Web-based product development software tailor-made for the auto industry is the latest offering from Ohio-based SDRC.

Express Automotive Solution drastically reduces the time it takes manufacturers to go from concept to production, says Dave Taylor, SDRC’s director-automotive solutions.

"We can get ’em up and running in 90 days," Mr. Taylor says.

The key is data management.

During the early stages of a project, manufacturers are confronted with a myriad of issues and problems such as satisfying engineering requirements and determining material usage. However, many of these decisions have already been made. The challenge is finding the right data. And that’s what SDRC provides.

"Think about putting a puzzle together for example," Mr. Taylor says. "If you open up a puzzle box and you have a thousand-piece puzzle and you have to put it together, it’s going to take a long time. But if you open that box and the last person that did the puzzle, put it back in there in big chunks …"

The task becomes simpler – and cheaper.

"That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’ve got the chunks of the puzzle already put together. All we have to do is glue them together." says Mr. Taylor.

Adds Keith Charron, SDRC’s vice-president and general manager: "We say, ‘We can do it in 90 days.’ They’re kind of suspicious but we’ve done it enough times."

Among SDRC’s success stories are the Mondeo, Ford’s acclaimed European passenger car. Its launch took place 13 months before it would have without the software, SDRC says.

American Axle and Mfg. Inc. enjoyed similar success when it was asked to design a new component and, using SDRC’s system, located a similar design which served as a jumping off point. From there, AAM tweaked the drawings according to required specifications and cut nine months off its design/engineering process, saving $1.2 million.