Engineering Knowledge Management Solution - Project Management & Database technology


Sara Lynn

I just started a new job and have been put in charge of a new project. I need some input if you don't mind. I have been asked to create a presentation for Engineering Knowledge Management Solutions. This catch phrase is to incorporate both Project Management and Database technology for documents and lessons learned. The message I have to get across is that by using either project management services, staff augmentation, or consulting, combined with using a software program, you can reduce cost and save time. So, I guess what I am asking is does this pose a valuable solution for the Engineering community? Does anyone need this over all solution? If yes, what would be the key points to hit that would really sell it. Thanks in advance for the input.


I am working on a similar project to develop a six sigma project tracking database (MS-Access) for one of my clients. They have over 16000 employees at close to 400 sites, so they want a database they can enter project information into that all locations can access. For example, if the regional HQ here works on a project to increase invoice accuracy all information will be entered in the database to be shared at other locations. Instead of starting a project from scratch, the regional HQ in CA can borrow the tools used the first time, learn from what worked, did not work, etc.

I think it would be a valuable resource for engineers to be able to quickly reference similar projects from the past or other groups. Too often they re-invent the wheel every time a project is done. For example, one place I worked had a large inventory of small screws, nuts, etc. we used in our products. For a 4-40 1" screw our database would list the part # and description "screw". It was impossible to determine what the actual features of the part were, so instead of searching each engineer would create a new part number every time they needed a #4-40 screw in a part. After many years we hired a harware company to manage our inventory and found we had 50+ part numbers for the exact same thing with 100,000s of extra pieces in stock.

Lesson learned above - make the database easy to search and detailed. I have included a keyword function in the one I am developing now. I set up a hyperlink table to be able to attach external documents like budgets, spreadsheets, memos, etc. Most narrative information will be kept in the database so it is searchable, but the hyperlink allows large files to be attached.

Sell it on the fact that it should reduce development time, plus meet the ISO requirements of evaluating previous design projects. It would also be a valuable resource for things gone right/wrong analysis.

Just a thought...

For a database of the kind Tom described it may be a good idea to use different interfaces, tailored acc. to the needs of different groups of users.

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