We are all guilty of it. It will take me less time to re-model / re-draw this part than it would be to find it somewhere in the labyrinth of my file store. You laugh because its true... If you haven't done it then somebody else in your company has.
Here's another example - a directory structure that's 17 levels deep (or more). Admit it guys - your directory structures are insanely deep, right? What's the purpose behind the endless folders? It's your search process. Lets see - product line, model year, engineering, Bills parts, WIP, Front End, Green Parts, 000-X, 000-12-X,... Those directory structures are your saved searches, they exist because its your learned logic behind finding and saving the parts and assemblies you are working on. But in my mind its the equivalent of putting your material on the other end of the manufacturing floor instead of within arms reach within a work cell.
Have you ever tried to quantify the amount of time your staff takes navigating through directory structures? Most likely, no. Has your manufacturing floor analyzed the time it takes to gather material for assembly? They better have.
Ask yourself this more general question then - Do you analyze waste to the same degree that the guys in the manufacturing floor do?
What if the person on the assembly line decided that it would be easier to drive to the hardware store to get a fastener because he can't find it in the parts bin? He would be fired. But why is that same thing - the SAME THING - simply accepted when it comes to finding engineering files for re-use? It's almost like we've thrown our hands up in the air and simply accept waste in many forms within engineering just as the cost of doing business.
I have an opinion (of course) on why waste is acceptable in engineering, but I want to hear yours. Let me know if I'm completely off base here guys...
MFG Engineer to Boss Man "I can buy this new machining center at X million and turn out 5 more parts an hour. ROI = 1 year."
Boss Man - "Way to save the company money MFG! Big new shiny Makino, or Mori on the way, and a fat Christmas bonus to you for keeping an eye on costs."
Engineer to Boss Man - "I want to upgrade to a new Product Data Management solution to help my team organize files, reuse data, and collaborate more effectively."
Boss Man - "We don't have the budget for that, in fact I want you to cut another engineer, and drop your insanely expensive X thousand dollar software subscription"
See the difference? Spending hundreds of thousands or millions on maching centers is easy to justify. It's the perceived value and quantifiable return on investment. We (the collective we here, you and I...) always talk about technology in terms of features and wicked cool renderings, and oh look at that shiny new button isn't that a cool feature. If we looked at the adoption and value of technology in more quantifiable means to the same extend and degree of vigor that manufacturing does, capital expenditures for the procurement of technology are easier to justify.
And it's not just the hard costs either. Imagine buying a new Mori and expecting your machinists to just figure out how to run it on their own. That would NEVER happen and you know it. In order to get the highest return on that investment, the guys running it will have to be trained up on how to run it. Why then is it acceptable to invest in technology for engineers and not train them up on it, rather let them learn it on their own...? Wasteful.
So I ask you... Why is waste acceptable?