The Value of Robust Materials Information Management

Lionel Grealou Engineering 2 minutes

Centrally managing materials information in a holistic manner across the enterprise is critical for manufacturing organizations ultimately seeking to enhance products, processes and profitability. Selecting and applying the right materials data is not just for R&D or materials engineers – it concerns every design and support activities and is especially relevant to describe all aspects of the materials life-cycle, mechanical, thermal properties, processing and other contextual properties, standards and codes, purchasing information, security, source and export traceability, certification, product management and other sub-functions.

Materials Life-cycle Management is integral to effective end-to-end Product Life-cycle Management (PLM).

Effective materials information management can contribute to avoidance of problems and risks:

  • Valuable, consolidated, rationalised (concise but exhaustive), centrally managed and up-to-date materials, including properties which are fit-for-purpose to enable Digital Engineering and Simulation (kinematics, stress, thermal, etc.).
  • Increased product innovation, quality, integrity, safety, accuracy and full traceability of materials data – from test data to Finite Element Analysis (FEA), from data capture, analysis, deployment and maintenance.
  • Increased efficiency of data management and analysis, saving time and money, and increasing competitiveness.
  • Better accessibility of material data, ‘what you need, when you need it, in the format that you require’.
  • Better management and introduction of new materials.
  • Better knowledge capture for future re-use.

Simulations and materials data represent a huge amount of data to manage, which can be easily lost, often available in pockets, which means that it is difficult and time-consuming to find and understand (it sometimes referred as “engineering archaeology” – this is perhaps why most materials management gurus are PhDs). Challenges related to materials information management typically relate to productivity and data integrity due to:

  • Data stored in different sources.
  • Data losses.
  • Data misuses or lack of use.
  • Data inconsistencies.
  • Data source (un)traceability.

These issues need to be addressed through a combination of good practice, robust processes, and appropriate PLM information systems.

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on LinkedIn on 14 February 2015.

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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