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Penang’s UWC achieves 50% increased production with Siemens PLM: interviews

AvantiKumar | March 20, 2014
The manufacturing industry is entering a new digital era, which is transforming the way goods are made, said Siemens PLM's Rajiv Ghatikar.

The previous product we used did not meet the evolving needs of our customer base. Costs were too high, and the production, design and manufacturing cycles were too long. The time we lost was significant because the design process was too complicated and didn't allow us to repurpose common design specs for similar yet different product designs.

  • To plan and implement the solution

We knew that our challenges needed to be met with a more robust approach. After researching and testing potential solutions, we selected Solid Edge in 2011. We planned the switch for 3months, beginning in June 2011, and completing the implementation by August 2011.

  • Post implementation training, and so forth.

After the new solution was fully rolled out, we took an additional 3 weeks to train staff on the fundamental processes and in order to ensure that they would fully understand the total range of functionality for the new solution.

How would you contrast the before- and after implementation workflow?

Prior to switching to Siemens PLM Software's Solid Edge, UWC used another 3D modeling software to help in the manufacturing of precision components and electro mechanical parts, as well as the assembly of machines. It was clear that our engineers were spending too much time managing changes, and we recognized that the parametric-based design process was causing problems. The previous software doesn't feature synchronous technology, meaning the time spent executing engineering changes increases exponentially, and we were losing a significant amount of time in product development.

UWC has a customer-centric business culture and we take steps in advancing our core business and processes so that they can define and fulfill customer requirements. We provide value-added contract manufacturing and assembly solutions through the creation of reliable automation solutions. It was essential for us to maintain our strong market reputation and undertake high-volume and customized integration activities, and Solid Edge enabled us to shorten the overall product development cycle by accelerating the design process and ultimately helping us to develop products more efficiently. For example, we were able to cut the design time for a typical server rack in half - from four weeks down to two - something that was not possible with the previous solution. Solid Edge also provided us with scalable product data management (PDM) technology that helped us better manage design data, improve collaboration and eliminate the kinds of errors that are typical when you import data from various systems.

As I said, we saw an overall increase in productivity. Besides trimming our product development cycle time by 50 percent, the manufacturing cycle was also reduced by 15 percent.

How did you organise any workflow, company cultural and behavioural changes to adopt the new solution efficiently?

Change is the nature of the business, and adapting to change is part of the culture at UWC Holdings. The attitude and acceptance of change for continuous growth and all around improvements are key to our success.

 Employees were run through rigorous training for the new solution, but Solid Edge is a very intuitive solution and we were able to quickly implement it with little disruption to existing projects and business processes.

All the stakeholders are happy and very satisfied with this solution incidentally. In addition, Siemens PLM Software's Solid Edge matched perfectly to UWC's business model setup and therefore we didn't need to customize it.

What would be the key messages for other companies who are considering a similar move?

I would advise the following:

  • Enable key project stakeholders with a simple, collaborative process that is intuitive and easy to use. Why design the same small component on every new project when you can design it once and easily repurpose as needed?
  • When dealing with CAD data from different systems, leverage a solution that can provide synchronous technology that eliminates time-wasting activities.
  • Make sure your new solution allows for the easy import of data from the old system. If you can help your designers avoid having to study design history from scratch with each new product, you'll save them a world of time and energy to focus on getting the project completed quickly and accurately.


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