Hayward Tyler Motors Along With SofTech’s ProductCenter® PLM
ProductCenter PLM Improves Business Processes and Facilitates Regulatory Compliance
Founded in 1983, Fibertek, Inc. of Herndon, Virginia is a leading developer and producer of advanced solid-state lasers and highly sophisticated electro-optical sensor systems for military and aerospace applications. Fibertek takes great pride in the devices and systems it designs, builds and tests. Its pioneering work in electro-optics systems has allowed Fibertek to become a globally-recognized industry leader.
Hayward Tyler, Inc.’s Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing and Quality departments had been manually controlling paper-based product data and information. Scanned images of everything including part number logbooks, engineering drawings and all contract information were maintained and stored in the document control department.
HTI recognized it needed to streamline its business processes beginning with gaining timely access to critical product information, which would only be accomplished by eliminating paper and getting their product information on-line and available 7×24.
In selecting a PLM solution, HTI identified several business challenges that would need to be addressed in making a solution work for them. This would include the need to access all existing product and contract information to ensure regulatory compliance for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), while introducing a system to improve the management of SolidWorks® data as well as the contract administration processes.
After reviewing several Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, Hayward Tyler, Inc. selected ProductCenter from SofTech, Inc. ProductCenter’s ability to manage the Bill of Information, the SolidWorks Gold Partnership status, low cost of ownership, and SofTech’s direct and responsive customer support were critical factors in HTI’s selection.
“We were extremely impressed with the knowledge of SofTech’s personnel and their commitment to making our ProductCenter implementation successful. Prior to the implementation, SofTech met with members of our Engineering, Sales and Contracts departments allowing each member to explain their daily job responsibilities and in turn provided us with a vision of how ProductCenter would improve the different aspects of our business,” explains Chad Thelen, ProductCenter PLM Project Lead. “After that initial meeting and the first presentation with Senior Management, we all were very confident that ProductCenter was the best solution.”
As the enterprise solution to integrate Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing and Quality, ProductCenter immediately stepped in to manage HTI’s 3D CAD product designs and contract information as well as its part number generation process, eliminating the need for a manual logbook. Next, HTI kicked off its process improvement initiative with the automation of its Engineering Change and Drawing Release processes followed by the Sales Quote to Product Order Process.
“ProductCenter has significantly improved access to critical product information by approximately 75%,” states Chad Thelen. “Having a central location for all product design and contract information that is secure, accessible 7×24, and electronically controlled facilitates data sharing across the organization. In a short time, ProductCenter has proven to accelerate product development as well as our order quoting and processing efforts.” When asked how ProductCenter has been accepted by the user community, Thelen goes on to say “Initially there were the normal change issues, but once the users learned the system they came to appreciate ProductCenter tremendously.”
To date, there are over 2000 Bills of Materials (BOMs) in use and a significant number of ProductCenter users utilizing ProductCenter’s BOM management capabilities with more users planning to come online. “At this point of the implementation, automation of the Engineering Change and Drawing Release processes as well as enabling Engineering to manage the Bill of Material, has improved the efficiency of the release to manufacturing process. Through accurate access to product design information combined with streamlined processes, an initial estimate is that our release process has been reduced by 50%,” adds Thelen.
Another business challenge ProductCenter is helping HTI overcome is the requirement for controlled access to all product and contract information to ensure regulatory compliance. As the focal point, ProductCenter Workflow enables HTI’s business processes to comply with the stringent standards and certifications of the NRC and ASME.
“The regulatory compliance initiative with ProductCenter is a significant milestone. If HTI did not meet NRC and ASME compliance, then HTI’s “N stamp” would be withdrawn. If this were to occur, HTI could not build or sell any nuclear parts or furthermore ship product even if HTI had an order, which would be a detrimental financial impact on the business,” explains Thelen.
Currently ProductCenter is being used by the Sales, Contracts, Engineering, Operations and Quality departments. HTI will look to expand ProductCenter’s access to other departments and sites, including sharing of design information with colleagues at Hayward Tyler Group in Luton, UK.
Collaboration will be improved by providing the field sales and engineering groups with global ProductCenter access to accelerate the exchange of information and facilitate timely resolution of product and contract related issues.
Additionally, a downstream integration to Hayward Tyler, Inc.’s ERP solution will facilitate the exchange of information across the Enterprise.
“The goal is to have ProductCenter manage our entire Bill of Information and improve collaboration throughout the organization thereby accelerating product development. We also have plans to grant controlled access to suppliers for viewing drawings and incorporate an external supplier workflow,” explains Thelen. “ProductCenter reports will also play a role in improving HTI’s business practices by providing visibility into the product development process. As we implement our complete vision we recognize that ProductCenter is proving to be invaluable to our business.”