At SAPPHIRE NOW, I dropped in on a session given by the people at the Sandvik Group. Sandvik is a market leading manufacturer of tools and tooling systems for advanced metal cutting. Based out of Sweden, the company serves customers all over the world in the industrial engineering and mining industries.
Staying out in front is important to Sandvik – which is why the company maintains 50 R&D centers globally. The company’s customers depend on Sandvik to churn out high-precision products that help improve productivity, profitability, quality, output, and safety.
But with customers almost everywhere and operations spanning the globe, Sandvik faced the challenge of growing operational complexity. When it came to R&D, disparate systems and data silos made enterprise-wide visibility and fast collaboration a challenge. CAD systems were not integrated into core processes. Product and design teams operated locally, and distributed data globally as needed – leading to the duplication of design data.
Toward globalized PLM
For Sandvik, the solution was to rationalize and globalize processes according to the principles of product lifecycle management: create centralized views of product and design data, implement global processes with global controls, and enable access to processes and data for all relevant roles based on a single source of truth with no duplicates.
To move forward, Sandvik implemented the SAP Product Lifecycle Management application and the SAP Engineering Control Center integration tool. To ensure success, the company secured the buy-in of company leadership and prioritized stakeholder communications so that decisions were made quickly and transparently. Local implementation leaders headed up local sites while IT solution experts acted globally to coordinate activities (many of these experts drawn from implementation partner DSC Software AG).
Visibility, productivity, and digital twins
Today, Sandvik runs global distributed product development processes across 35 sites – all on a single platform with a unified data model and one source of product truth that spans the phases of design, planning, manufacturing, delivery, and operations.
The result has been an increase in productivity. Sandvik cut lead times by approximately 60% and doubled its efficiency. Measuring satisfaction from a business user perspective, the company found an improvement of almost 50%.
With processes supported by a single source of product data, Sandvik can now generate quotes, take in orders, and deliver service faster. And with product data no longer the responsibility of local business units, administrative burden has decreased as well.
Today, with CAD drawings integrated into core processes, designs are linked to products in the form of digital twins that mirror the physical asset and maintain all relevant information throughout its lifecycle. Engineering change processes are simplified, product data can be delivered to customer upon purchase, and new designs for product improvements start from a common point of understanding across teams – which helps to speed development and keep pace with customer demand.
Want to learn more about PLM and digital twin technology for manufacturers? Register today for the SAP Product Lifecycle Management Forum: Transforming Your New Product and Development Processes, June 10-11, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.