The decision to go with CONTACT Software was taken after a comprehensive benchmark and a successful pilot project in two of the company's application centers (ACs) that configure custom solutions from standard components. The use of CIM DATABASE PLM more than halved the time needed for the offer process.
Thanks to the agile approach implementing the first solutions, users in the biggest ACs in Barcelona and Detmold were working productively with the PLM system after just a few months. CONTACT Software used the extensive project management functions provided by CIM DATABASE to map the new, uniform, enterprise-wide offer process for custom solutions and integrated it with the ERP system in such a way that the engineers are immediately able to calculate the cost of custom solutions.
The PLM system is now to be rolled out in the other nine ACs in order to exploit global synergies in order processing. Before this is done, CONTACT Software will connect the new Weidmüller configurator to CIM DATABASE to allow offers for fully configurable custom solutions to be created automatically.
Rollout of the PLM system in the ACs is the first milestone in the implementation of the global PLM 2020 project. Dr. Bernhard Gorny, Head of Product Lifecycle Management, outlines the strategic objectives: "We want to be able to control the entire process chain from the initial idea and product development right up to product maturity, including changes and the discontinuation of a product, in a uniform way." By establishing a single source of truth, Weidmüller anticipates being able to avoid errors, improve integration of domain-specific development processes and reduce costs.
During the benchmark, Weidmüller attached particular importance to scalability and the ability to deploy the new system rapidly. Alongside the comprehensive functionality and multi-CAD support provided by CIM DATABASE, its open, modular software architecture and the agile approach of the company during implementation were therefore key factors in the decision to choose CONTACT as the software vendor and integration partner. "Our modular technology platform makes it very easy to use agile methods to quickly provide the users with the functionality they require and then gradually extend the PLM system," explains Markus Feldmann, project manager at CONTACT Software.
Their positive experience during implementation of the AC solution persuaded Weidmüller to make even more rigorous use of agile methods in the global PLM project and to largely dispense with creating extensive requirements specifications. Instead, the requirements of the users are recorded in “user stories” and implemented in rapid sprints.
For decades, Weidmüller has been setting new standards globally in the field of electrical connection technology. Customers from mechanical engineering, process engineering, power generation, traffic engineering and appliance manufacturing use products and solutions from the Detmold-based, family-owned company for the transmission of power, signals and data. In addition to traditional connection technology, the products also include connectors for electronics and the automation industry. Weidmüller has production plants, sales subsidiaries and offices in more than 80 countries around the world and, in the last business year, earned revenues of 696 million euros with a workforce of 4,500.
Photo (10 MB), copyright Weidmüller