I am a PLM sales person…and the title of this blog entry may imply that I am whining about my job. While I am not immune to the occasional emotional episode / mild tantrum, the title of this blog entry has a purpose. I assure you that this purpose has nothing to do with my emotional state.
Companies that contact InFlow are generally not looking to buy a PLM solution. Rather, they are looking to solve complex issues in their organization. Often times, the connection between the issue and the definition of PLM is somewhat cloudy. Therefore, my goal in this series is to discuss some of these challenges that InFlow has addressed with PLM and some of the measurable success that our customers have achieved.
“Maintaining your largest client”
When your largest and most important client tells you that “you will outsource your design work or you will lose us as a client,” you have 2 choices: You outsource the design work, or you lose the client.
If anyone is calling me “Captain Obvious” after reading that statement, you are probably not alone…
Outsourcing is a reality for many InFlow customers…we run across very few companies that are not designing, manufacturing, outsourcing, or assembling outside of the US. This particular customer was no exception.
InFlow’s customer was bidding on a multi-million dollar contract to design large automation equipment for their primary client. The client had received other bids: If the customer were not willing to outsource a share of the design work to a lower cost labor pool, they would simply be priced out of the contract. However, the project management had to remain stateside, where the bulk of the product/customer familiarity existed. The company was lucky enough to have a large labor pool in India. However, this did not solve the issue of collaborating on the project.
As many of us know, CAD files are big, especially when you are dealing with assemblies made up of thousands of parts. They are too large to email in most cases, and opening them up from a remote server can take several hours. Furthermore, making and sending multiple copies of these files to disparate locations can cause divergent data sources and destroy the ability to collaborate on a global project.
InFlow has assisted this customer in setting up a centralized PDMWorks Enterprise data vault in Wisconsin and replicated file vaults in both Wisconsin and India. Using this methodology, the design intent can be formed in Wisconsin, working closely with the client; CAD files can be created, specs can be written, and data can be life-cycled through its change process. When ready, files are replicated to the server in India, and the files can be updated while they are constantly connected to the database in Wisconsin. All changes are recorded in real-time, and designers are not able to copy over each other’s work. The files are replicated upon check-in from India, and updates are reviewed with the client at key project milestones.
InFlow’s customer is now 6 months in to this project, and it is going extremely well. It seems that working with InFlow turned out to be the “obvious” choice.