You can reduce time to market and cut costs by advancing your digital thread with PTC Windchill, the industry-leading Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Windchill consolidates data so that your team can work faster and more accurately so you can focus on product innovation.
See how Virnig Manufacturing uses PTC Windchill to change the way their data is delivered within their organization.
Located in Rice, Minnesota, Virnig Manufacturing has been designing and producing skid steer attachments for over 27 years. This family owned one-stop shop does all steps of the manufacturing process in-house: engineering, cutting raw materials, machining, welding, and painting the finished product. Virnig dominates the industry by offering high-quality skid steer attachments and continually innovates to maintain a strong competitive advantage in a challenging and competitive market.
Virnig has grown exponentially in the last decade, prompting the on-boarding of more employees to keep up with the growth. The expanding workforce introduced a new challenge of organizing critical work documents. The process of finding documents every day began to inhibit productivity. The need for a file management system became obvious and critical.
Finding a solution became a top priority as Darin Virnig, Engineering and Production Manager, and his team found themselves taking on projects that required “more time in a day” to complete. Darin stated, “When there were just a few of us looking at files we weren’t quite as concerned about file management and having things get overwritten. But as we had more and more people working we all looked at each other and decided it was time to implement a file management system so that we didn’t start losing data or have it changed accidentally.” Prior to implementing a system, Darin and his team kept product content and design data in large red binders throughout the manufacturing facility. Engineers would leave their workstations to access folders in designated areas – sometimes on the other side of the manufacturing floor. Virnig was losing precious time to their paper-based processes. Darin needed to find a quicker way for his team to access data if he wanted to achieve maximum productivity on the shop floor.
EAC Product Development Solutions (EAC) is an engineering and technology services company headquartered in Burnsville, MN. They provide product development solutions that transform the way small to medium sized companies design, manufacture, connect, and service their products. Virnig had partnered with EAC to implement PTC’s simulation software and trusted them with this new file management challenge. PTC is a global technology provider and the maker of tools such as Creo Parametric CAD software and the Windchill line of product lifecycle management solutions. “It was only logical to go with PTC products since we have been doing all of our modeling with their products,” says Darin.
The benefits of going paperless exceeded Virnig’s accuracy and collaboration goals, and provide an ancillary benefit of reducing the cost of paper and printing. The decision was made to implement Windchill, PTC’s product lifecycle management software to streamline operations and control files.
The Paperless Movement
Windchill PDM Essentials, PTC’s Product Data Management tool empowers companies to organize and manage their product content to improve access to accurate, timely product data. Darin and his team have implemented Windchill across their engineering and manufacturing facility with 10 different access points for each department on the shop floor. Darin chuckles as he talks about removing the now-unnecessary red binders, “we took away their file cabinets.” The new process didn’t require any paper documents on the floor – everything was now digitally stored in their workstation computers throughout the facility. The implementation prevented wasted time that was previously used to sort through red binders, and avoided the use of old, irrelevant information.
Darin talks about the success of the new data management system, “Paperless provides access on the floor which has increased accuracy and quality that will give us the competitive advantage we were looking for.” He describes how his team members used to take over 30 minutes a day searching for the data needed to complete a specific task. “It was a company initiative to go paperless in all areas to increase accuracy – the accuracy is where the cost savings would come in for us.” Going paperless has allowed Virnig to take advantage of that 30 minutes a day to add over 325 productive hours to their operation each year.
We tend to operate our businesses like we’re playing a game of telephone…and it’s costing us all money.
You don’t have to be a genius to know that within many companies’ sales, marketing, and R&D teams serve separate functions. With different goals, targets and initiatives these teams tend to collaborate among themselves using the same system of record.
For example, within the same company, a department may rely on Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems while others may depend on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System data (MES), and Quality Management Systems (QMS).
Marketing, Management, Purchasing, Engineering, Technical Publications and manufacturing all need to operate off product designs and Bill of Materials (BOM), but while doing so people are likely to interrupt engineering to get information.
With this information they ask different questions, have different intentions, and speak different departmental languages.
The reality is; this inaccessible data is about the same product that happens to be housed in a system you can’t normally access.
By resorting to these misaligned processes, we end up operating on data without its entire context, therefore we lose productivity to requests for data and the switching costs of changing tasks.
Besides, these interruptions are generally counterproductive, especially when you’re working on one task and you’re interrupted regarding a completely different topic.
Without a single means to bridge these systems, your company is missing out on valuable information, time savings, and productivity.
We live in a world where siloed departmental communication doesn’t need to be the norm, after all technology is just about everywhere!
By integrating your critical data into a centralized location, your organization will increase visibility, and achieve better, more informed business decisions.
With technology that exists today, your separate departments can pull data from multiple systems into easy role-based dashboards, providing greater visibility and enhanced analysis.
The result is a rapid way for your team to get data from the vast data pool within your organization, and access it in an easy to consume space.
One of the ways we transform the way companies design, manufacture, connect, and service their products is by value stream mapping ‘Product Development Systems’ and looking for ways to ensure people have access to the information they need when they need it.
Tools like Thingworx Navigate, for companies invested in PTC’s Windchill solution, or the standard Thingworx platform and PLM Apps for those that aren’t, are helping companies pull information from different departments, systems, vendors, etc. to make sure every role has a simplified view of the information they need, when they need it, without slowing down any other departments.