PLM fast start yields quick results
Move to NX and Teamcenter provides vital functionality for a global organization; delivers significant collaboration, productivity and business benefits
Under the spotlights
iGuzzini, established in 1958, produces indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures. It is the Italian leader in technical and architectural lighting, and ranks among the leading companies in Europe. iGuzzini belongs to Finanziaria Mariano Guzzini (Fimag), a holding company that includes the companies of the Guzzini Group: F.lli Guzzini, iGuzzini, Teuco. iGuzzini headquarters encompass an area of 150,000 square meters, of which 54,000 are indoors.
iGuzzini focuses on the medium- to high-end sector of the lighting market, producing lighting equipment for public places and buildings. Its products are found in public facilities, bars and restaurants, shopping malls, stores, offices, palaces, urban installations, churches and museums. A few years ago, business was expanded to street lighting, introducing the first light emitting diode (LED) appliance for this application. These lights are distributed in Italy exclusively by Enel and have already been adopted in the towns of Lodi and Alessandria.
Until the mid-1970s, when the first oil crisis occurred, iGuzzini was manufacturing decorative lamps for home installation and other interior uses. A turning point came in 1975, when the company decided to enter the industrial design business, producing spotlights. That was the beginning of strong re-launch and sustained financial growth. A manufacturing unit in China was added to help meet demand.
PLM for growth
The year 1975 marked the beginning of information technology (IT) implementation at iGuzzini. “With significant financial resources available [due to rapidly growing sales], we could implement a number of programs in the IT space,” recalls Massimo Gattari, design manager at iGuzzini. “We focused on cost control, aiming to achieve the best results with minimum expenditure. At the beginning, IT only meant accounting, shipping bills and invoicing. Then, in the mid-80s, we installed some computer-aided design (CAD) workstations with 2D software to replace drawing boards. In the nineties we upgraded to 3D technology.”
By the mid-2000s, iGuzzini had approximately 60 CAD stations and more than 100 users. In 2000, the company launched a product data management (PDM) project. “This initial experience, extended over time, was definitely important to acquire competence and build a cultural foundation that turned out to be useful when we decided to move to a more comprehensive and complex solution,” Gattari says. “The change would have been difficult without this experience.”
To meet the advanced requirements of the organization, iGuzzini management launched a selection process for an integrated CAD/PLM (product lifecycle management) solution. “In the first stage, we identified a short list of candidates,” explains Gattari. “Ultimately, we selected Siemens PLM Software solutions. Gattari noted a remarkable difference in the PLM area, explaining, “The difference was in the software’s capacity to adapt to our requirements. This was the factor that directed our final decision. CAD is important, but today it is just a part of the solution; the ability to manage, search and retrieve all kinds of information is essential for a global organization like iGuzzini.”
Up and running very quickly
Once the agreement with Siemens PLM Software was finalized, the transition to NX™ software and Teamcenter® software faced a major challenge immediately. The licenses of the old software expired on December 31. This meant that the transition to the new solution had to be complete in three months to avoid having to pay license fees on the old software for an additional year. “In just three months, with the support and collaboration of Siemens PLM Software, we trained 80 employees plus about ten external designers in NX,” Gattari says. “We organized several basic training classes lasting two weeks, followed by an advanced course. In tightly scheduled steps, we completed training in less than two months.”
“I was impressed by the implementation speed, the great flexibility and the process optimization, both during the formal agreement definition, as well as during training and software adoption,” says Mario Carrelli, IT director at iGuzzini for more than 10 years. Users were trained on the new solution without interrupting everyday product development and release activities, as this would have had an excessive impact on the revenues of a company that brings 300 to 400 new products to market each year. Concurrently with staff training, Siemens PLM Software engineers converted some 50,000 legacy drawings and handled the PLM database migration and configuration. “The hardest job for our IT department was the database migration,” Gattari recalls. “The conversion of 2D drawings to 3D was largely automated. In early December, we switched off and started with the new system.”
Another key factor in the selection of Siemens PLM Software products was the ability to interact directly with the vendor. “We have adopted this approach for several years,” Gattari continues. “We always want to be directly in touch with the parent company. Though we are small, we have sophisticated requirements in IT, development and services. To provide architects with an efficient lighting design service, we must rely on strong and responsive support.”
The right choice – validated
The years following the transition to NX and Teamcenter have proved that the company’s PLM decision was the right one. Discussing the company’s success with NX, Carrelli notes, “Our choice has been validated by our design engineers, who compare this transition to trading in a utility vehicle for a powerful sports car. Our design and development team has fully realized and adopted the potential of the new platform.” But then the use of Teamcenter was instrumental as well. When iGuzzini was planning for a small design and production site in China, management realized the company would need a fundamental change in how they shared data. “The previous PDM system did not allow us to share information with remote sites,” Gattari explains. “Besides reliability, a key strength of the Siemens solution was the integration with downstream operations. A modern, distributed organization needs a system for exchanging information both within the organization and with external structures. This is vital for any company in the global market.”
Today, iGuzzini has its headquarters in Italy and a manufacturing site in Shanghai. “Our business model is evolving toward increased product customization for local markets – including America, the Middle East and the Far East,” says Gattari. “The PLM system we selected had to meet our needs at the time we chose it, but most of all, it had be ready to grow with our company toward our new objectives.” Rather than looking at individual features, the structure of the entire system is strategic in the long-term for the achievement of new goals. By using Teamcenter, iGuzzini is inherently ready to meet requirements arising in the future.
“In addition to having a collaborative environment implemented on an extensive platform and managed by a well-organized company, this solution is improved by the vendor on a regular basis,” Gattari continues. “We don’t have to ask for enhancements and new functionality. This is important for us, to be motivated by a partner with the goal of improving our design and development activities.”
“The Teamcenter architecture has allowed us to support new business requirements, without significant investments in consulting,” adds Alfredo Merlini, Automation and Technical Systems senior specialist at iGuzzini. “We were able to implement Teamcenter in our subsidiary in China, keeping all data synchronized without using any third-party software or ad-hoc developments. With these data synchronization capabilities, we deployed Teamcenter in China very quickly.”
At iGuzzini, the use of Teamcenter is not limited to the design department, but extended to downstream operations, including the management of compliance, cost estimation and sampling, as well as laboratory test management.
Partnership, continuity, vision
The benefits derived from the implementation of Teamcenter extend to mold production, a key operation for iGuzzini. Specifically, the advanced functionality of NX Mold Design and the powerful data management capabilities of Teamcenter have helped the company substantially increase the productivity of the mold design department. “We design molds fully in 3D and their lifecycle is entirely managed using Teamcenter,” says Merlini.
He adds, “Another recent implementation concerns maintenance operations management, both scheduled and unplanned. Maintenance operations are planned in synergy with other business IT systems, proving the versatility and openness of the Siemens PLM Software architecture.”
“For us, Siemens PLM Software is a technology partner rather than a supplier,” concludes Carrelli. “Their consultants and engineers are familiar with our company. They know our habits and needs. They understand and execute our implementation requests in the best way. We have established a profitable partnership that I’m sure will continue in the future. You can rely on a brand like Siemens that, in addition to ensuring software continuity, also encourages us to explore new options and to undertake projects with a broader vision.”