This article was first published in the Autumn 2014 issue of Prime
Engineer-to-order company Norican Group was formed in September 2008 when moulding technology company Disa merged with Wheelabrator, a worldwide surface preparation technology provider. Today the company has more than 2,500 employees in five continents.
Over the years, Norican Group has acquired various companies, each operating on their own enterprise resource planning (ERP) and computer-aided design (CAD) systems. This made it difficult for employees to collaborate on projects and share drawings and other resources with each other.
“Norican Group and its subsidiaries have produced numerous CAD drawings, which were stored in various disparate archives and were hard to access,” explains Anette Olsen, vice president of global business systems for Norican Group. “We also needed to improve the way we managed the different versions of the drawings to ensure that people were working with the most up-to-date designs and specifications. The ERP and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems are one of the most valuable components of our company so we really wanted to create one common, well-managed business tool containing all of our data.”
To ensure its employees could access a single set of version-controlled product data, Norican Group implemented Bluestar PLM, a Microsoft Dynamics AX-based PLM solution from PDM technology in 2007. Bluestar PLM was initially rolled out to Disa employees and after the merger with Wheelabrator, it was deployed across Norican Group’s global R&D teams.
“Bluestar PLM integrates the design, engineering and manufacturing systems, providing Norican Group with a complete PLM and ERP system as a global platform for collaboration,” explains Troy Norgaard, business development manager at PDM Technology. “Providing a single set of reliable data is important in any global manufacturing company as it enables them to perform predictably and efficiently.”
Since implementing Bluestar PLM, Norican Group has streamlined its ERP systems, creating a centralised, reliable and easily accessible tool for its data. The company can distribute synchronised data around the world in real time, while its engineering and manufacturing teams can automatically exchange designs, bills of materials and 3D models between their various CAD systems via the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform. This has increased collaboration and ensured that data is instantly accessible across all departments.
“Now that our teams can access the same PLM system and share reliable data regardless of their location, they can collaborate on various projects, which helps to reduce engineering cycle times,” says Olsen. “For example, our China-based engineering team can take a machinery design produced by our Danish team and adapt the parts to suit the needs of the local Chinese market. Other teams can then trace the original design and reuse it to develop products for different markets.”
Each piece of data is version controlled, and Norican Group manages the engineering changes from the PLM system with workflow automation, which ensures that operations and engineering teams always work with correct data.
“Bluestar PLM has greatly improved our company’s operational efficiency and we benefit from having implemented the system across all of our global offices,” concludes Olsen.
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