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Headquartered in Burlington, Ont., Higginson Equipment was founded in 1945 as a manufacturer of pneumatic and hydraulic NFPA-style cylinders, and as a distributor of fluid power and industrial product lines. In addition, the company manufactures “Economax” corrosion-resistant cylinders for the trucking industry, custom designs and builds special cylinders for a variety of uses, and leverages its expertise in pneumatics to create C-frame air presses.In 2009, Higginson decided to part ways with its 15-year-old business software. “There were three factors motivating our decision,” says company president Bill Allan. “First off, we'd been with our old system for 15 years. It was simplistic, and it didn't have a materials resource planning (MRP) component. The writing was on the wall. Secondly, the recession – we needed to increase our productivity without increasing our manpower. Finally, we received funding, in the form of two government grants, one through the Yves Landry Foundation, and the other through the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters' SMART Program. I was already a big believer in ERP. With government assistance I couldn't say no.”A 20-person company with revenues in the $7 million range, Higginson recognized the necessity of optimizing itself for the future. “We've been steadily growing,” says Allan, “but we needed something to help us get to the next level. We wanted to eliminate the inefficiencies and bottlenecks in our processes, and in doing so, we wanted to build a solid base for improvement and growth.”To facilitate its strategy, Higginson engaged its long-time VAR to perform an assessment and recommend an approach. “Our company-wide processes were analyzed in detail,” says Allan. “As a result we were advised to implement a new, more advanced ERP system. After doing due diligence, and on their recommendation, we chose Syspro.”When it came time for implementation, Higginson did it with alacrity. “We took what is usually a six-month process,” says Allan, “and did it in two months. We spent late nights, inventing on the fly, even made some rash decisions. Fortunately, the VAR that sold us Syspro gave us amazing support, and at the end of the day we got what we wanted.”Bill Allan says the company's new ERPbrought new efficiencies.As Higginson implemented its new ERP, says Allan, most of the old, inefficient processes were funnelled into one of the following categories:• Automated functions available in Syspro (e.g., automated work order creation from sales order; automatic serial numbers generation for manufactured parts) • Product configuration (to automatically define product specifications, Bill of Materials and cost at the time of quotation)• Integration with office productivity tools (such as Microsoft Office)• Electronic faxing and remote connectivity. “Syspro has made us much more efficient,” says Allan, “especially as far as the Bill of Materials (BOM) and work orders are concerned. We used to have to do an excel spread sheet for every job, and then more spreadsheets to calculate cut-lengths of different materials. Now we just put the model number in and Syspro calculates everything for us.” Before Syspro, adds Allan, Higginson's system supervisor, a highly skilled machine operator, sat at his desk three hours a day doing repetitive calculations. “Thanks to Syspro,” says Allan, “he's now gained three hours a day in production time. We've also managed to eliminate a good number of mistakes. Occasionally, in the past, we'd cut a batch of tie rods incorrectly – not anymore.”Because of Syspro's modular nature, one can add efficiencies to work-flow as time and energy allows. “One thing we want to do more of is load leveling,” says Allan. (Load levelling is the process of evenly distributing demand, in terms of orders or schedule, over a given period of time.) “We haven't quite figured out how to take advantage of it, but load levelling will give us a bird's-eye view of production. That will help us smooth things out, and see problems that might be coming down the road. It's a nice feature that we still have to leverage completely.”Asked to consider Syspro's ROI, Allan gives thanks again to the government-sponsored grants. “The grants considered,” says Allan, “Syspro is going to pay for itself in a year. The company is out-of-pocket approximately one person's yearly salary. For a relatively small amount of money, we automated our business processes and removed the repetitive paperwork. But the real money-saving consequence of Syspro is that we can now do more with fewer people – and that makes us more competitive. I would definitely recommend Syspro to any manufacturer.”For more information on Higginson Equipment, please visit Passingham is marketing manager for Syspro Canada.
The Company: Tigercat Industries is a full-range Canadian forestry equipment manufacturer. The company has established a leadership position in its market by developing premium-quality heavy-duty off-road equipment for use by logging professionals. With manufacturing facilities in Canada and Sweden, Tigercat has grown to become a worldwide distributor of a diverse line of forest harvesting systems.The Challenge: The company’s success rests partly on its commitment to using the latest, most-efficient product design and manufacturing technologies, according to Corey Vantilborg, engineering systems administrator. “At Tigercat, we have a history of pushing the envelope when it comes to technology, so we can quickly react to market and customer demands,” Vantilborg says. “Improving our efficiency and speed is part of our culture and we utilize the tools that best allow us to maintain our competitive edge.”The Strategy: Tigercat implemented the SolidWorks 3D design platform, installing 43 seats, to increase productivity in equipment development. The company later acquired SolidWorks Simulation software to realize additional time and cost savings by validating equipment designs. To gain even greater product development efficiencies, Tigercat implemented a product data management (PDM) system.“We had a number of designers and engineers who were working across four different plants accessing four different development servers,” Vantilborg recalls. “We believed that a PDM system would allow us to become more efficient by integrating our resources into a single operation, thereby realizing better revision control, more efficient workflows and greater access to design data.”For its PDM system, Tigercat chose SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software, implementing 200 seats, because of its ease of use, integration with SolidWorks software, customization potential and the support of Javelin Technologies, Tigercat’s local reseller. “At first, I did not think integrated PDM was a big deal,” Vantilborg explains. “But now that we are up and running, I can clearly see the efficiency benefits of interfacing with the vault directly from inside SolidWorks software.”The Results: By implementing SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software, Tigercat has integrated data management for all of its product lines – ranging from harvesters, bunchers and loaders to skidders, mulchers and attachments – with operations at all of its fabrication and assembly facilities in Canada and its manufacturing plant in Sweden. This integration has resulted in tighter revision control, reduced documentation costs and greater engineering and manufacturing efficiencies.“The ability of our engineering groups to communicate about models, maintain a revision history and capture design innovations has substantially increased efficiency,” Vantilborg stresses. “We have several hundred thousand unique design archives, all of which in the past required documentation with a paper drawing. The combination of digital signature capabilities and a heavily replicated system has led us to obsolete our costly, physical storage system. While we need to maintain some paper documents to meet legal requirements, we will otherwise eliminate paper altogether.”With PDM, Tigercat also has realized the ability to refine, automate and standardize its workflows. SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software provides a framework within which Tigercat can more efficiently develop products and manage design changes. “The PDM system eliminates shortcuts and immediate solutions in order to preserve quality and capture innovation,” Vantilborg notes. “The system forces you to follow the workflow procedure and provides accountability and traceability. As a result, our personnel give greater attention to detail and are faster at completing our processes. “There are no longer any quick fixes, which might solve an immediate need but have long-term, undesired ramifications. With the PDM system, all of our plants run differently and more efficiently,” he adds.Another positive impact of the PDM system is the way it has opened up Tigercat’s design data to departmental functions outside of engineering. By providing personnel in departments such as manufacturing planning, assembly, purchasing, sales and technical publications with access to the vault, the company has enjoyed additional productivity benefits.“Tigercat has always been an engineering-focused company,” Vantilborg points out. “By providing every department in the company with controlled access to the vault, we are realizing improved productivity throughout the organization. Purchasing uses the data to obtain quotes, manufacturing planning uses data for setup and shop floor computers give assembly personnel immediate access to the latest revisions. The system enables us to leverage our product design data throughout the organization.” www.solidworks.comA version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Company: Lynch Fluid Controls Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of motion control manifold systems, is known in the industry for high quality system design, first-class manufacturing and diverse integration. With the largest dedicated manifold design team and the most automated manifold manufacturing plant in North America, Lynch’s systems support a variety of industries, including aerospace, mining, oil & gas, forestry, material handling, construction, entertainment, military, medical and many more.The Challenge: Lynch’s management team knew they were overdue to replace an outdated ERP system that could not grow in the way the company envisioned. Their terminal-based system had many limitations in the areas of reporting, material & resource planning and end-to-end process integration. Gavin Lynch, chief information officer, says, “We were looking for a solution that would solve complex problems like real-time data acquisition and reporting, forecasting, business intelligence and mobile access, all within a system that was visible and accessible by everyone at Lynch.”The roadmap for a technically advanced ERP system was far more complex than an upgrade of their old system. One of the challenging tasks of the ERP migration was moving away from old methods and accepting new and improved business processes and functions. During the migration, Lynch improved the efficiency of the business by redefining job roles and responsibilities, increasing the visibility of all operations using reporting capabilities, adopting paperless methods and automating what once were manual, tedious and time-consuming tasks.The Strategy: Lynch implemented SAP Business All-in-One, a business management solution as well as an analytics tool, SAP BusinessObjects, with the help of SAP partner Contax Inc. By leveraging industry best practices built into the solution, Lynch increased visibility into their business areas and procedures with minimal customization. With SAP’s advanced data management, Lynch realized newly acquired reporting and forecasting opportunities. Lynch describes SAP as, “the best ERP system that incorporates strategies employed by some of the biggest and most successful organizations in the world. In places where SAP was different from our current process, we were generally open to making the leap to standard SAP functionality. We didn’t want to customize SAP to be backwards compatible to our old ways. Nothing would be gained by doing that.”For phase one, Lynch implemented the Materials Management (MM), Financial Accounting (FICO), Sales & Distribution (SD) and Production Planning (PP) modules. Together, these application components carry out most of Lynch’s current business processes while providing the ability to extend such processes according to the changing needs of their rapidly growing business.Part of the strategy for their successful go-live was recognizing what the company could support on day one. Lynch says, “I am confident that an outsider could ask any one of our staff about what they think of SAP and the response would be positive.”The Results: Now, after six months of running SAP, Lynch is seeing better control over the production process, inventory management and job costing. Customer service has also been improved with more accurate quotations and up-to-date order status using SAP BusinessObjects. With their growth plan still on track for expansion, company officials feel confident that their SAP foundation gives them a better view of goals and obstacles that are down the version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Company: Remec Broadband Wireless, with facilities in Kirkland, Que. and San Diego, Calif., as well as manufacturing in the Philippines, is a unique supplier of integrated microwave and millimeter wave subsystem solutions for the telecommunications market. The company designs and manufactures products that operate throughout the radio spectrum, from RF to microwave and millimeter wave frequencies, specializing in complex, high performance point-to-point radio modules and Outdoor Units (ODUs).The Challenge: Remec was challenged with arduous paper processes that had to be replicated at three facilities. The engineering change process at Remec required printing out a hard copy bill of material (BOM), redlining the BOM, scanning it in, distributing it via document control to obtain signatures and returning it to engineering for review. Complicating the problem even further was the fact that the two North American facilities had to communicate with the manufacturing facility in the Philippines - which added even more resource burdens and posed a high potential for user error. “In some instances, one person or site would do the engineering change correctly and the other would do it incorrectly so the changes were not in sync at both locations,” says Karla Spitz, document control, for Remec Broadband Wireless. “We needed to more effectively track changes in our products throughout our growing global company.”The company wanted to implement a system for paperless capture of Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) with online approvals and complete tracking of all changes, as well as maintain links to CARs (Corrective Action Reports), FAIs (First Article of Inspection) and TDAs (Temporary Deviation Article) for any given part. A single repository for product documentation and controlled product revisions across remote sites was extremely important to get everyone in sync. As a fast-growing company, Remec looked for an affordable, scalable Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution that also integrated tightly with their existing Intuitive ERP environment to avoid displacement of the current technology and provide one common database that sent data to and from the ERP system. “We were ultimately looking for the best bang for the buck in a PLM solution,” says Michiel Van Meurs, IT manager for Remec Broadband Wireless. “When we were introduced to Omnify Software we were amazed at how robust the solution was with a price that could be easily justified.”The Strategy: Prior to implementing Omnify Empower PLM, tracking ECOs was laborious both in recording the dates at each step and actually updating the spreadsheet for each ECO. It was a completely manual process and therefore subject to the vagaries people can create. Empower PLM provides a central, secure location for their global team to access and manage product documentation and engineering changes. Empower PLM has helped to eliminate the scenario of having several sets of hard copy redlines, that may or may not contradict each other, to add to an ECO. Remec Broadband Wireless created ECO workflows within Empower PLM that apply to all of their prototype and production work and created workflow stages to capture the activity that happens as well as the necessary electronic approvals. “Because Omnify Empower is flexible, we can continue to refine the workflows, add more functionality to our ECOs and continue in our effort to reduce the cycle time as well as devise new ways to be even more automated in the ECO flows,” says Spitz. “One way we plan to enhance our workflow process is by adding a notification stage to the TDAs in order to notify the responsible engineers (via adding their names into that stage as required) that the TDA is in work, rather than manually routing the hard copy and emailing them to let them know it’s in work.” Addressing the company’s goal for a common database that tied into its Intuitive ERP environment, the Omnify Empower PLM system is integrated with both the Canadian/U.S. Intuitive ERP database and the Philippines Intuitive ERP database. Data from approved change orders in Omnify Empower PLM is sent to one or both Intuitive ERP systems, depending on parameters set on each change order, ensuring both design and manufacturing teams have access to accurate product information. The Result: As a leading broadband wireless technology provider, improving and streamlining their product development processes supports the company’s focus on meeting the increasing needs of the growing customer base of communications industry leaders. Since implementing Omnify Empower PLM, the product data inconsistency rate at Remec Broadband Wireless has dropped dramatically. “Previously, we had about 20 per cent inconsistencies and we now have less than one half per cent,” says Van Meurs. “In addition, our ECO cycle time has gone from 39 days to 22 days – about a 46 per cent reduction.” Omnify Empower PLM has made it easier for remote sites to communicate with each other and the company is able to better track data and easily identifies bottlenecks for faster resolutions. “Omnify has become an integral part of our suite of business tools,” adds Van Meurs. “It has helped us begin to achieve our product development goals by allowing for more accurate data tracking, supplying a common database for all of our product documentation, providing workflows that everyone accesses the same way and being a common repository for changes that are to be reviewed by a global team. It has contributed to more effective communication between our sites and that helps everything run much more smoothly and quickly.” www.omnifysoft.comA version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Company: Garland Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance roofing and flooring solutions for commercial, industrial, and public properties, has 11 different companies with eight offices in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. and more than 500 employees. The Challenge: The company’s home-grown Informix application simply did not offer the integration options, quick data access, and reporting capabilities Garland Industries needed to stay on top of its growth and expansion. “We were looking for true business intelligence,” says Bruce Emrick, director of IT for Garland Industries. “We needed a way to effectively analyze our data and workflow to improve our business processes.” The Strategy: Garland Industries’ process manufacturing is similar to that of chemical manufacturers; its various roofing products and coatings are made from formulas of rubber, sand and asphalt. While the company maintains a base stock level of its most popular products, other production is in response to orders. The company needed software with an MRP function and chose Sage ERP X3.“MRP allows us to see the entire scope,” says Dan Healey, Garland Industries’ plant manager. “Before I would have to look at every single order. Now, I can break down demand by dates and products. I also can track where our products are sent.” Computers in the warehouse enable staff to record manufacturing data in real time, driving efficiency throughout the organization. “We know precisely what inventory we have available at any time,” Emrick says. “There is no longer a delay in recording activity on our work orders.” The Results: Garland Industries is in the process of rolling out Sage ERP X3 to each of its 11 companies. Each successive implementation has been faster and easier that the one prior. “Most recently we converted our Canadian company to Sage ERP X3,” Emrick says. “It required only minimal man hours and was accomplished quickly. And we were able to accommodate the unique processing they required easily.” A version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Company: Camille Cotran founded Densigraphix in 1979 in Montreal, Que., when he saw an opportunity to provide copier dealers with a lower cost alternative to OEM electrostatic copy paper. As the company’s dealer base migrated to selling and servicing the first generation of Japanese plain paper copiers, Densigraphix introduced generic toner to lower the cost per copy and increase the dealers’ profits. In 1989, Densigraphix saw the potential of the fledgling laser cartridge remanufacturing business. Ten years later, Densigraphix acquired Sel-Drum Corporation, a company that targeted the same customer base as Densigraphix, but focused on replacement copier parts such as drums, blades and fuser rollers. With the acquisition, Densigraphix has given its customers the ability to one-stop shop for both toners and copier parts.The Challenge: In today’s increasingly rapid and competitive business environment, the ability to communicate and share relevant information across the entire enterprise, as well as up and down the supply chain, is critical to satisfy a demanding marketplace. To achieve this goal requires an ERP system with a flexible, open architecture. Densigraphix chose to leverage the open architecture of the Syspro ERP system to refine and extend its business processes to sharpen its competitive edge.The Strategy: Densigraphix implemented Syspro Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Syspro’s open architecture leverages Microsoft.NET component architecture and XML standards to deliver “ solutions,” an open communication framework that provides users with a standardized method for directly accessing Syspro’s business functionality. Through the use of business objects, in-house applications can be created to enhance, simplify and extend Syspro functionality onto websites, into warehouses and on to the shop floor. Since business objects use the core system’s security, third party developers are relieved of the burden of duplicating Syspro security settings in their external applications. Furthermore, since business objects are separate from Syspro source code, external applications will continue to work after upgrades to future versions of Syspro.The Results: B2B integration facilitates the transformation and exchange of information between Syspro ERP and other applications, including legacy systems. Densigraphix’s partners and customers can order, query and update their information, regardless of the conversion requirements and data formats used. “Our Internet applications write orders to Syspro using business objects,” says Cotran. “That enables us to quickly establish and manage Internet relationships with other organizations. It also makes it possible for us to automate document interchange effortlessly.”Using business objects and Syspro, Densigraphix has taken advantage of an open architecture to optimize its IT investment. “For many businesses, Syspro ERP works right out of the box, but for companies that are actively involved in refining their business processes, Syspro’s focus on flexibility and integration can open up a world of opportunity,” Cotran says.www.Syspro.comA version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
The Company: Trimlite is a multi-site manufacturer of doors, specifically with glass inserts in the door or surrounding area. The company has two major sites in Canada, in Surrey, B.C., and Burlington, Ont.The Challenge: Trimlite had a legacy IT system in place that was not fully integrated across the company’s global operations. There were two disparate systems in place in Canada and the U.S., making it impossible for management to get a full picture at any given time of was happening in the business. In addition, only a few employees had the knowledge to run the dated IT system properly. The approach was very hands on and hard to run. Trimlite also had an arduous process in place for locating inventory in a timely manner and needed a new system that would provide accurate and timely order management and financial information. The old system had no bills of materials created, no structures, inadequate product costs due to manual entry and no KPMs. The system was not centralized and the hands-on approach made day-to-day activities very inefficient. Trimlite was in the market for technology that would be able to run itself, give the company accurate data to make informed decisions, and integrate global information into one easily digestible report.The Strategy: Once Trimlite identified these pain points in its business, the company turned to Infor10 ERP Business (Syteline) to streamline day-to-day operations across the network in real-time. Infor10 ERP Business provided the foundation to improve business efficiency, customer service and overall manufacturing productivity. The application delivered the complete package, with tight integration to tools for managing sales and customer service relationships, production, supply chain inventory and financial service management. In addition to gaining access to real-time information, Trimlite staff was able to seamlessly use this new and updated technology, increasing efficiency in day-to-day processes. The staff was able to create specific rules for the technology to perform upon and gain instant access to specific parts of the business. Manual entry and data redundancies were a thing of the past.The Results: Today, Trimlite has access to information in real-time, resulting in better customer service. Management and staff know immediately what they have, when they will have it, and how quickly they can get it out the door. In addition, the history that is built into the systems provides the team with greater visibility and knowledge into existing deals. The staff has gone from doing the work manually to letting the system do the work and managing the system. www.infor.comA version of this case study ran as part of the 2012 Software Case Study Guide in the September 2012 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.
If your organization is planning to implement ERP software without restructuring its operations, you can stop reading right now. In fact, you may as well take the money you're planning to spend on the project and throw it in the bin.  No matter how sophisticated your selected software may be, it can't make your organization significantly better in and of itself. In a best-case scenario, your organization will become marginally better. And, you can be sure that the value of the marginal improvements won't be anywhere near the costs of an expensive, time-consuming and resource-intensive implementation project.I’ll even take this assertion one step further. If your organization doesn’t use its ERP project as an opportunity to restructure its business, the project is very likely to get buried in the ERP graveyard, alongside the thousands of other ERP failures.Rather, your organization should use the project as a catalyst for change. It's an excuse to streamline and improve the business. ERP isn't a software project. It's a restructuring project; an organizational change project. You should look at your ERP project according to the 80/20 rule: 80 per cent of the benefits are driven by business process improvements and 20 per cent by the software itself.It’s important to keep these operational considerations in mind when evaluating ERP implementation proposals and service providers. If your organization is mid-sized, for example, and a service provider proposes end-to-end implementation in a couple of months' time, warning alarms should go off. Think about it. How long has your organization known that certain sub-optimal business processes have been hurting its performance? Probably for a long time. Yet, it has likely stuck with those sub-optimal processes because changing them has seemed too daunting or complex.So, given this context, do you really think a service provider can accomplish the following in a short two-month window: restructure the business processes, migrate data, properly train the users on the new processes AND system, implement the new processes and system and test everything thoroughly? The answer is a most probable no. Doing all of these things well takes time, skill, hard work and commitment.All too often (seemingly more so recently), companies come to us for re-implementation or project rescue services. In many of these cases – and this is perhaps an oversimplification – the initial services provider loaded the software, migrated some data, did a bit of testing and gave basic training on what system sessions (screens) look like.The service provider didn’t help with the restructuring – i.e. the main project component –  and didn’t ensure that the users learned the new system and processes (among many other problems we typically encounter, including testing and data migration).What ends up happening is that these companies run systems that don’t jive with their ways of doing business and their businesses still have the same operational inefficiencies as before. The only difference is that they now have fancy, shiny software systems that spew out meaningless financial reports and operational recommendations. The bottom line is this: there’s no magic bullet. There are no secret shortcuts. ERP implementation success is all about successfully integrating the ERP system into an optimized business environment.I’ve given the context that ERP implementation is first and foremost an operational restructuring project, it’s very important to evaluate your ERP service provider through the lens of business expertise (among other lenses).Jonathan Gross is vice-president of Pemeco, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in ERP selection and implementation. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This article originally appeared on Pemeco's website at
Rapidly-growing DVI Lighting Inc., an Ontario-based designer and distributor of residential lighting solutions, needed to streamline and improve its warehouse management processes with a software solution that could boost efficiencies and cut costs.  With some help from 3B Research and Consulting, DVI ultimately chose Syspro, a global, independent Enterprise Resource Planning software vendor, for its solid reputation and global track record, as well as the ease of use and functionality of its ERP system. “DVI brought us on board to help find the right ERP product for their needs,” says Alec Pestov, vice president of business development, 3B Research and Consulting. “They wanted to make their staff more efficient at processing tasks. They were expanding their warehouse. They were looking for a system with the functionality that could match their specific needs. All in all, they were looking for a modern, well-supported software system that could help them save money and make things easier on everyone. Syspro fit the bill perfectly.” Currently, DVI is using an out-of-date ERP and WMS software system that does not accommodate their warehouse’s rapid expansion and lacks support from the company that created it. DVI brought in 3B Research and Consulting both to spearhead the selection of the new software solution as well as facilitate the transformation and exchange of information between the Syspro ERP software and other applications.“Our current system is holding us back – not only is it difficult to use, but it’s costly to support,” shares DVI CEO Robert Francis Borg. “Implementation of Syspro is going full steam ahead. We are anticipating the improvements to our operations with Syspro and can’t wait to have the new system fully up and running.” While various different ERP systems were evaluated, DVI ultimately went for Syspro.  DVI staff found the Syspro system the most intuitive and straightforward to use. With Syspro, training new staff will be easier and will involve a faster learning curve than previously. The functionality of Syspro was also the right fit for DVI’s warehouse management needs and will allow them to seamlessly expand their warehouse operations. All in all, Syspro was chosen as the best solution for improving processes and boosting efficiency. Odete Passingham is marketing manager for Syspro Canada.
Tristan Gegaden, head of operations for the EADS PLM Harmonization Center, will make a keynote presentation at PLM Road Map 2012.  The keynote lineup for the conference, which runs from Oct. 2-3 near Detroit, also includes presentations by automotive expert Dr. David E. Cole, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Professor Dimitri Mavris, and Dana Holding Corporation’s Frank Popielas. In early 2007, EADS — the European Aeronautic Defense & Space Company — identified the need to raise PLM to the strategic level of the Group. This change in emphasis was necessary both to avoid any industrial disaster and to accelerate adoption of the new paradigm of increasing collaboration between dispersed engineering, manufacturing, and services locations. From that point forward PLM has been regarded as a strategic asset for EADS, an asset that is firmly rooted at the core of a lean industrial system. A significant driver for this harmonization is standards, which enables PLM interoperability throughout the extended enterprise. The harmonization of PLM across all the divisions and business units of EADS came to be known as the PHENIX (PLM Harmonization for Enhanced Integration and Excellence) program. In his keynote presentation, “Why PLM is Strategic: The Example of EADS/PHENIX,” Gegaden will discuss best practices related to large-scale PLM program governance, as experienced in the widely acclaimed PHENIX program.
Arbela Technologies and Saratech, Inc. are joining forces to deliver process and data integration between their respective Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) software offerings."Combining Saratech's PLM market leadership with the ERP and Supply Chain expertise of Arbela allows both companies to extend their services and capabilities to deliver a tight integration between Microsoft Dynamics AX and Siemens PLM Software for faster new product introduction, quicker quotation, order, and engineering change management improving customer service and profitability," says Nima Bakhtiary, president and CEO of Arbela Technologies."Saratech's partnership with Arbela gives customers access to industry experts in ERP and Supply Chain Management," says Saeed Paydarfar, CEO of Saratech. "This partnership falls in line with our goal of being a trusted resource for our customers by providing them with quality engineering and management solutions."
CIMdata, Inc., a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) consulting and research firm, will bring its PLM Certificate Program to Frankfurt, Germany from Oct. 15-19, 2012. The CIMdata PLM Certificate Program is the flagship offering of CIMdata PLM Leadership, a comprehensive, non-biased education and training offering available for today’s PLM professionals. The CIMdata PLM Certificate Program prepares PLM professionals at several levels to successfully address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. This assessment-based certificate program includes a personalized classroom experience, individual and team-based exercises, and individual evaluations of achievement. Additionally, the program provides intensive and extensive exposure to a team of CIMdata experts. Upon successful completion of the program, each participant receives a CIMdata PLM Certificate and becomes a member of CIMdata’s global PLM Leadership community. For more detailed information about the CIMdata PLM Certificate Program and how to register, visit CIMdata’s website.
Autodesk has named Canadian firm SolidCAD as Canada's first Platinum tier partner, a designation that shows a company has made a significant investment in consulting and development services.  SolidCAD, based in Richmond Hill, Ont., is the country’s first firm to achieve the coveted Platinum Partner status. Platinum Partners must have also demonstrated an ability to deliver the highest level of solution expertise, service, support, and customer satisfaction. "SolidCAD is thrilled to be recognized as Autodesk's first Platinum Tier Partner in Canada," Paul Forman, president, SolidCAD, said in a statement. "At SolidCAD, our entire team is passionate about delivering superior customer service and advising our clients on products that will improve their business. We thank Autodesk for recognizing our efforts." "Autodesk has more than 2,100 channel partners worldwide so it is a tremendous accomplishment for SolidCAD to be the first partner to reach the status of Platinum tier partner in Canada," Marcus Tateishi, channel manager, Autodesk, said. "I am very proud of their constant drive to success for themselves and their clients."
With a little help from 3D printing and some robotics, four-year-old Emma Lavelle has overcome the limitations of a congenital disorder and can use her arms for the first time. Using a Dimension 3D printer from Stratasys, Inc., researchers at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Philadelphia were able to create what little Emma calls her "magic arms." The device is a custom-designed robotic exoskeleton that enables her to conquer greatly limited joint mobility and underdeveloped muscles.But 3D printing isn’t just giving a little girl new arms – it’s also beginning to change the way products are manufactured. In addition to its role in manufacturing robotic exoskeletons, NASA has used the 3D printing technology to develop a human-piloted rover to explore Mars."Some of our world's greatest ideas are being 3D-printed," says Scott Crump, chairman and CEO of Stratasys. "Engineers want their technical work to connect to a greater good, and 3D printing is helping them bring their ideas to fruition to improve lives and the world around us. As more people become aware of the possibilities of 3D printing, its impact outside of traditional manufacturing and design realms will continue to grow."The technology can help manufacturers design and build prototypes faster as well. "It seems that almost any problem involving three-dimensional objects can be solved faster and better with the use of additive manufacturing technology," 3D-printing market consultancy Wohlers Associates wrote in its Wohlers Report 2012.
The Curiosity Mars rover has landed safely and has been sending back stunning images of the red planet. But did you know that the software used to design the rover is very similar to the kind used in manufacturing? Check out some of the work the University of Leicester has done with NASA and Siemens PLM Software to help develop different spacecraft.

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