Electromechanical components manufacturer elobau saves costs with Teamcenter product cost management.

Product: Teamcenter
Industry: Electronics y Semiconductors

Siemens’ solution helps elobau reduce processing time for quotations by 40 percent

Ideal interface between human and machine

Founded in 1972, elobau is intimately familiar with machine optimization as it is globally recognized for its engineered, innovative and rugged component parts. With innovative, non-contact sensor products, elobau supports customers worldwide in the manufacturing of industrial machines. The company also sets the standard for performance, operator comfort, safety and quality. Elobau covers a range of application requirements with products for operating and controlling mobile (off-road) machines. One of the world’s leading providers of non-contact sensor technology, elobau supplies globally recognizable companies with systems and components for commercial vehicles, machine safety and level measurement. Renowned commercial vehicle manufacturers from the agricultural and construction machinery sector are among elobau’s long-standing customers.

Industry pioneer for sustainable products

In 2017, elobau received the German Solar Prize. Elobau supports sustainable production by producing more electricity than it consumes and boasts a 100 percent own electricity quota. In 2016, the company was nominated for the German Sustainability Award. With the development of a modular vehicle operating system, elobau is a sector pioneer in the field of sustainable control elements.

Due to a large extent of in-house manufacturing (90 percent), elobau achieves high manufacturing speed, flexibility and reliability while maintaining high product quality. These requests are often customer-specific. Acceptance tests are necessary to design a control system to the exact requirements of a commercial vehicle for specific development work including product design, construction, hardware and software development and tool design and construction as well as simulation. At elobau, almost all development and production processes are conducted in-house. Elobau develops the tools and produces them in the compny’s tool shop. Production and testing systems are also planned, designed, developed and manufactured in-house. This accelerates a series introduction and keeps the necessary flexibility to react to customer requests.

Existing spreadsheet solutions were no match for the requirements

In the past, elobau encountered challenges in product and tool cost calculation. Differing company-wide calculation methods used in individual segments made it extremely difficult to track and optimize product and tool costs. Different information technology (IT) structures and a lack of storage systems standardization challenged elobau’s cost analysts in exchange and access-distributed calculations. The preparation of cost calculations with different versions of a spreadsheet-based software resulted in individual, non-standardized calculations in each region and segment. This lack of standardization of quotation calculations led to different sales prices, resulting in competitive disadvantages. The complexity of offers increased, making, timely quotation submissions full of risk.

A comprehensive approach to calculation

Elobau recognized the potential to optimize the cost calculation process and introduced a process- and database-based solution. One of the key requirements of the new system was to connect product and tool costs within one system to simulate the influence of changes in tool cost calculation on product cost. Following a strenuous benchmarking of competing products, elobau adopted Siemens Digital Industries Software’s Teamcenter® product cost management software.

The complexity of current development projects is reflected in the bidding phase. Elobau’s quotation processes are handled by a project team from different departments to offer customers the best possible solution.

For example, an elobau armrest consists of more than 2,000 individual parts. If a significant number of new parts need to be developed, more effort is required for the quotation. Due to the nature of today’s constantly evolving marketplace, elobau requires a detailed cost calculation. Calculating quotations is a comprehensive analytical task that covers areas such as value engineering/value analysis, development and purchasing. This phase is crucial for new orders. Accurate quotation calculations are crucial for winning a contract and securing the financial success of the future product.

Elobau uses the Teamcenter solution for product costing to calculate complex quotations achieving optimal calculations. The Teamcenter solution for product costing also allows elobau to create the necessary transparency for the customer and provide financial benefits.

Calculate more efficiently and use advantages

After a project has been awarded, the calculations begin. The advantage of using the Teamcenter solution for product costing is evident early in the process. The 3D design data, generated with Siemens’ NX™ software, the system the company uses for computer aided design/computer-aided engineering/computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAE/CAM), can be used for calculations. Elobau uses Teamcenter’s database with reference processes for plastic injection molding. Significant calculation elements include manufactured parts, raw materials, work plans with manufacturing processes and additional costs, such as tools and assemblies.

During the project, the result is a calculation based on a detailed bill-of-materials (BOM). Once the cost details for the individual items have been obtained, elobau performs regular target cost reporting. With the defined figures, the product costs are compared with previously established target costs. The cost analysts can use Teamcenter to track the development cost of individual processing steps and immediately identify critical projects.

Faster, more accurate and less error- prone tool cost calculations

Starting from the part geometry in the tool costing area, the tool components are automatically dimensioned and calculated using Teamcenter® software for tool costing. This is made possible by integrating the product and tool cost calculations using Teamcenter. Using NX Feature2Cost, the integrated tool for tool costing in NX CAD, elobau can accurately calculate mold tool costs based on the detection of costly geometric parameters such as surface area, volume and wall thick-ness. The ability to simulate the implication of the changes gives elobau fast and reliable decisions for each assembly and tool.

“Teamcenter product cost management allows us to reduce any deviations between quotation costing and final costing,” says Christian Herter, Calculation/VAVE Department, elobau.

Despite frequent customer changes during the quotation phase, elobau remains flexible and can adjust quotations in a very short time. “Teamcenter optimizes our quotation calculation processes, reducing the time for quoting by 40 percent,” says Herter.

Today, elobau relies on Teamcenter. All parties in the calculation process access the same data and have the same level of knowledge. Elobau minimizes error sources and calculates additional variants with minimal effort through a structured representation of the cost and use of consistent standards. Teamcenter enables elobau to work much more efficiently throughout the calculation process and pro-duce traceable results. With Teamcenter, elobau has achieved a structured and standardized global process.

“Teamcenter product cost management helps us identify cost saving potential for new products as well as optimize costs for series production,” says Herter. Elobau will continue to rely on Teamcenter in the future to continue realizing high quality while optimizing costs.

ATK: Transforming data into a corporate asset

Industry: Aerospace and Defense

Using the Teamcenter solution for Reporting and Analytics, ATK pulls information from multiple enterprise systems, providing intelligent insight for smarter decisions.

Innovation delivered through PLM

ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with approximately 17,000 employees working throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and internationally. The company develops and manufactures highly engineered materials and products that support mission-critical applications for its defense, aerospace, and security and sporting customers.

ATK’s business objective is “Innovation Delivered.” To fuel innovation, the company has fully embraced a product lifecycle management (PLM) strategy across its divisions and value chain. Siemens Digital Industries Software solutions – NX™ software, Tecnomatix® software and Teamcenter® software – form the foundation of ATK’s PLM strategy, which spans the product lifecycle. “Our use of PLM extends from portfolio management, to gathering requirements, and then using those requirements throughout all the organizations inside ATK, and even our supply chain outside of ATK, to deliver products that meet our customers’ needs,” explains Jon Jarrett, director of engineering processes and tools at ATK.

The information exists, but how to get at it?

ATK’s PLM database contains a wealth of product and process data, yet it is just one source of information that managers tap as they carry out their programs. Other relevant data resides in financial systems, the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the company’s scheduling system, and so on. With critical business information segregated in “silos,” it had become difficult to answer common business questions such as, “What is my first-pass yield?” or “How many documents are needed to support this program and will they all go out on time?”

ATK had been answering such questions by assigning a person to comb through the relevant databases, contact the appropriate people, and prepare a report. Some of thosead hoc reports required as many as 80 hours to generate. And while the company was able to get answers to specific questions this way, managers were not able to use data easily or proactively. In fact, many had created their own spreadsheets and other documents for tracking programs and processes. “People were doing duplicate work and there was no consistent format for those documents,” says Jarrett. “And people were constantly being pinged for information. Those interruptions are very detrimental to productivity. We wanted more efficiency in getting the data out, and we wanted it displayed in a way that everyone could benefit from.”

A BI solution that works with PLM

A business intelligence (BI) solution – software designed to identify, extract and analyze data – seemed to be what ATK needed. The company’s first use of a BI solution for PLM data, however, was a failure. “We went down the path with a certain BI solution to pull PLM data, but it couldn’t understand PLM data models or security rules,” says Paul Nelson, PLM architect at ATK. “We didn’t want people to see data they shouldn’t have access to. We wanted to be able to mine that data for gold, but not make it a free-for-all.”

Next, ATK tried the Teamcenter solution for Reporting and Analytics, which turned out to be a much better solution. Not only is Reporting and Analytics able to work with the Teamcenter data models and security rules, companies can utilize it to extract information from multiple sources, including commercial applications like ATK’s financial systems as well as home-grown programs. In addition, with Reporting and Analytics, users can aggre-gate data from multiple sources into reports and dashboards. Users can explore varying degrees of lower-level data to understand project specifics or higher-level data to get the big picture. ATK’s reports and dashboards typically contain three categories of information – for executives, managers and individual workers.

“Using Reporting and Analytics, we can quickly pull out data that helps us run our business,” says Nelson. “We’re getting gold out of that data now. It’s unlocked, and it can be presented in a way that people understand immediately.” For example, ATK has established a Science and Engineering dashboard that is accessed through a SharePoint portal. “With just a glance, people can see that screen is red or green, and know the status immediately.”

Report writers reassigned; everyone is more efficient

A dashboard showing costs and schedules is displayed continuously on a big-screen TV in a well-traveled place where everyone can see it. In addition to dashboards, ATK has used Reporting and Analytics to develop a number of highly useful reports. This work is done by Tim Gleason, an ATK software engineer, who is now handling a volume of work that required four people previously. “Tim can barely keep up with all the requests for reports, which come from managers and occasionally even from customers,” says Jarrett. “But we used to have four people doing this work. Now it’s just Tim. The others have been reassigned.” Reporting and Analytics’ tools allow Gleason to create reports much faster than anyone could previously, and he appreciates the fact that he can easily arrange the information in any format anyone requests.

A great example of the kind of “gold” that ATK now easily mines from its business systems is one called the “Automated Requirements Volatility Metric (ARVM)” that draws from Teamcenter System Engineering data. “One of the predictive metrics established by the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) to determine program success is how often requirements change during the life of the program,” explains Nelson. “You’re not going to have a successful program if you’re trying to hit a moving target. The ARVM reports track how many of those baseline requirements are changing on a monthly basis. If they are changing more than a certain threshold, the screen turns red. It’s a way for a program manager to monitor the health of the program.” ATK did track this information in the past. In fact, they had assigned one person to gather data and provide the monthly report. That person has been reassigned.

Other reports used at ATK include one that lets people see all the items they have due within a certain timeframe. “Typically people just get the hammer when they’re behind. This shifts the focus from firefighting to being proactive,” says Nelson. Another report shows managers how many documents must still be completed for a given program. By combining information from the PLM system and the scheduling system, this report can also tell the manager exactly how many hours are needed to complete that work.

In general, the deployment of Reporting and Analytics has made everyone, from executives to engineers, more efficient, according to Jarrett. “People are not being bugged all the time, and they’re not having to do their own Excel reports,” he says. “We are saving thousands of hours this way.” Another advantage of the Teamcenter solution is that information is more current. With reports that formerly took up to 80 hours to create now avail-able automatically, many reports are generated on an hourly, daily or weekly basis rather than monthly. This real-time visibility helps drive data integrity and accuracy. Finally, ATK is seeing its executives take greater advantage of the information in the company’s enterprise systems. “Sure they could do an advanced search of a database, but they are too busy for that,” Nelson explains. “If you break down the barriers, as we have done by giving them a dashboard that’s very graphical and user-friendly, you get more leadership engagement with the data.”