Innovative Thinking – Breaking Boundaries

The Summer 2017 issue of The Record features an article that highlights several important viewpoints from different representatives in the manufacturing business about Innovative Thinking. In this piece, Bluestar PLM’s Dan Fite contributes to this discussion.

VIEWPOINT

Breaking Boundaries

Bluestar PLM’s Dan Fite explains why becoming an innovative company is vital in the modern market

Today, fast innovation is essential to all companies in the global economy. But the speed of innovation is dependent on having easy access to data and information. Companies must break down the boundaries between independent and disparate departmental systems. To have an efficient innovation process, it is essential to have easy access to reliable data and information across the organisation. Data is typically widespread across a company and located in many different systems, and comprises information about markets, engineering, manufacturing, quality and maintenance. Having a single solution which can deliver the required information on time is becoming a top priority. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform is proving to be a strong, reliable platform for this. Bluestar PLM on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology stack brings engineering into Dynamics 365. All the required data around 3D models, computer aided design integrations, virtual reality, product change management and engineering quality management is now easily accessible on the product lifecycle management (PLM) system and can be harnessed accordingly. Bluestar takes engineering data and allows it to be used across all departments within an organisation. From design to the retirement of a product, this offers a complete PLM system in a single solution.

Dan Fite is director of business development at Bluestar PLM by PDM technology.

Source: The Record, Issue 5: Summer 2017, page 76-80. (http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/therecord/issue05/#80)

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Case study: Rotork & Bluestar

The Spring 2017 issue of The Record features a case study on Rotork. The full-length article is as follows:

PLM inside Dynamics AX

Global pipeline control systems manufacturer Rotork is anticipating a wealth of new efficiencies thanks to the integration of Bluestar PLM within its Dynamics AX ERP system

Established in 1957, global manufacturing company Rotork operates in a wide variety of markets including oil and gas, water and sewerage and marine operations. Over the last decade, the company has experienced remarkable growth and today has over 4,000 employees spread across the globe.

“Historically our employees were located across a few major sites, with the engineering and operations teams co-located at the factories that manufactured the products they were working on,” explains Phil Wood, Rotork Group’s chief information officer. “With this structure in place it was easy to implement manual controls over engineering data as colleagues sat together and there was a lot of face-to-face communication. However, in the last six years we’ve made 16 acquisitions and our engineering teams are now spread across many sites. We also have an Engineering Centre of Excellence in India. The company has grown and this has resulted in many disparate teams and an engineering authority that needs better tools to control the data being created and maintained around our products.”

Wood recognised that it was necessary to implement a product lifecycle management (PLM) system. “First we turned to one of the bigger PLM providers, but we quickly realised that the offering did not effectively match our needs. What’s more, the vendor was not interested in meeting our needs,” he explains.

With this in mind, the company decided to take a different avenue. “We’d been using Microsoft Dynamics AX for over five years, and had planned implementations in all Rotork factories. We realised that we had a unique opportunity to implement ERP and PLM together to integrate the way we manage all of our product data. We would not get this chance again, and so we looked for a PLM solution that worked inside Dynamics AX.”

Microsoft independent software vendor Bluestar PLM was the only company that could deliver this capacity. ”Its PLM solution seamlessly integrates product data (such as drawings, bill of materials [BOMs] and 3D files from CAD systems), with manufacturing data, right inside Dynamics AX,” Wood says.

So far Rotork has designed and built its engineering control system inside the Dynamics AX template for all factories, as Wood explains: “At present BlueStar is in a limited live deployment stage – we’ve released it to a small number of our engineering teams who are using it on our new products to define product data, to create new items and for CAD document storage. We intend to deploy Bluestar PLM to our factories and engineering authorities worldwide over the months to come.”

Wood expects the solution to dramatically increase efficiencies, especially around the creation and management of BOMs. “Historically, engineering created product BOMs in a way that reflected how the product was designed. In most cases this did not align with how the product would be made in the factory,” he explains. “Clearly the factory either had to redefine the BOM that would fit with the assembly process, or simply use a BOM that was ‘wrong’. This clearly created problems with BOM accuracy, BOM version management, configurator management and in turn materials requirement planning accuracy and stock accuracy.

“These are very real problems for operations, and cause friction between the engineering and operations teams,” Wood continues. “The Bluestar PLM solution will change all this. Everyone will be working from the same system and there will be far greater accuracy and control of data. This will be very powerful for us, and will really bring engineering and operations together – it will change the way we work in our factories, and increase efficiency in engineering change and product data control companywide.”

And this is just the beginning. “It is likely that Bluestar PLM will be as beneficial to application engineers who work on customer solutions as it will be for product engineers,” Wood concludes. “I expect we will significantly expand the rollout beyond the current factory scope.”

Source: The Record, Issue 4: Spring 2017, page 90-91. (http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/therecord/issue04/#90)

About rotork

For more information please visit: rotork.com or rotork on LinkedIn

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Case Study: “Mobile Technologies Inc. & Bluestar PLM”

 

The Winter 2016 issue of The Record features a case study on Mobile Technologies Inc. The full-length article is as follows:

Using Bluestar PLM’s solution running on Microsoft Dynamics AX, Mobile Technologies Inc has reduced time spent on engineering change order processes by 80%

 

With a vision to revolutionise human interactions using mobile solutions, Mobile Technologies Inc (MTI) – which has over 850 employees spread across four locations – has established itself as a pioneer in mobile device display technologies.

Operating in an industry like this requires a huge amount of flexibility as designs can go through multiple iterations during development. However, until recently, MTI’s engineering change order (ECO) process was largely manual. “Initiators were literally running around the office to collect all required signatures,” explains Anna Toloeva, system integration lead at the company. “We were rarely able to collect all required signatures in a timely manner and so ECOs often created significant delays.”

What’s more, the ECO log, which was a manually maintained spreadsheet, did not show all part numbers under revision. “This meant that two people could change the same part numbers under different ECOs without knowing it,” Toloeva says.

On top of this, MTI’s ECO process was time and cost intensive. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Toloeva explains. “Our systems didn’t integrate with our Dynamics AX software, we faced many documentation issues and our quoting process took days. Collaboration was weak – a big issue considering how geographically dispersed we are.”

With all this in mind, MTI looked to Bluestar PLM, a Microsoft partner focused on product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions integrated within Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The team at Bluestar PLM impressed us,” says Toloeva. “Having a solution running from AX meant that we wouldn’t have to learn a whole new system. It would also make future upgrades easier because everything is contained in one place.”

The implementation took five months from start to finish. “It included the install and configuration of Bluestar PLM inside AX, customising a lot of features to meet our needs and creating training documentation,” explains Toloeva. “We also did on-site training in our US and Hong Kong offices.

“The biggest challenge was the amount of code that we needed to generate and insert to customise the process to fit our needs. For example, there was specific AX data that needed to be updated upon ECO implementation.”

The results have been worth it. “We achieved our goals,” Toloeva says. “We’ve reduced time spent on ECO processes by 80%. We’ve reduced document control time on ECO tasks by 60%- 80%. We’ve achieved multi-site engineering collaboration and created one central place to store and manage our data. And we have true revision and lifecycle control.

“We are very happy. Communication and collaboration was very smooth and we’ve had great support during the implementation. We look forward to working with the team at Bluestar PLM long into the future.”

Source: The Record, Issue 3: Winter 2016, page 97. (http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/therecord/issue03/#96)

About Mobile Technologies Inc. (MTI)

For over 38 years, MTI has been a global leader in mobile device display technologies, developing solutions that deliver the highest level of merchandising security for consumer electronics and mobile enterprise applications allowing products, sales and service to be the focus, while security operates efficiently in the background.  For more information please visit: mobiletechinc.com or MTI on LinkedIn

You can also download this case study below:

 

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