Monday, 12 March 2012

Autodesk PLM 360 progress report at SMI

Over the coming months I will be introducing guest posts from our early adopter customers, showcasing how they are using Autodesk PLM 360 and more importantly how they are gaining value from using the product, to streamline and manage their entire business processes.


So I am pleased to Introduce Scott Moyse, a proud Cornish man! Scott is the Design Manager at Specialist Marine Interiors in New Zealand. He's worked at the company for nearly 8 years after moving over from the UK while studying Motorsport Engineering. He started out as design support and quickly moved into programming their new CNC machine. Over the next  4 years he worked closely with both manufacturing and design to create and implement automated processes both up and down stream. This provided him with an invaluable insight into both departments operations and the difficulties they can have. Just over 3 years ago he moved back into design full-time, resulting in him taking up his current position 16 months ago. Over the last 12 months he's implemented Autodesk Vault Professional, improving data sharing between departments, work allocation, organisation and increased control over the design review process. Although he has no prior 'PLM' experience he has been deeply involved in process formation, implementation and development in an ever changing environment for the last 7 ½ years.


Tricon NISI 2 Main Salon & Helm Rendering


I think it is important to point out, that all of this was achieved with a 12 hour time zone difference between the UK and NZ ! and all without the need to visit each other. Thanks to the power of Autodesk PLM 360 being cloud based, allowing Autodesk and SMI to collaborate and implement their PLM Instance, without the need to visit and install anything on site. So over to Scott and I'll let him tell you what he's been up to with Autodesk PLM 360...


I intend on writing a series of blog posts over the coming year covering the implementation and growth of Autodesk PLM 360 at SMI. The focus of these posts will be aimed at demonstrating the value gained by us as a customer and user of the software. We will demonstrate the rate at which, an advanced and completely custom implementation of this 'PLM' solution built from the ground up, can occur.


Historically a lot of debate has taken place about what PLM is, this also seems to have been the case since the launch of Autodesk PLM 360. Frankly, Autodesk PLM 360 is so much more than Product Lifecycle Management, therefore in my opinion any definition of what PLM is/means, is a relatively pointless discussion to be had. Ultimately it's all about what the customer makes it and I intend to demonstrate this with these blog posts.


Tricon NISI Range


At SMI, initially we decided our Autodesk PLM 360 journey should start with Sales and CRM workspaces, after all its the beginning of any manufacturing process. However, we wanted to gain the most value as quickly as possible, so considering our current contract lead times, we decided to focus on project management, performance reporting and tracking components through production. At the moment we have an ideal volume of work to run Autodesk PLM 360 alongside our current PLM system (Excel & MS Project). This work happens to be part of the interior for the 24.5m (80ft) 'NISI' Super Yacht being built in China, the interior has been designed in New Zealand and will also be manufactured here. Throughout the process we will be able to provide real time feedback on progress for our client as well as give our install team in China unprecedented access to data which hasn't been possible prior to Autodesk PLM 360.



We have established 4 key result areas for our initial deployment over the next 6-9 months:



1. Create the ability to Report on Budget Hours Vs Actual Hours & percentage complete at the task level.
2. Track the state of any component within the process, during Manufacture & Install.
3. Ability to plan & assign tasks based on when the high level schedule dictates products should be completed by. Ideally this would also consider both Labour & Resource capabilities.
4. Support the entire Design & Manufacturing process with CRM, Sales management & Quality/CAPA processes etc..




We believe working towards and ultimately achieving these 4 goals within 2012 will easily surpass our current systems value and capabilities. 

So to start with I had a play around creating some workspaces and understanding what tools were available to me with Autodesk PLM360, this meant I could establish its intent and the boundaries I had to work within. After a couple of days, I realised I needed to settle on a set of 'Base' workspaces, even if I didn't completely set them up or fully define their purpose, we could still fill them with items which would allow me to reference them in items within other workspaces. These are what I started with:

Customer
Project
Product
Work Allocation
Employees
Job Titles

The customer workspace can be leveraged by all the above workspaces and so many more in the future. Customers are the foundation of any business, so this workspace should arguably be one of the key foundations for PLM. Employees are essential for the process to even exist, then of course the Project and its structure are paramount. To top off this initial set of workspaces we decided we should have a work allocation workspace, which ultimately tie into all the others and drive the whole system forward. 






Setting up these workspaces from scratch has already allowed us to fulfil the first of the 4 key result areas and part of the 3rd within a month. Considering I have zero experience with PLM, zero programming skills and committing around 16 hours a week during that period (including Codecademy.com JavaScript tutorials) it really is quite impressive how easy this software is to configure.

Since we have created some solid foundation workspaces, in a month or so we will be able to create sales & CRM related workspaces. In addition we will be able to use the standard Autodesk apps for Quality Control & CAPA workspaces, giving us instant value adding access to a structured quality control process as oppose to our fragmented and inefficient process currently in place. 

Scott Moyse.

Thanks Scott, and I'll look forward to the next post capturing the future stages of your PLM journey with Autodesk PLM 360.

Thanks for reading....Mike 



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