveyed companies (see chart). The diverse objectives highlight the many potential advantages of digital threads. 

While there are many definitions of the digital thread, its two main values are streamlined engineering and digital continuity. 

Streamlined Engineering 

By enabling product development teams to share and reuse design data throughout the stages of innovation, the digital thread streamlines design. Design continuity along the digital thread enables designers to directly incorporate and extend design data from earlier steps, adding their design information to a cohesive design model. 

Digital Persistence 

The digital thread captures product innovation and knowledge throughout the product lifecycle by connecting product information, decisions, and history in a structured, integrated manner. From the very beginning of innovation through development, manufacturing, service, and field operation, it establishes traceability. 

Invest in the Online World 

To simplify engineering and ensure digital continuity, invest in the digital thread. The likelihood that top performers see the digital thread as essential to advancing their business strategy is 2.6 times higher. 

Increase the Thread’s Lifecycle Length 

Adopt a broad scope that includes information from across departments. Top Performers are more likely to incorporate manufacturing, quality, and service plans into the scope of their digital thread and to bolster it with actual IoT data. 

Utilize PLM as the Foundation of Digital Manufacturing 

PLM adoption will help the digital thread. Top-performing businesses are much more likely to use PLM to support the digital thread and are 2.4 times as likely to see PLM as essential to doing so. 

Enjoy the Advantages 

Significant, quantifiable advantages of the digital thread include improved quality, accelerated time to market, increased innovation, and better compliance. Top performers receive even greater rewards than average. As an illustration, these more effective product developers allow their technical resources to invest 27% more time, on average, in activities that add value than their less effective counterparts. 

About the author

Neha Verma

Neha Verma is a content writer who has 5+ years of experience in writing content in different domains and industries. She has been working with B2B & B2C industries and has created content for presentations, the training worked on web content, and copy content. She specializes in blogging, email marketing, and digital marketing content. Currently, she lives in India.