A Granta White Paper
Optimizing Materials Strategy—Can you afford not to?
Arthur Fairfull, Stephen Warde, Patrick Coulter
© 2008, Granta Design, www.grantadesign.com
A new approach to materials decisions could be worth $ millions
To succeed, manufacturing enterprises need to do much more than simply deliver products that excel at their required function. They must meet wider product design objectives that allow them to address strategic drivers such as cost, environmental legislation, and global manufacturing. Materials decisions are central to these objectives. Sustainable success requires strategies that ensure these decisions are optimized not just for individual designers, but also across the enterprise. The right materials strategy, effectively implemented, can be worth millions of dollars.
But defining and implementing such strategies can be very difficult for a typical manufacturing organization with products that use many different materials and support many applications, with operations split across many businesses or sites, and with those operations further complicated by the impact of new regulations in areas such as the environment, health, and safety.
This paper outlines an innovative approach that is being applied to address these challenges. It makes materials decisions more systematic by applying powerful techniques and software tools to capture and analyze critical materials information, and deploy the resulting ‘business rules’ to those involved in making materials decisions. The tools consider the implications of cost—whether material purchase cost or environmental cost—alongside functional requirements. And, crucially, they are delivered within a framework that helps to ensure consistency in decision-making across the enterprise, bridging between Design and Procurement goals to enhance the execution of both.
The paper begins by discussing why, and how, materials strategies could be improved in most manufacturing organizations. It then considers three categories of application where an approach such as that outlined above can help: optimized materials selection, cost avoidance through materials rationalization, and a systematic approach to eco design. A case study showing the potential multi-million dollar impact is included.
The paper then explains the technology behind the Granta solution—combining the pioneering methodology of Professor Mike Ashby’s materials performance indices with the ability to assemble the necessary materials data and to deploy the resulting strategies enterprise-wide.
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