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How do you actually create & connect a Digital Thread?

Updated: Sep 6, 2022


  • How do we create and connect a meaningful digital thread? How do we better ensure digital continuity?

  • Recent research shows poor levels of data sharing across organizations responsible for the introduction of new products (NPI)

  • Methods to bring together our processes appear “immature”

  • How do we get started?

Reading this research from PTC and Accenture, about the digital thread, struck a chord. For me, while it makes disappointing reading around the state of our industry, it starts to demonstrate the scale of the challenges we have when it comes to impactful engineering, manufacturing, and the delivery of meaningful products.

An outline of how well we’re working together around the idea of digital threads: essentially 34% folks said data created within their own department is widely available. When you think about the nature of PLM, EDA, MES and other systems of record, this is... not great. What’s worse is that this figure drops to 16% for data outside their department, 9% for customers' data and 8% for suppliers' data.... For an idea like PLM this is also not the best.

So, what are we to do?

Some folks try to provide useful advice... organize existing silos of product information to create visibility into data, include assets in the factory and field; include access between disparate tools, methods and processes; a single version of truth with respect to product definition; connect the intersection points between functions and depts; close the loop; connect the physical back to the virtual, and more.

Sounds useful, right? It’s not wrong, per se.

But, think about how you’d actually go about doing all of this, and what the result would be?

Think it would be time consuming getting all those folks to agree? When done would your processes be out of date, or up to date? Think the people who wrote them would still be working for your organization? Do we even know what some of their processes are?

To quote on ex-employer, “Do we even know, what we don’t know?”

I don’t think we do. I think we need something simpler than this. Something that can work for the majority, not just huge companies with huge IT budgets and vague allusions to data and AI driven bots finding needles in haystacks.

At Authentise we’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about, and working on this challenge. Talking to manufacturers we know we’re not alone in our thinking.

If you want to know more about our solutions and use cases, reach out to us.

If you’d like to take part in the conversation, tell us more about your thoughts in the comments section of this blog!


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