PLM Software Improved the Efficiency and Product Quality
How PLM software improved the efficiency and product quality of Haldex
Swedish Haldex is a leading manufacturer of reliable and innovative brake systems and air suspension solutions for heavy vehicles. The company’s customers are mainly large manufacturers of trucks, buses, and trailers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
With global operations and presence spread across multiple countries, Haldex has many sites working with the same components. This makes it important to have mutual processes and accessibility to all product information. This was not the case five years ago. The product data management, PDM, was then limited to a database with no integration with the ERP system and change management process. Every site had a database of its own. Every change of components and design required manual changes by every team on every site.
With PTC Windchill, change management teams can collaborate, help and support each other in real-time across the globe. We benefit a lot by having a global, mutual PLM software.”
Senior Change Program Manager at Haldex
Leaving dependency on a person
Lena Ottosson, Support Engineer and Administrator of Windchill at Haldex, remembers the pre-Windchill time. The change management organization depended on one person at the headquarters in Landskrona, that had full control of the process. Everything had to pass through her hands and eyes.
“The change process was completely based on Excel sheets and mail communication. She talked to coordinators around the globe, which in turn briefed the local teams so they could respond to our referrals. Its was a very manual and time-consuming process in order to maintain high process quality,” says Lena Ottosson. “There was no sufficient control of what happened on other sites. Local change teams could change components their way, without informing about updates in time or upfront. We had local servers and different ways of working on each site.”
The need for a PLM system was apparent
With this followed that although the same drawings were used, different sites could work with different versions of a drawing. Each product can have thousands of variants produced on several sites. This ends up with thousands and thousands of different products and variants of products. The need for a transparent end-to-end PLM system with full accessibility for all co-workers within product development and change management was apparent.
Stepped up with PTC Windchill
Haldex had been working for many years with PTC Creo as it is CAD solution. Haldex decided to step up with a complete PLM system and chose Windchill. This way, CAD drawings and designs with parts and BOMs seamlessly integrate into the PLM system, allowing a true end-to-end solution.
“We had a good experience with and support by PDSVISION, so Windchill was a natural choice,” says Charlotte Wall, VP Product Line Management and at the time Project Manager of implementing Windchill.
Better collaboration, higher efficiency
The effects of using Windchill are pervasive and obvious. Besides affecting the organization in terms of new roles and way of work, including Johannes Persson moving from Operations to R&D into one of the newly created roles, cooperation between sites all over the world has grown and flourished. “Today, our sites work together instead of counteracting or delaying each other. All points of view come up front immediately,” Lena Ottosson states.
With better collaboration, efficiency rises. With higher efficiency and full transparency, the number of changes decreases. Since Haldex implemented Windchill, the number of active cases has been reduced from about 1,500 to 500. The average lead time for one measured product line, from change request to implementation, has been reduced by 35 percent.
“I am sure this is because the software visualizes the process and makes it accessible for all. The efficiency of our change management has improved significantly. Our gatekeeping, to screen which changes we should implement, is much better now,” Johannes Persson explains.
A higher level of service
Thanks to the higher efficiency using Windchill, Haldex can deliver changes requested by the customers faster and more reliably with secured quality standards.
“Today, we have a completely different level of service to our customers, in the way we can deliver drawings and information on request. Everyone shares the same information, no matter who is being asked. In the end, this is about quality assurance,” Charlotte Wall states.
Lena Ottosson also underlines the quality assurance aspect of the change management process.
“Manual handling is a risk. With a system such as Windchill, you cannot get away without going through each step,” Lena Ottosson says.
An integrated quality assurance process
This includes the Production Part Approval Process, PPAP, a key procedure within the automotive supply chain to ensure that parts are manufactured consistently and meet requested quality standards. This process is integrated into the PLM system.
“Before, when we released new drawings in our library, anyone with access could grab it and start to produce. There was nothing showing it was still in an approval process once the change order had been signed. That is impossible today, as it must go through the PPAP before it can be qualified for a production release,” Lena Ottosson explains. “Our quality assurance has improved significantly with Windchill. All product related specifications, references between objects, and change histories, including references to internal release documents, are saved in the system. Before, this information was scattered in different files and archives. Now it is collected and easily accessible in one place,” Johannes Persson states.
How to get the PLM system running
Today, Haldex is harvesting the benefits of digitalizing the product lifecycle and change management in a global organization. Of course, there have also been challenges in implementing such as pervasive change. Not only in software, but also in ways of working, attitudes, and organizational aspects. As administrator of the system, Lena Ottosson, knows what it takes to keep it running.
“Implementing a PLM approach has huge benefits attached to it, but it also requires commitment, patience, and ownership. We have invested in training of end users but also in securing we can administrate the system,” she says.
Another advice from Lena is to allocate time to tide up among your documents, so you don’t bring inadequate information into the news system. Haldex themselves invested in this activity before Windchill went live. “You must decide on every item. It takes time, something we overlooked a bit. It was worth the effort.” That was then.
Three years after transition, Charlotte Wall sums up the experiences of using the new PLM system:
“I get so satisfied every time I use Windchill. It is a gigantic difference!”
Haldex develops and provides reliable and innovative solutions that improve safety, vehicle dynamics and environmental sustainability in the global commercial vehicle industry. The customers include manufacturers of heavy trucks, trailers, buses, and axle manufacturers. Other applications, such as military and agricultural vehicles, are also supported.
The product portfolio comprises all major components and sub-systems included in a complete brake or suspension system.
Headquartered in Landskrona, Sweden, they have a global presence. Employing close to 2,000 people, manufacturing takes place in Sweden, Hungary, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and the USA.