PING's plan to completely re-engineer its product development process is paying off big.
Yes, that decimal point is in the right place. Engineers at PING actually achieved this extraordinary result, and they told attendees at the PTC/USER World Event in Dallas recently how they managed to pull it off.
"The numbers sound almost goofy," admits Daniel R. Shoenhair, engineering business manager at PING, as he described how the company exceeded even its own expectations in his highly entertaining keynote speech June 6, at the PTC/USER World Event in Dallas.
Engineering Manager John Solheim described a five-year process that began with some basics: formalizing the product development process, instituting project management and separating out R&D from engineering. "We had some big inefficiencies in our process back in 2000," he recalls. "For example, every time an engineer saw a new technology, he'd go straight to CAD drawings. If it didn't work out, we'd have a big delay in introducing the product. So in essence we switched from a process of design then test, to a process of testing first, then design."
Solheim also began investigating a new CAD system for the company. Once PING narrowed the selection down to two CAD vendors, PTC essentially "outmodeled" the competition by coming in and creating a model of the TiSI driver in Pro/ENGINEER. "In about two hours, they came up with something that was pretty close to the real thing," says Solheim.
Although modeling efficiency went nearly through the roof (thanks to such tactics as the use of family trees) with the implementation of the new CAD system, PING didn't just stop at buying 20 seats of Pro/ENGINEER.
Solheim described how over the next three years, the company extended and refined its strategy, acquiring such capabilities as FEA and Windchill ProjectLink and PDMLink for data management. "Engineers had all this great data, but it was locked up on their desktops. We wanted this information to be available to everyone."
More recently, they've extended organizational learning and expanded the scope of the strategy, training engineers on concepts like lean manufacturing and applying new marketing research techniques to figure out what customers really want. They've also bought a Cray supercomputer to speed the processing of FEA analyses.
Clearly, the strategy is paying off, exceeding even the most wild of expectations with 14 new product introductions last year. "Don't tell the engineers, but we would have been happy just to get to four major product introductions in a year," admits Shoenhair
For more information on Windchill PDMLink
For more information on Windchill ProjectLink.