Dassault Systèmes zeroes in on high-tech manufacturers’ supply chain worries
When Ericsson engineers and developers devise new telecommunications equipment, they use Apriso software from Dassault Systèmes to ensure that the product’s engineering BOM (bill of materials) matches its manufacturing BOM, Olivier Ribet, VP for high tech industry / Internet of Things at Dassault Systèmes, told customers and partners in Shanghai during his firm’s Manufacturing in the Age of Experience event in November.
The Swedish firm is just one example of the work the French firm Dassault Systèmes is doing with companies around the world to manage effectively variants and configurations in engineering and manufacturing BOMs—which are a hot topic in the industry “knowing that manufacturing is largely distributed globally,” Ribet said in an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine.
To collaborate successfully, the mechanical engineers, electrical and electronics engineers, systems and simulation as well as software specialists involved in a new telecom product must all end up at exactly the same place—with BOMs that take into account everything from tooling capabilities, assembly line specificities and material characteristics in each individual shop floor.
“We partnered with Ericsson, leveraging Apriso, to ensure that their engineering teams, wherever they are in the world, can have a real-time view of the manufacturing capability and performance” Ribet said. “As they design and engineer that product, the system will tell them, ‘Okay, you’re good to go: There’s no major problem with what you were designing and engineering right now.’ Or, ‘Careful! You’re starting to use components—a microcontroller, a chip, a connector or cable or whatever—that you will not be able to assemble in this factory because you don’t have the tools or the robots or the people here to do this kind of work’.”
Dassault Systèmes held this manufacturing and supply chain event in China to sustain and accelerate its growth with Chinese high-tech firms and establish new distributor and integrator partnerships. And to do so, it spoke openly about its work with not only Ericsson but also Fujitsu Hitachi, NXP or NEC.
The message: More than any other industry, high tech takes the cake when it comes to being defined by manufacturing and supply-chain. “No other industry can live and die as quickly as high-tech if it succeeds or fails in manufacturing and supply chain,” Ribet said in the interview with Smart Manufacturing.
Dassault Systèmes in the last few years has been “investing quite significantly in manufacturing and supply chain software and industry solutions,” he added. It has built knowledge in the software segment working with its core customers, in transportation and mobility, aerospace and defense, industrial equipment and advanced high-tech companies.
Now, Ribet is leading Dassault Systèmes’ charge to gather more high-tech customers, as well as distribution partners and system integrators, in China. That includes technology suppliers—contract manufacturing services companies, specialized electronics providers, battery and power suppliers and builders of components and semiconductors—and OEMs specializing in consumer electronics, computing and communication equipment and “everything related to residential automation, security, robotics, and industrial automation.”
High-tech companies have done “a lot of work in the last 15-20 years to optimize and streamline the manufacturing supply chain, and they are still going through a massive, massive transformation right now because the market in which they operate is transforming very, very fast,” he said.
That’s because high-tech companies no longer have just a few customers for which they turn out a pretty standardized product in one or two countries.
“Now, when you look at companies like Pegatron, Wistron, Foxconn, Flex, they don’t have the relatively limited number of large customers that they had 15 years ago; they have way more than traditional PC and server OEMs used to have,” Ribet said. “They also have much smaller customers that have absolutely nothing to do with the conditions and demands that they were used to. The minimum order quantities are smaller but the complexity of products, their miniaturization, their degree of sophistication in electronics and software is higher.
“So instead of manufacturing PCs and servers and TVs and phones and screens and so forth, they need to start to manufacture and engineer and manage the supply chain of wearable devices, smart cameras, smoke detectors, embedded systems for automotive and complex medical devices,” he said. “This is great for them because this it extends the opportunity to create new high-tech products. But it is really, really challenging because instead of having dozens of customers, they have hundreds customers, with a super-high degree of complexity, variants, configurations, suppliers, components”
And instead of orders for 200,000-400,000 units, the companies make 15,000-25,000 units. “The game becomes to address the orders as quickly as possible and refuel as quickly as possible,” he said.
With that comes “a totally different way of working”—with new levels of complexity and possible variants.
Manufacturers have settled on four key issues: global production challenges, manufacturing visibility, quality and material flow.
“When you manufacture a watch, you cannot make
it available in Germany in three months and then in Spain after that and in the US after that,” Ribet said. “Things worked like that years ago. But consumers are
becoming inpatient: If your product is not ready when
it is launched in the global market, they will pick another product.”
Manufacturers expect some defects, but they are learning how critical it is to contain defects once they are discovered, Ribet said. “When you don’t contain the defect, when you cannot trace the defect quickly to the root, it becomes a big, big manufacturing and industrial problem, as well as a communication and marketing nightmare.”
To help manufacturers manage and trace subcontractors, ensure suppliers are consistently delivering the qualities that they need, and avoid post-production product inspection and quarantine, Dassault Systèmes sells industry solutions based on ENOVIA , QUINTIQ and DELMIA. “The combination of these three solutions has addressed that, and we signed several large deals this year.”
Dassault Systèmes bought QUINTIQ and Ortems recently to help beef up its software suite addressing material flow management, resources planning, forecast and demand management.
“When there’s something like a natural disaster, nobody can control that,” Ribet said. “But the biggest challenge that these high-tech companies have in manufacturing is the lack of consistency in controlling tightly the material flow. The guys who are doing TVs and screens are constantly exposed to that. The guys who are doing semiconductors are particularly exposed to that. This is where we are seeing fast-growing demand.”
High-tech product manufacturers’ speed needs are greater than aerospace and defense and automotive companies’ needs, he said. “It is easier to track the manufacturing of a plane than a smartphone.”