ProductCenter PLM Rises to the Task for Canadian Forestry Equipment Maker

Risley Resolves Two year long Data Management Problem by Switching to ProductCenter PLM

Risley Manufacturing of Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, a leading forestry equipment manufacturer, struggled for two years trying to control their engineering data and processes. Risley resolved their long battle by adopting SofTech’s product lifecycle management (PLM) solution, ProductCenter™ PLM.

Risley had previously been a SofTech customer for five years, successfully using their PLM solution to manage technical documentation and data. However, when the company began using Pro/Engineer®, a different data management system had been chosen specifically for managing its Pro/Engineer data.

Risley, a manufacturer of twenty innovative, heavily optioned product lines of forestry equipment, struggled with the alternate product and never achieved a successful implementation. “Even worse,” according to Jack Chappell, Risley Engineering Manager and Product Data Management Administrator, “the attempt also resulted in serious data retrieval problems and subsequent data duplication.”

After two years of frustration, Risley decided they needed to find a single source solution that would centrally manage and control all of their engineering data and processes. Competitive pressures required more efficient development processes to accelerate the release of increasingly complex products.

Extended development teams necessitated careful coordination and tracking of changes, since product data could be stored anywhere. Adaptability was critical, driven by the need for rapid custom modifications to their forestry equipment.

“Risley’s design process is extremely fast paced due to the nature of our business,” Chappell explains. “We modify our equipment very quickly for regional markets to be suited to the different characteristics of the region’s trees, wood, and fibers.” Risley required a solution that not only could work as fast as they do, but also offered viewer capability and future ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) interoperation.

Based on their ongoing, five successful years with SofTech, Risley evaluated ProductCenter and compared it alongside competitive systems.

After an extensive evaluation, “ProductCenter was our hands-down choice,” Chappell says. “It met all of our requirements. ProductCenter is now the database management system for all of our critical product related information, including parts and service manuals, with planned expansion to corporate document control.”

“ProductCenter allows us to provide accurate, up-to-the-minute histories of our engineering data, regardless of origin,” he explains. “ Most importantly, it simplifies data transfer across our internal network to remote design and manufacturing stations for improved efficiency, along with design and manufacturing accuracy.”

New Converts:

Due to SofTech’s efficient conversion methodologies and long experience with complex integrations of CAD data, including Pro/Engineer data, the company had Risley up and running with a single-source PLM solution in just one day. “This was no easy task either,” Chappell offers. “Programmatic conversions weren’t possible due to the degree of data duplication and unreliability that resulted from the unsuccessful application of the previous package.“

Although ProductCenter was running the first day, and contained accurate and confirmed data, the task of verifying the correct part level revision and importing it into ProductCenter has taken several months. The conversion justification was best stated by Risley’s most senior designer, when he said, “I put parts in, I get parts out that I know are accurate… and it’s easy to use.”

“The company knows what they are doing,” Chappell says. “The company offers proven methods for fast implementation and data conversion, and first rate technical customer service. Overall, the consulting supplied by the company was top notch, and as a result, our conversion was very successful.”

Saving Time and Money:

“The move to ProductCenter led to immediate time and cost savings,” Jack Chappell explains, “including less system maintenance, and reduced network traffic, dramatically improving our system response time.”

Risley’s users find ProductCenter’s interface friendly and simple, resulting in fewer mistakes and inaccuracies. “Our people now have confidence in the versioning of the parts and various product related data.” Chappell says. “We’ve made our users very happy, and we’re seeing additional time saved and lowered costs through this improved data integrity.”

These efficiencies, coupled with consistent management of development processes and engineering data through ProductCenter, have also done more. “It’s improved our responsiveness to customers,” Chappell says, “ and significantly reduced time-to-market.”

ProductCenter @ Risley

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