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Configuration Management as an enabler for Digital Transformation

What is Configuration Management?

Configuration Management is a ​​transverse discipline and enabler that pilots and manages the technical description of a product as well as all the modifications made during its evolution. It is a set of processes that ensures the conformity of a product to the requirements. Configuration Management focuses on establishing and maintaining consistency in the performance, functional and physical features of a product or service with its requirements, design, and information over its lifecycle.

It consists of five interrelated functions that, when collectively applied, allow the organizations to maintain consistency between product configuration information and the product itself throughout its life cycle. These functions are Configuration Management Planning, Configuration Identification, Configuration Change Management, Configuration Status Accounting and Configuration Verification and Audit.

Here are some activities supported by Configuration Management:

  • End to End traceability of critical components.
  • Proper identification and documentation of product elements, interfaces, and interdependencies.
  • Management of change requests.
  • Control and documentation of approved changes to baselines.
  • Proper incorporation of verified changes in all affected items and documentation.
  • Conformity and consistency between a product and its design requirements, supporting documentation and associated production and sustainment systems.
  • A complete audit trail of design decisions and modifications.
  • Continued assurance of system supportability and interoperability, consistent with the approved life-cycle sustainment strategies.

Why does Digital Transformation require a strong Configuration Management asset to be successful?

For a few years, manufacturing industries are facing major digital disruption on numerous fronts and this is initiating and driving a new era of digital transformation. Competition and changings demands are pushing the organizations to rethink and re-engineer the way their products are designed, manufactured and sold in order to reduce cost, improve customer experience and increase profitability. Moreover, digitalisation, automation, complex systems … in products are increasing in an exponential way and it is crucial to ensure consistency and reliability at delivery to the end users and customers to meet their needs on one hand, and cope with the regulations of the certification authorities on the other hand. This is where Configuration Management plays a key role.

Configuration Management breaks the siloed processes that are hindering digital transformation efforts. It is an enabler for an enhanced collaboration that supports cross-functional teams to significantly decrease time-to-market, improve product quality, lower risks, remove costly errors and ensure a seamless product lifecycle. In this context, manufacturers need now more than ever a solution that aligns every business function that touches configured products – from engineering and sales to manufacturing and service – to a single source of configuration truth. To do so, Configuration Management is the major key to ensure consistent data and reliable up-to-date product information and provide a platform for cross-functional collaboration that can transform the organization to make it more efficient, agile, responsive and competitive.

Example: Configuration Management is central for Digital Twin?

The digital twin is the data and intelligence that represent the structure and interrelated conditions of a physical item at any point in its lifecycle. It is very powerful and used to optimize the physical item and improve operational performance on one hand, and enterprise business processes on the other hand. Digital twins are the future of managing the asset configuration data by ensuring trusted information such as the configuration of the requirements. Configuration management secures up-to-date, available, and accessible data and gives complete control even during concurrent change projects.

Having trusted and accurate data is the lifeblood of Digital Twin. Failing to provide reliable configuration status creates problems, such as loss of integrity, unreliable decision making, and personnel unable to perform their roles effectively. The digital twin is only as good as the data it is built upon.

MENAPS footprint in Configuration Management and Digital environments:

At MENAPS, we act as a partner and take a problem-solving approach to truly understand and address our customers’ challenges. We combine our mission-centric attitude with our technical and management expertise to deliver the right results. Our customers in diverse domains rely on the experience of our digital transformation experts combined with our expertise in Configuration Management to build their high-trust environments. You can rely as well on our capabilities to bring value in each step of your value chain to meet your challenges in a complex, fast-changing and unpredictable environment nowadays. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.

Mehdi Kanzari – Senior Consultant & Configuration Management Expert