EPDM Core Philosophies


Good morning EPDM Developers!

Thought I take a break from developing tools and share core philosophies I have successfully used while implementing EPDM since 2006.

The philosophy used below during the last year with BizJet has measurable accomplishments:

  • 20% Overtime reduction in the Document Control department (2011 to 2012)
  • Recaptured 750 man-hours for 2012 in Supply Chain
  • Recaptured 5% of the total budgeted Production labor for the last 4 Aircraft projects
  • Consolidated information into hubs
  • Created healthy business boundaries
  • Centralized reporting

EPDM 2012 ROI: 185%
NOTE: All data validated by staff financial analyst

Below I will cover the following high level topics:

  1. Core “Process Improvement” Philosophy
  2. EPDM Perspective & Goals
  3. Core “EPDM Implementation” Philosophy



Core “Process Improvement” Philosophy

  • Change behavior through changing minds: Drive behavior change through promoting a mindset change i.e. “If the data exists in EPDM, then the data is valid, if it does not, the data is not valid”
  • Draw In vs. Roll Out: Draw departments into EPDM by promoting department ownership through creating EPDM measures of their process. Begin using the leadership forum to change behavior through changing mindsets to rely on the measures. Creates symbiotic relationships.
  • Manage all expectations with “Kentucky Windage” goals: Set realistic yet aggressive goals for process implementation but be mindful it is better to under-commit and over-deliver than the alternative.


EPDM Perspective & Goals

Leadership + Process + EPDM = Success
  • Top-down Implementation: All EPDM enhancement must come from leadership. Conversely, if the buy-in is created by agreements made with other departments, it will be promoted at the right level. If EPDM is being promoted from an engineer or technician, the enhancements for other departments are merely a “good suggestion” without any authority to make changes.
  • EPDM is a Tool: EPDM is a tool that can measure & track each department’s processes and each department needs to come to the EPDM team for assistance but unfortunately EPDM is NOT the process.
  • One Data source: Promote the mindset “One data source vs. many” and “Continually improve operations through feedback from the least senior team player”. Soliciting feedback from the least senior team player is an old concept that if they can understand it, then anyone can.
  • Create an Information Hub: Identify roles to begin consolidating information into hubs within the business. Then drive a mindset change “Only the reports coming from the established hub is a valid report.” Other departments can generate their reports if they want to but their report will be weighed against the hub report.
  • Identify Business Measures: Find a simple business measure (metric) that can be captured from EPDM easily, on a regular schedule, and can pass the mother in law test. The mother in law test is simply a question “If my mother in law read this report, could she understand it?”

Core “EPDM Implementation” Philosophy

Phase I (shown in order of priority)
  1. Support Request system to capture, prioritize, and report measurements on customer needs. Then kindly re-direct all requests received verbally or via email into a support request generated inside EPDM. This must be put in place immediately. You will see why in about 6 months. This will also help identify that this department needs to be a real department with a real manager and a couple team members to succeed. One person handling this role part time will stall the entire enhancement effort.
  2. Identify PDF as the snapshot of the output of engineering and all the native CAD data remains as “source code” (if you will). This approach will ensure all teams outside engineering have viewing capabilities.
  3. Engineering, Material, and Labor all need to be wrapped up into a representative document that can travel through operations (i.e. PDF drawing, Bill of Materials traveler, Work card traveler, etc.). Then your data mining efforts can focus on tracking the traveling of that document during its life cycle by using live data from EPDM using dashboards.
  4. Re-design workflows so Production, Procurement, Vendors (using the web client), etc. only see Released data
  5. Automate new project folder creation and new part number creation
  6. Create the Check and Approval, ECO, and Red line processes to electronically manage drawings
  7. Identify what metadata needs to be captured on the data card from the perspective that every field on the data card can also be used as a column in the file view. This can easily become both a visual report for users as well as an Excel report for leads to turn into charts.

Phase 2

  1. Enable the web client so machine shop Vendors can pull the PDF, STEP, STL, etc. data upon release
  2. Create Engineering “sandbox” for development of design ideas
  3. Add data card metadata as columns in the file view in EPDM and it can be run as a report. My favorite one is “Work In Process Comment”. Add this field to the data card then create a transition to a “dummy” state with an auto-transition to return it from where it came from rapidly. I call this a WIP loop. Engineering, supply chain, production, etc. can rapidly add a WIP comment to one or multiple files and their leads can run a report (search favorite) to show up to the minute status.
  4. Clean up legacy data as you touch it rather than a monumental effort to go back and clean it up. Begin with any data being actively used on current projects.
  5. Draw other departments into EPDM by raising awareness with eye candy. Help them identify how EPDM can help them.
Phase 3
  1. Refine existing processes and identify future enhancements
  2. Repeat


This has been the approach to implementing EPDM within BizJet during the last year and with FLIR systems in the 6 years before that. The success has been phenomenal.

Hope this is useful to someone in the industry as a reference if nothing else.
All the best.