How myPDS applications support Suunto’s single source of truth

How myPDS applications support Suunto’s single source of truth 

The Finnish manufacturer of sports watches, dive computers and other outdoor precision gadgets, Suunto, boarded a serious digital journey in 2018. From being basically, a CAD-file database, Suunto transformed with Windchill into a single source of truth together with PDSVISION. It has since then been supplemented with the myPDS applications QA, Search, and Classification. 

Today, our PLM is a walk in the park,”

Ossi Lehtonen, Principal Mechanical Engineer at Suunto.

Suunto’s heritage goes back almost a hundred years. In 1936, the Finnish adventurer Tuomas Vohlonen invented the liquid-filled compass with a steadier, more accurate needle. Suunto was born and has been right on track ever since.

Today, Suunto is a world-leading provider of sports watches, dive computers, compasses, and other gadgets for adventurers and outdoor people. Hi-tech products with lots of advanced mechanical and electronic components, in other words. Add to this a high market pressure to release new products and updated versions of existing products, and you have all the prerequisites for a complex and time-consuming work within PLM.  

A structured and transparent PLM 

Creating a transparent, single source of truth environment for all involved requires that you put resources into digitalization. This is what Suunto started doing six years ago. Today, they reap what they have sown. 

“We now handle our products in a structured way with Windchill: items, BOM:s, change management, document management, materials, electronics engineering–all are handled within Windchill. An important part of our PLM implementation is the integration with another master data system, our ERP solution,”
Ossi Lehtonen says. 

“Our manufacturing plant in China and all our suppliers are also integrated with Windchill,” adds Mikko Ojala, Solution Owner of PLM. 

PLM and change management– a big challenge 

Suunto’s digital journey has overall gone without mishaps, even if some people always are reluctant to change, Ossi Lehtonen says. 

“Ten years ago, we had a lot of silos and scattered information. Today, with Windchill as a single source of truth, we can trace everything back in time.” 

Before, there were no links between manufacturing items and CAD files.  

“If we had a problem in the manufacturing process, it was a time-consuming job to find the right documents. And it happened at least once a week, involving hours and even days finding the right documents. Today, it takes a maximum of 15 minutes. This traceability is precious,” Ossi Lehtonen states. 

“Our change management also improved when it joined Windchill in 2020. It became more accurate, with all change requests implemented in the system,” Mikko Ojala remembers and points out that the PLM and change management is a big challenge for the company: 

“Our products contain a lot of mechanical and electronic components, 

and are filled with software as well. And we need to constantly and fast change components, as we always must update our products.” 

How Suunto benefits from myPDS applications 

Suunto has implemented a set of myPDS applications to boost the usage of its PLM.

One application plays an important role in the change management process – myPDS QA. It helps ensure that the data meets the standards and requirements set by the company, by guiding the user with crucial feedback during a change. It acts as a gatekeeper to minimize the risk that unreleased or faulty data reaches downstream systems. That could seriously affect the enterprise. Departments consuming this information could, in the worst case, receive costly backorders as they manufacture parts incorrectly. For Suunto, this is crucial, as the ERP integration is one-way, based on FTP-file transfer. 

“This means we don’t get any feedback from the ERP. Data, like items, structures and BOM:s, that are exported from Windchill have to be 100 percent correct. We can trust the QA application in this, as it checks that all information and all values are correct,” Mikko Ojala explains. 

Without the QA checks, extensive damage could occur downstream. 

“If we send incorrect data, the manufacturing department might end up ordering the wrong components or not ordering them at all. Thanks to myPDS QA, we don’t need to double check everything. That would be very time-consuming,” Ossi Lehtonen says and points out that the user doesn’t even notice that the application is installed and at work. 

“It is quite invisible for the end user. It tells you if something is wrong and thereby removes human errors.” 

Fast and easy in Windchill  

For occasional users, the interface of Windchill may appear complex and difficult to understand. This is why myPDS Search is an option, enabling basically everyone that needs information from the PLM-system to get it easily. 

“You certainly don’t need to be a Windchill guru to use the system with the myPDS Search application installed. And if you use Windchill from our manufacturing site or a supplier in China, it is quite slow. With Search it gets much faster to get the requested information. It is a huge step from the past,” Mikko Ojala explains. 

Suunto mainly uses myPDS Search to share data with its suppliers. For this purpose, they have a simplified version. The user just types the object number and gets access to all data needed.  

“The quality department sometimes uses it as well, when they are checking incoming parts,” Ossi Lehtonen says. 

A common interface with myPDS Classification  

When putting in data attributes to Creo, Suunto uses myPDS Classification. It enables the company to more easily follow standards, better classify information for reuse and align naming conventions for the ERP and other applications. 

“With Classification, we can provide a common interface to put attributes into drawings easily, for example revision comments. We also use templates where designers can select what materials we use and so on,” Ossi Lehtonen explains. 

One myPDS application for each purpose 

Mikko and Ossi points out that the three myPDS applications serve different purposes: 

  • QA secures data integrity. 
  • Search serves faster time-to-manufacturing (and thereby time-to-market) and better communication. 
  • Classification provides a common language and clear structures, harmonizing the PLM work. 

Ossi Lehtonen and Mikko Ojala agree that without Windchill and the myPDS applications, they would be in a difficult situation. 

“The compliance side has become quite invisible to the engineers, as compliance now has access to all data, they need in Windchill. A couple of years ago, compliance was very time-consuming for our engineers. Now we can put our focus on constructing new products instead of explaining the content of past products,” Ossi Lehtonen says. 

A profound partnership 

The partnership with PDSVISION goes back long before Ossi and Mikko boarded Suunto. Windchill was implemented in 2010 and the partnership with PDSVISION is well-established and profound. 

“A partnership is about two-way communication, and it is important that the communication from both parts works well. PDSVISION knows and understands our system and history, which makes it easy for us,” Ossi Lehtonen states. 

“Our questions are often tricky and very technical, and PDSVISION has a highly technical support team that can help us out. And although it is a global company, they have local support in Finland. That is valuable for us,” Mikko Ojala concludes. 

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About Suunto

Finnish manufacturer, Suunto is at the forefront of design and innovation for sports watches, dive computers and instruments used by adventurers all over the globe.

Photos: Suunto

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