Fatal Mistakes

How Small Mistakes Lead To Great Mishaps

Company X produces large machines. To improve the preparation of the dispatching processes, the embedding cuboid for machines, replacement parts and groups of replacement parts was determined in CAD and recorded in the drawings to have an idea of the package sizes. After the release of the drawings, this data was entered manually into the ERP system again. The logistics department was enabled to plan and request appropriate means of transportation.


A customer of company X urgently need a replacement part for which an engineer previously calculated the embedding cuboid in cm and recorded it in the drawing. A new employee in the logistics department made a fatal conversion mistake when entering the dimensions that were to convert to meter. 40 cm of height became 4 m. As it wasn’t unusual that the transport of the finished machines required low-loading trucks and heavy loads, the person responsible for the order of the truck didn’t notice that this was a delivery of a replacement part that was the size of a box. Because of the large size he requested a low-loading truck from the transport company. When the low-loading truck arrived at the appointed day to pick up the package, everyone was surprised. The damage was limited because the company was able to deliver the package with a normal transporter on time and only had to pay additional costs for the low-loading truck.

On the contrary, company Y had to deal with more serious consequences when accidentally requesting a pick-up truck to collect an oversized special machine. The low-loading truck had to be requested and missed the ship. The delivery date wasn’t met and the company had to pay a high penalty.

Even if this kind of error is unlikely to happen in your company, it’s not impossible that mistakes may happen during data entry that can lead to errors that cause damages. Data like quantities, weights, volume and materials that automatically result from CAD models and are automatically filed in the PDM system when they are saved, should not have to be re-entered. Rather, they should be synchronized with the ERP system using an appropriate interface.