By: Ilan Madjar, Partner/Senior Consultant
A team of expert consultants from xLM Solutions recently completed a major data migration project, migrating a global electric solution provider from SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE. The project involves implementing out-of-the-box options and customizations, based on the company’s business model and site requirements.
About the Customer
The customer is a global provider of switching, protection, and control solutions for electric power systems. It operates engineering and manufacturing sites in North America, and subsidiary operations in North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. The company offers solutions in industries including electric utilities, solar and wind energy, mining, and other commercial and industrial systems. It manufactures automation products in communications, control, software and switching, fusing equipment, handling tools, and indoor and outdoor metal-enclosed switchgear.
This customer’s business model is Engineer-to-Order (ETO), meaning end users generally purchase a customized product based on specific requirements. Upon receipt of orders, this manufacturer begins immediately to purchase materials and start the manufacturing process even before the design might be completed. This allows them to reduce the delivery time by reducing the lead time on purchased parts. Engineer-to-Order requires tight integration between design and manufacturing, and between PLM and ERP. Engineering activities are essentially a part of the overall product lead time. Upon receiving an order it is critical to perform the engineering analysis and design and complete the order ASAP to stay competitive. Up until now, the company has handled customized orders in SmarTeam. Whereby SmarTeam is managing CAD, Items and BOM and change. Both engineering and manufacturing are heavily involved in the process.
The company was one of the first U.S. manufacturers to implement SmarTeam in the late 1990s. As it continues to grow, SmarTeam no longer meets its requirements. Management selected 3DEXPERIENCE for its PLM solution and contracted with xLM Solutions to conduct the data migration and integrate the implementation with their ERP system. In parallel to the 3DEXPERIENCE implementation, the ERP system is being upgraded at five manufacturing sites with between 800 and 900 end users. The initial phases of the 3DEXPERIENCE implementation focuses on maintaining the ‘as is’ business processes with some improvements, while the second phase will focus on improving processes to support global markets and more variability of manufacturing products differently in the same location or different locations, etc.
A Well-Integrated Team
The seven xLM Solutions team members have become integral partners with the IT department team, which has tremendous experience and knowledge in its field, working together onsite and remotely to complete the phased implementation. Because the company’s team members are so well-versed in the technical aspects of the PLM solution, their requirements, and manufacturing processes, the team has had an exceptionally successful working experience.
A Phased Implementation
Because of the size of the project, the team is implementing the SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE migration site-by-site at five manufacturing sites, each site with its own challenges and opportunities. The first migration sites focused on migrating and maintaining the business needs as is, while future phases will explore additions and improvements based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform capabilities. The solution is a combination of OOTB behavior and customization using the DELMIA data model for manufacturing bill of materials, and ENOVIA change action and routes for change control along with issue management for a production support system. CAD and engineering management will be the focus in 2021.
To transition the company into 3DEXPERIENCE, it was decided that the first manufacturing site would be one that has not been using SmarTeam and has relied on manual processes in ERP. By automating those processes and implementing the 3DEXPERIENCE platform integrated with the site’s manufacturing ERP, the team had achieved extraordinary results. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is a good fit for the site, the go-live experience has been successful, and the customer is decidedly pleased with the solution.
Phase 2 (SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE split by site)
The second phase included three much larger manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Canada. Those sites are significantly more complex than the first – these sites were all running SmarTeam. The sites required additional functionality, more complex business logic, and extensive customizations to the 3DX platform along with improvements on the ERP data exchange automated process. There was also an elaborate and involved migration from SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE. Approximately 800 plus users are affected by the data migration. As of this writing all sites have been migrated to 3DEXPERIENCE in 2020. The first migration included cross sites catalog and model items (the customer version of the 150% BOM using the IP Classification App) in June, to be followed with 3 more sites deployments in roughly increments of 8 weeks or so. A fifth site with a very small data set was migrated in parallel by the end customer using tools developed by xLM. Go-live for phase two sites was scheduled for summer- fall 2020 to coincide with the ERP upgrade (it should be noted, the SmarTeam to integration to ERP would stop working once ERP was upgraded, hence the SmarTeam to 3DEXPERIENCE migration needed to be finished before the ERP upgrade). All sites are live as we write this article and we are moving forward with Phase Three – CAD integration (Powered By- UPS) and engineering processes implementation as a fourth phase in 2021. Over a million items and millions of BOM objects were migrated with full history (excluding one of the sites) from SmarTeam along with thousands of Change Action (ECOs) data and other respective data. The focus in 2021 will be the migration of over a million CAD documents along with non-CAD documents management, introducing engineering data management and upgrading to 3DEXPERIENCE 2021X.
One interesting part of the integration relates to a solution the xLM team and the end customer have layered on top of ENOVIA’s issue management functionality, which makes use of an issue management widget within the 3DX dashboard. It is called a production system request solution where anyone on the floor or at a machine can submit an issue support request to solve a problem. The 3DX widget has an easy-to-use interface that the team rolled out virtually via user demos (because of the closures caused by the pandemic, the team had to focus on virtual training).
Users are now closing issues much faster than in the past and asking for additional enhancements proving they are using it thoroughly and welcome its features.
This solution is expected to be enhanced in 3DEXPERIENCE 2021 making use of the OOTB user groups and OOTB issue resolutions in 2021X (current deployment is 2019X).
Another feature that was rolled out to 3DX production in June 2020 relates to how the company manages its catalog of products. Previously, the company managed its catalog of products using SmarTeam with a data model that was customized. Now the team has migrated the catalog processes to 3DX, using the IP and Classification role/app in 3DX 2019X, maintaining and upgrading the business logic, and making it easier to manage.
Phase 3 will occur in 2021 with a major CAD implementation across the sites.
Data Migration Stats
In a major migration of this type affecting manufacturing data, it’s critical to understand the size and scope of the project. The amount of data being migrated includes:
- Millions of business objects
- Tens of millions of relationship objects
ENOVIA translates this data into 10-100 million objects. The data from SmarTeam is primarily being migrated into DELMIA assembly types (derived types of the Manufacturing Assembly which were created using the “Data Model Customization” App (TXO)) and possibly some resources for tooling in the future.
The strategy taken by the customer was to roll out the 4-5 main sites in phases to prevent a transformation-related slowdown and smooth the transformation as much as possible. As a result, detailed planning and a robust technical solution were required to support a phased transition/migration while certain sites operate on SmarTeam and others are being transitioned to ENOVIA and throughout the deployments additional required customer specific logic was continuously developed and deployed. In addition, there are no migration tools for migrating a customized SmarTeam data model into 3DEXPERIENCE with both ENOVIA and DELMIA apps’ data model xLM has significant experience with data migrations including into 3DEXPERIENCE and along with the Customer’s IT team and xLM’s grown experience and leveraging existing tools and IP the process is progressing despite the challenges though it is still a WIP.
The project is a complex one, with multiple challenges taking into consideration the available technology being customized to meet the company’s requirements, customizing the solutions to maintain their business logic and business rules, making the out-of-the-box system meet their needs, and integrating it with their ERP system which is undergoing an upgrade – all with the goal of improved manufacturing processes.
This customer success story is just one of the hundreds of satisfied xLM Solutions customers. If you are looking for a SmarTeam migration or similar update to your PLM/PDM solutions, contact us today.