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Case Study: Improving Engineering Design, Documentation And Communication

Like many new companies, Apogee was managing product information with Excel spreadsheets where Bills of Materials (BOMs) were maintained manually and changes were managed in a homegrown system. The manual approach of hand entering information into spreadsheets proved to be error-prone with mistakes that wound up being very costly.

Mnet 180225 Omnify Lead

Apogee Electronics Corporation is a leading manufacturer of digital audio hardware systems and related accessories for audio professionals and musicians around the world. Founded in 1985, Apogee has pushed the envelope of digital audio quality and established themselves as a key innovator in the field of professional digital audio.

Its latest products JAM and MiC, designed especially for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and GarageBand software, are proof that Apogee continues to be at the forefront of recording technology. Apogee’s mission is to build products that offer ultimate sound quality, innovative design and unparalleled value to all music creators from the aspiring artist to the discerning audio professional.

Challenge/Situation:

Costly Management of Product Information with Excel Spreadsheets

Like many new companies, Apogee was managing product information with Excel spreadsheets where Bills of Materials (BOMs) were maintained manually and changes were managed in a homegrown system. The manual approach of hand entering information into spreadsheets proved to be error-prone with mistakes that wound up being very costly. In addition, Excel did not provide any capabilities for revision control or assessing the effects of design decisions.

Apogee needed to improve documentation and communication processes from design to manufacturing in order to know what they were building and when, along with any associated design and documentation changes. “We had to make sure communication between engineering and operations as well as operations and manufacturing was clear,” stated Marcus Fan, IT Manager for Apogee Electronics. “Excel did not provide a scalable or centrally accessible solution to meet our needs as a fast-growing company.”

Solution:

Web-based PLM with Direct Integration to Mentor Graphics PADS

Apogee was looking for a software solution to meet their specific needs for managing BOM revisions, document vaulting, and signoff procedures with a clear record of all changes. “The biggest factor for us in finding a solution was price followed by integration with our PADS PCB design tool, compatibility with Mac devices and the ability to own the data,” said Mr. Fan. “We looked at a few Product Lifecycle Management vendors including Arena Solutions, Siemens PLM and Omnify Software, and Omnify’s web-based solution provided all of the functionality we required with a price that was right for us.”

Customer Success:

Better Engineering Design Decisions and Communication

The Omnify Empower PLM system is used by the Engineering and Operations teams at Apogee and in some cases their Contract Manufacturing partners who have been granted a view-only access. Integration to their Mentor Graphics PADS®environment allows engineering to access Omnify Empower from directly within PADS. They use this integration to facilitate managing and sharing of all part data with important parameters synchronized between the two systems. The ability to apply unlimited attributes to a part in Empower allows Apogee engineers to search for parts based on functionality but also acquire additional business data such as where used, cost, lead time and history, to make better design choices up front.

“Empower PLM aids in designing new parts and finding parts we already use across our various product lines,” stated Kevin Vanwulpen, Digital R&D Engineer for Apogee Electronics. “It is now effortless to see which products a part is used on, ask the questions that need to be answered if that part changes, and process the changes via workflows for proper review and signoff. Upgrading from Excel to Omnify has helped us to save a large amount of time spent searching for information, guarantee our data is accurate and improve our design process.”

To learn more about Omnify Software, please visit www.omnifysoft.com

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