Bending Space and Time: A New Way to Think about Collaboration

In most engineering organizations there is an uneasy truce between teamwork and solo endeavor. The contributions of many people are necessary and the interactive processes move ideas from concept to reality. But generally speaking, each team member works best not in a meeting but when he or she enters into their personal creative zone. Time seems to stand still; performance is at its peak. Alone with their ideas and their design tools, engineers and other team members create information that becomes products or assets.

And then the ethereal bubble gets popped by collaboration. Others need the engineering data, and they usually need it in bits and pieces that require searching, compiling, copying, and sending. The processes of sharing take precious time away from the creative. In this day and age of global connectivity the sharing happens not in one particular space but across ever-increasing distances. It can feel as if space and time are collaboration hobgoblins conspiring to steal the creative bliss of engineering. Read More

Greene, Tweed’s Winning Recipe for Synergis Adept/SAP Integration

Greene, Tweed & Co. may be a major player on the global stage, but for most of its history, its engineering data had a decidedly local footprint, tucked away in different file shares around the world and typically painstakingly difficult to find and share.

That is until the manufacturer of high-performance elastomeric and thermoplastic materials embarked on a journey to deploy Synergis’ Adept Product Data Management (PDM) system to centralize its critical engineering assets, including SOLIDWORKS CAD files, and to automate approval workflows on a global scale. But Greene, Tweed wasn’t content to stop there. Its vision was to integrate the Adept PDM platform with its core ERP system to make engineering data accessible to a much broader audience.

Greene, Tweed, like many companies, sees value in syncing its core enterprise systems rather than fostering silos that prevent groups like engineering and manufacturing from readily exchanging data and working off the same page. That’s according to Steven Danasko, SAP Solution Specialist in Greene, Tweed’s IT Center of Excellence, Product Lifecycle Management, who was the key orchestrator of the project. Danasko says that beyond a desire for more centralized data repositories and integrated workflows, the Adept/SAP integration made sense from a financial standpoint because it opened up access to critical engineering data to existing ERP users without requiring investment in additional software licenses. Read More

5 New Year’s Resolutions to Start the EDM Conversation

It amazes me that in 2016 there are still companies that don’t know what to do with engineering and enterprise data. Do we keep it on local hard drives? Should we get a shared hard drive? Servers? Vaults? Cloud(s)? Do drawings go in the same place as plots? What about spreadsheet files?

If your company is still scratching its corporate head about how to manage enterprise data—and even worse, confusing storing data with managing it—then it is time to wake up and smell the Grade AA Arabica coffee of modern engineering data management and stop drinking the cheap Robusta of file storage. If you need some help convincing the Powers That Be in your organization about the importance of data management, here are five New Year’s Resolutions to get the conversation started. Over some really good coffee, of course. Read More

Throttle up an Adept Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster recovery (DR) planning is a bit like purchasing those pricey, added insurance addendums when planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip—it’s distasteful to shell out the extra cash to prepare for the unlikely, but with so much at stake, it’s hard to ignore the risks.

Many companies—like too many travelers—are still doing too little to protect their key systems despite the well-publicized fall-out from catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina or even from human error, which is the biggest culprit of data loss and downtime. Data compiled by Infrascale (https://www.infrascale.com/25-disaster-recovery-statistics-for-2015-infographic/) revealed that 40% of organizations ranked their ability to recover operations after a disaster as fair or poor and that it takes almost 18.5 hours, on average, to recover after a disaster. That might explain the high price tag associated with inadequate disaster recovery practices: Research pegs the average cost of one hour of downtime at $8,000 for a small company and up to $700,000 for a large enterprise. Read More