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Improving the Supply Chain with Model-Based Definition

Category: Supply Chain Jun 24, 2021

Model-Based Definition (MBD) is a documentation technique that captures product definition requirements inside a 3D data set from 3D models within CAD software. It is not a new concept to the manufacturing industry, and yet MBD has yet to be widely implemented, but Jennifer Herron is trying to change that. The CEO and Founder of Action Engineering, Herron has been working with the technology for more than 14 years to help companies improve their business results.

In fact, it’s not just a cliche to say she “wrote the handbook on MBD,” because she really did. Check out the second edition of Re-Use Your CAD: The Model-Based Handbook, which she released in February. She is also vice-chair of the ASME committee on Model-Based Enterprise (MBE, of which MBD is a subset).

Jennifer Herron CEO and Founder of Action Engineering Author of Re-Use Your CAD: The Model-Based Handbook

“There’s a mutual benefit for both the OEM and the supplier,” Herron says. “The supplier spends less time and money building because the data's right the first time. The OEM can then ask for lower part costs.”

In a recent IMTS spark session, Herron shared her expertise in an interview titled Foundational Supply Chain MBD Capabilities. Here are a few highlights from that interview:

  1. MBD empowers companies with better data, which is beneficial across the entire supply chain – from engineering and procurement to manufacturing and inspection.
  2. With MBD in place, automation and traceability are possible, which help reduce the cost of poor quality.
  3. There are common roadblocks to MBD implementation to overcome, including fears about the cost and time required to upgrade and the establishment of MBD foundational capabilities, new tools and skilled people.
  4. MBD reduces supplier risks by improving accuracy, clarifying requirements, controlling revisions, facilitating interoperability, and delivering results on time and on budget, and in some cases, at a reduced cost per part.
  5. When implementing MBD, keep people at the center of consideration because it’s a cultural shift, not just a technical one. Build a plan with small wins, communicate clearly and train accordingly.

Want to know more? Visit to view the full interview with Herron and see other supply chain-related content.

When implementing MBD, there are serious roadblocks to overcome, especially related to time and money.

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