Glen Smith, DriveWorks CEO and technology evangelist, recently talked to Microsoft’s OnWindows about how technology is improving collaboration in manufacturing.
Glen was interviewed by Jacqui Griffiths for Prime magazine, along with Peter Schroer from Aras, Simon Floyd from Microsoft, Andy Kalambi from Dassault Systèmes and Paul Brown and Jen Larsson from Siemens.
Jacqui has since written an article focused on how technology enables design teams to work together, wherever they are, and design smarter than ever before.
“The ever increasing amount of technology available for manufacturing is developing so quickly that we are constantly working on integrating DriveWorks with the new technologies.”
In the article, Jacqui points out one of the main challenges that DriveWorks software manages to solve. “Consumers are demanding more personalised products, based on their own specifications. For manufacturers, that means managing increasing amounts of data from different sources, bringing more skills into the supply chain, and coordinating design teams that may be dispersed across the world – all while meeting stringent time, budget and compliance requirements.”
At DriveWorks we have seen evidence of companies winning business because of the 3D models they are able to show their customers seconds after they have made a change to their specification. The article also talks about how this is something that customers have come to expect. “There’s a real need for mobility in PLM and it’s crucial to be able to access the data and present it in a meaningful way. For example, an engineer installing industrial machinery needs to be able to show customers on site how a suggested design change will work and feed back to the team.”
Glen talked to Jacqui about how the advancement in PLM technology not only provides more mobility for engineers, but it also means that customers are increasingly enabled to take part in the PLM process. Glen said “PLM has traditionally been about standardising, monitoring and presenting data so someone can make a decision. But by automating PLM, the data can make certain decisions for you, such as the best material to use for a certain strength requirement. It makes better use of that data and normally, once people have automated, they spend more time creating new products, quicker.”
Glen then talked about a DriveWorks customer that manufactures steel doors and how they have integrated their business systems using DriveWorks. Doing so has pushed the data entry part of the ordering process to the customer, who fills out their specifications in the browser while the system generates the manufacturing data. This has enabled the company to increase its production volume from 100 to 300 doors a day whilst also reducing the amount of wastage on the shop floor. The company’s telephone staff are now able to address specific customer issues instead of simply taking orders. Glen explained how the extra speed means they can offer a premium service and free up engineers to come up with new conceptions.
This is something we have also seen in other DriveWorks case studies, companies that have optimised the spare time they acquire after implementing DriveWorks by using it to innovate and design brand new products. Products that their competitors can’t offer. Giving them an impressive competitive advantage which in turn results in bigger profits.
In the article Andy Kalambi from Dassault Systèmes also talked about how 3D visualisation and automation capabilities are enabling customers to have an increased level of input in product design – critical in meeting consumers’ growing demands for a personalised experience. He said “Companies are having to add more value around their products, modelling the product not only from a form and fit perspective, but also from a functional perspective – the experiences it can deliver which may not be related to its physical aspects”.
The article also comments on the importance of everyone working with the same information. It talks about how technologies, like the cloud, are able to ensure this. Jan Larsson explained “The tools ensure that everyone is working from a single source of information which gives them the latest revisions, all the requirements and regulatory compliance issues, all in one central point“.
Glen talked about the importance of the cloud for companies using DriveWorks software “The cloud brings a different way of doing things – of accessing, caching and streaming data. It’s distributable and scalable, and that makes a big difference. Many of our customers have scaled out the DriveWorks automation server on private cloud, not only to create data but also to share it quicker.”
Today’s PLM challenges are being addressed through a combination of powerful, scalable infrastructure and sophisticated front-end interfaces that provide seamless access to data through a variety of devices.
It seems many exciting possibilities lie ahead as PLM becomes increasingly connected. Simon Floyd pointed out that often the full potential of truly smart products is not realized.
At DriveWorks, we are continuously working with new technologies. We always want to make sure that integrating DriveWorks with all of the necessary company systems is as easy as possible for customers. No one likes to have to do the same thing twice, if you can automate the design and manufacturing process, why shouldn’t you automate the sales and product management processes?