The theme of Excelerate 2017 was “Navigating the Digital Enterprise.” And if the discussion at Excelerate is any indicator, indeed, the concept of a Digital Thread is gaining momentum with the increasing convergence of digital manufacturing and cyber-physical systems.
During the opening day of Excelerate, seven presentations underscored how iBASEt approaches Smart Manufacturing and provides solutions to support customer strategies as they begin to navigate the Digital Enterprise.
The conference kicked off with this video:
“The Missing Piece for Many in the Digital Thread: Product Lifecycle Execution”
Michel Gadbois, Vice President, Worldwide Sales, iBASEt
Gadbois spoke to how the Digital Enterprise is changing manufacturing, and why it is critical that the thread extends to product lifecycle execution. Historically, manufacturing has been hampered by a lack of connectivity. There was a hands-off, over-the-wall mindset that still exists in many companies. Traditionally, the feedback loop was focused almost exclusively on quality and continued to be paper-based.
In the Digital Enterprise, the path of information is much improved. It’s digital, structured, and parsable, and maintains associativity regardless of where it resides in the organization. In a truly integrated, real-time enterprise, execution is added to product lifecycle management, enabling Product Lifecycle Execution (PLE). Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) integrate to both Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to realize this feat. In a fully functioning Digital Thread, PLE applies to manufacturing, to maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), and across the supply chain. This is an essential piece of the Digital Thread, as it enables an integrated value chain, which is what manufacturers will need in the era of Smart Manufacturing.
“Making Real Advances towards the Digital Thread”
Eric Horn, Dhaval Sheladia, Geoff Ellis, Solar Turbines
Solar Turbines discussed the challenges they faced in manufacturing that were addressed by moving towards the Digital Thread. The company had a number of significant manufacturing pain points:
- No real visibility into assembly status; data was in disconnected systems.
- Process plans were not connected to time reporting in a way that triggered parts to delivery.
- Poor monitoring: only bi-weekly discussion occurred in the project scheduling system.
- Little real-time data existed, no evaluation happened against a plan on a dynamic basis, and there was little understanding of what inhibited the enterprise from meeting plan.
They addressed these issues by integrating MES to ERP and PLM. The MES enabled paperless documentation, complete definitions for operators, fully illustrated work instructions, and optimized operational flow. Problems now are reported back to engineering, and data collection is integrated across systems. The presenters detailed future plans to leverage Solumina’s mobile capabilities and add augmented reality to further improve operational execution.
“Supporting the New Service-Based Economy with the Digital Thread (MRO)”
Conrad Leiva, Vice President for Product Strategy and Alliance, iBASEt
Leiva discussed the increased role of service as a revenue source for manufacturing, the development of product-as-a-service as a business model in the Smart Manufacturing ecosystem, and how Solumina integrates to PLM and ERP to realize a fully integrated enterprise by adding execution across the enterprise, all the way to service and MRO. He also detailed the impact of the Digital Thread on Material Requirements Planning (MRP), process planning, and process execution: all elements, from receiving requirements to forecasting/scheduling to executing tasks, are connected by the Digital Thread to improve and optimize performance. In the new service-based economy, extending the Digital Thread from product engineering to maintenance execution is essential.
“The Role of PLM Solutions in the Digital Thread for MRO”
Ian Boulton, Senior Director FA&D Technical Sales, PTC
Boulton presented integrated solutions from PTC and iBASEt, with a focus on MRO. With these solutions:
- Technicians always have the best information available about parts and service, easily access up-to-date digital service and part catalogs for seamless identification and ordering, and can leverage integrated workflows to create, manage, and deliver contextual service content.
- Contextual, graphical, and associative service information is filtered for the task at hand to improve current service performance.
- Parts and procedural content are contextual, graphical, and associative. Asset information automatically filters the service content for the task at hand, and content improves service levels and efficiencies for the existing service models.
- Predictable outcomes and costs are easily generated for customers. Predicting cash flows and revenue from service becomes more consistent—and includes new revenue streams.
- The ability to manage risk and guarantee performance is improved. Advantages are available from new outcome-based contracts that monetize service levels and efficiency gains. New revenue streams capture market share from less-connected competition.
In the session, Boulton reviewed a number of case examples demonstrating the above benefits, and shared details about how PTC/Solumina integration functions.
“The Role of MES in Orbital ATK’s Connected System of Systems”
Troy Thomas, Business Systems Director, Orbital ATK
A system of systems is a collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that pool their resources and capabilities to create a new, more complex system that offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems. An IT Enterprise system of systems is a single enterprise system that encompasses and services the full lifecycle of business processes, from program/product proposal through product build, delivery, and support.
In his discussion, Thomas explained how Solumina functions in Orbital-ATK’s IT Enterprise system of systems. Orbital ATK’s vision was to significantly reduce the dependency of running the business on individual spreadsheets and isolated data, and replace it with approved, well defined, auditable processes that use Enterprise Business Systems integrated to create a “system of systems” to drive standard work from proposal through product shipment.
To do this, Orbital-ATK adopted a strategy to integrate, document, and enforce standard and disciplined use of Enterprise systems to create a closed loop, end-to-end business lifecycle management system (system of systems). From proposal to product shipment, the Enterprise system of systems delivers accurate and real-time data for use across all business functions to drive smart decisions and optimize use of resources with metrics to measure success and drive continuous improvement.
Solumina enforces process discipline to significantly reduce shop floor issues, working across process planning, shop execution, and quality functions (including supply chain quality). Real-time data from Solumina is refreshed as required by the volume of flow and is essential to the realization of Orbital ATK’s “visual factory.”
“The Importance of ERP and MES Integration for Enhanced Project Management”
Rafael Perez, Sales Engineer, Costpoint Materials and Manufacturing, Deltek
Deltek and iBASEt offer an integrated project manufacturing solution for the shop floor tailor-made for Deltek Costpoint customers. The solution, named Deltek Costpoint MES, removes a significant amount of paperwork and inefficiency from the shop floor through online instructions and activity tracking, thereby improving the quality of the products, audit trails, and information produced while meeting LEAN and paperless manufacturing objectives.
In this session, Perez discussed the importance of integrating ERP and MES to weave the Digital Thread throughout an enterprise, from financial management to materials management to manufacturing execution and shop floor time.
“Leveraging Solumina G8 Upgrade to Reduce TCO”
John Younger, Project Leader, NORDAM Business Systems (Lean and Six Sigma)
NORDAM is one of the world’s largest independently owned aerospace companies, employing 2,500 stakeholders across multiple facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.
In his presentation, Younger gave an overview of NORDAM’s use of Solumina, from initial goals to current and future applications. He showed ROI on 2D data entry, paper reduction, integrated measurement system, work packaging, time spent on tasks, standard operations, document links, auto calculations, illustrated planning, security classifications, and data collections in work order update SPC chart. He presented a business case for upgrading from Solumina G7 to Solumina G8, showing how it will drive down Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for NORDAM.
Excelerate 2017: The Digital Thread is Here
As the Day One sessions at Excelerate 2017 prove, the Digital Thread is becoming the new standard in complex discrete manufacturing. From PLE to MRO and more, attendees were enthralled at all they can do in the era of Smart Manufacturing.
Read on for details from Excelerate Day Two
As Chief Marketing Officer at iBASEt, Tom brings over 25 years of enterprise software marketing and business development experience to the executive leadership team. He is responsible for the strategic growth of the company. Tom earned his MBA at the University of Southern California and holds a BS degree in Management from Northeastern University.