This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
With a vision to revolutionise human interactions using mobile solutions, Mobile Technologies Inc (MTI) – which has over 850 employees spread across four locations – has established itself as a pioneer in mobile device display technologies.
Operating in an industry like this requires a huge amount of flexibility as designs can go through multiple iterations during development. However, until recently, MTI’s engineering change order (ECO) process was largely manual. “Initiators were literally running around the office to collect all required signatures,” explains Anna Toloeva, system integration lead at the company. “We were rarely able to collect all required signatures in a timely manner and so ECOs often created significant delays.”
What’s more, the ECO log, which was a manually maintained spreadsheet, did not show all part numbers under revision. “This meant that two people could change the same part numbers under different ECOs without knowing it,” Toloeva says.
On top of this, MTI’s ECO process was time and cost intensive. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Toloeva explains. “Our systems didn’t integrate with our Dynamics AX software, we faced many documentation issues and our quoting process took days. Collaboration was weak – a big issue considering how geographically dispersed we are.”
With all this in mind, MTI looked to Bluestar PLM, a Microsoft partner focused on product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions integrated within Microsoft Dynamics AX. “The team at Bluestar PLM impressed us,” says Toloeva. “Having a solution running from AX meant that we wouldn’t have to learn a whole new system. It would also make future upgrades easier because everything is contained in one place.”
The implementation took five months from start to finish. “It included the install and configuration of Bluestar PLM inside AX, customising a lot of features to meet our needs and creating training documentation,” explains Toloeva. “We also did on-site training in our US and Hong Kong offices.
“The biggest challenge was the amount of code that we needed to generate and insert to customise the process to fit our needs. For example, there was specific AX data that needed to be updated upon ECO implementation.”
The results have been worth it. “We achieved our goals,” Toloeva says. “We’ve reduced time spent on ECO processes by 80%. We’ve reduced document control time on ECO tasks by 60%-80%. We’ve achieved multi-site engineering collaboration and created one central place to store and manage our data. And we have true revision and lifecycle control.
“We are very happy. Communication and collaboration was very smooth and we’ve had great support during the implementation. We look forward to working with the team at Bluestar PLM long into the future.”
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