The Challenge in Information Management
Requirements management offers numerous challenges. Companies are offering more and more products in their range so that they can also serve niches. This allows customer requirements to be met even more individually. Parallel to this, the range of components and parts is also increasing. This leads to significantly more operational complexity, which has a negative impact on process quality and costs. Information management with methods engineering is therefore necessary.
If there are no goals with regard to diversity or lack of variant controlling, if no intelligent methods or tools are used to control complexity, companies have to overcome great challenges. Often solutions are then worked out that are not coordinated with each other and only affect certain areas in companies. However, this is not the way to master complexity. Rather, holistic concepts must be created that deal with the entire value-added process and other company processes.
Goals of complexity management
Systematic requirements management must implement three goals. The given complexity must be reduced, unavoidable complexity must be mastered and complexity must be generally prevented as a precaution. Complexity management includes various methods, the use of which must be determined beforehand through process and product analyses. Even if the entire implementation of complexity management is to be used, it is advisable to first narrow down the areas to be examined. In this way, new concepts can be implemented and methods developed more quickly. First, variant analyses are created in complexity management to identify the component variety and the variant driver. Then process analyses are carried out in Information Management, which also includes the examination of logistics chains. This is combined with an interface analysis, a SWOT analysis and process benchmarking. This makes it possible to identify the complexity of products and processes.
Information management also includes the evaluation of complexity drivers and causes. It is carried out via solution alternatives and variant strategies for which suitable measures must be found. The third step in complexity management looks to the future and is intended to avoid variants as a precaution. First, the methods and tools are tested in a consulting project. This is followed by the development of an action plan in Information Management. In this way, all the starting points of the test phase can be effectively and quickly transferred to realistic complexity management.
Requirements management and its advantages
Complexity management offers advantages throughout the entire value chain. Variant diversity costs are easier to identify in purchasing. Suppliers can be encouraged to bid for a certain number of different sub-variants and for basic variants. On this basis, the costs can be better estimated step by step as the number of parts increases. As a rule, it quickly becomes clear that increasing the number of variants increases costs by an average of ten percent.
In complexity management, however, it becomes apparent that estimating the complexity costs of production and assembly is much more difficult. Different dependencies among the many model series produced in the same plant or production line complicate the precise allocation of cost drivers. It is advisable to use a scenario-based approach in Requirements Management to estimate the costs. This involves making precise assumptions regarding the general conditions. For example, it is easier to determine the real potential of the cooperation of equal parts to the different components. If models are produced in production lines for which a certain component is required, it makes little sense to remove this element from other series with regard to complexity reduction. This does not result in real savings according to requirements management. The required component must still be available so that the complexity reduction of variant one probably has a negative effect on the complexity of variant two, for example forecast quality or delivered quantity.
It is not only important to provide the required components and parts and to answer the question from which level of the number of variants an adjustment is necessary with regard to logistics, but also the complexity reduction in the optimized planning and forecast quality must be included in complexity management. If the possible selection criteria in the quotation can be significantly restricted, this offers many advantages for the production and sales forecast. Examples have shown that reducing the number of possible configuration variants leads to a forecast accuracy that is twice as stable. Not only can the sales process be better coordinated with the dealer network, but production planning can also be significantly optimized. In addition, further increases in product efficiency are also possible and quality costs can be reduced.
Many of the steps mentioned above have a clearly positive effect on complexity costs when it comes to reducing complexity in the areas of production, purchasing and the supply chain. This requires additional implementation effort, which is limited by software.
Advantages of software for complexity management
Those who use software in complexity management benefit from considerable advantages. It provides efficient support for work in information management and requirements management. Furthermore, it helps to always keep an overview and to be able to better organize all work steps. Professional software helps to avoid or at least counteract complexity in the company. Complexity management is much easier with a suitable software. In addition, a software saves time, which allows the managing director and his employees to concentrate more on their core tasks. With complexity management software, the complexity of product development and planning can be reduced. The same applies to production, logistics and sales. Software for requirements management ensures that projects and processes can be made more transparent. In this way, information management also avoids errors. This in turn reduces the occurrence of failures. The software for complexity management works on the basis of three important pillars: complexity is to be reduced, unavoidable processes are to be avoided and unnecessary complexity is to be prevented. The measures of the software for complexity management are systemic and can be applied across industries. This results in more order and operational safety.