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Concurrent Engineering Blog

PTC® Product Development: 300% Global Collaboration Efficiency Increase

Posted by Richard Strange on 17-Feb-2009 14:18:00

Leading Supplier of Elevators and Escalators Streamlines Global Product Development with Windchill®

PTC today stated that the Schindler Group, the largest supplier of escalators and the second largest manufacturer of elevators worldwide, improved its product development efficiency by 300 percent after implementing the PTC® Product Development System (PDS). A long-standing customer of Pro/ENGINEER®, PTC’s 3D parametric CAD/CAM/CAE solution, Schindler adopted PTC Windchill® for content and process management.

PTC supports Schindler’s key product development business processes such as variant design, design outsourcing, and change and configuration management. By implementing a common product development infrastructure based on Windchill, the company improved the collaboration among engineering sites in Europe, South and North America and China and reduced time-to-market for its highly customised products.

Founded in Switzerland in 1874, Schindler Group is the largest manufacturer of escalators and the second-largest maker of elevators in the world. Schindler operates in more than 100 countries with offices on all five continents and employs 44,000 worldwide. Nearly half its current annual revenue is generated in the US and Asia. As a result of its extensive global expansion, the company realised that it was developing an ever increasing variety of different customer-specific products to meet specific regional requirements.

Schindler quickly recognised the need to standardise these product variations to reduce development effort, speed time-to-market and provide efficient aftermarket service. The challenge was to design global products with a geographically dispersed development team.

Schindler created a central Corporate Development Organisation (CDO) to lead the creation of global products and improve knowledge transfer between regional teams in Switzerland, the US, Brazil, and China. Schindler then sought one single collaboration platform to adequately support its new processes for global product development.

Schindler evaluated two alternative approaches: a direct integration of product development data into the existing ERP system versus the implementation of the PTC product development system. After an extensive technology benchmark, Schindler chose PTC to support its new business processes and enable global collaboration. As part of the implementation, Windchill, the integral information backbone within the Product Development System, manages previously distributed content in one single repository and allows role-based access to both internal and external partners.

PTC’s Global Service Organisation (GSO) merged the existing databases into the new Windchill database, and implemented Schindler’s release and change management process as an integrated workflow. Notification functions ensure that the relevant departments and employees are immediately informed when the status of certain data changes. Automating this process streamlines Schindler’s new development processes and keeps development timelines on track.

"The PTC solution offered greater flexibility than a direct integration into the ERP system", said Christian Lehmann, project manager at Schindler. "In product development we want to be able to generate data freely, without having to constantly create material master files and consider how the product will be manufactured. In addition, the solution was easy to configure and operate."

Since Windchill solution has been “live”, Schindler relies on a faster, easier development with concurrent design and engineering. "Without process standardisation and the PTC Product Development System, we would have needed to double or triple the human resources at our overseas sites. Accordingly, we have realised a 200 – 300 per cent improvement of efficiency in our product development", concludes said Bernhard Gysi, head of research & development, services and testing at Schindler. "Today, eighty percent of the data for our global product platforms are housed in one location, Windchill. All other sites access the core development data and adapt it for their specific requirements.” Schindler’s goal is to expand on the success of the PTC PDS by moving additional development tasks to its CDO in the future.