One-stop shopping for millions of records
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center adopts Teamcenter, uniting disparate legacy systems and 10 million records in one open environment
More responsibilities, smaller budget
The Engineering Data Section at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center needed to reduce costs and cycle times for data acquisition, research and delivery. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC/ALC) manages an inventory of more than 2,000 aircraft, including the newest weapon system, the B-2, along with the B-1, B-52 and the KC-135, as well as nearly 23,000 jet engines ranging from state-of-the art F118s to the Korean Conflict-vintage J33s. The Engineering Data Center supports these newer weapon systems (described by 2D drawings and 3D models requiring state-of-the art management techniques) along with aging systems (requiring the full spectrum of engineering drawings – aperture cards through digital data). As with other Department of Defense organizations, OC/ALC has experienced a decline in operating budgets. Yet its responsibilities have increased due to closures of other logistics centers. That, combined with fewer new weapons systems, resulting in longer life spans for existing systems, means more work for the Engineering Data Center.
“With a staff of little more than half of what we had a decade ago, and the goal of achieving excellence in customer service, it was apparent that the Engineering Data Center would have to work smarter,” says Marilyn Barker, IDIM Program Manager at the OC/ALC. Specifically that meant finding a better way to manage engineering data spread out over 18 non-integrated legacy databases – millions of physical drawings, some over 40 years old, as well as documents in raster, PDF and CAD formats. It also meant streamlining 14 different business processes related to the acquisition, management and delivery of that data.
Search for a solution
In their search for technology to address these significant inventory management issues, Engineering Data Center personnel evaluated the leading product data management (PDM) systems on the market (in the late 1990s). They also considered building their own PDM solution. They researched how other companies in their industry were handling product data. The experience of The Boeing Company was particularly relevant. “In addition to being our largest supplier of technical data, Boeing had also implemented the largest PDM system in the world,” says Barker. “We were definitely interested in hearing more about the solution they chose.”
At the end of all this research, OC/ALC selected the Teamcenter® solution from Siemens PLM Software. Not only was this the same technology Boeing was using, it was the only “total solution” available, according to Barker. “In addition to electronic data repository capabilities, we wanted workflow, revision control and product structure capabilities,” she explains. “While there are many suppliers of these components, only Teamcenter offered a complete, integrated solution.” OC/ALC’s solution includes Teamcenter integration capabilities, which makes it possible to integrate PDM with other applications at OC/ALC.
Comprehensive control of workflows and millions of records
Using Teamcenter as a foundation, the Engineering Data Center created the Integrated Data Information Management (IDIM) system, a comprehensive digital environment for managing engineering data and workflows. Teamcenter’s openness made it possible to integrate legacy systems, and millions of data records, into a single repository. After mapping more than 10 million index records (raster and PDF document indexes, aperture card indexes, mylar card indexes and so on), IDIM now provides nearly instant location access for both online and offline data. With such fast searches has come a dramatic reduction in the time needed to process data requests, down from 53 days to 28. Another benefit of having all data indexed within Teamcenter is that it identifies duplications, which Barker and her colleagues view as opportunities to destroy expensive-tomaintain offline assets.
For those in the Engineering Data Center who use IDIM on a daily basis, one of its most important benefits is how it has increased productivity in the areas of data acquisition and delivery. Redundant processes and data entry have been eliminated and now a single data load process replaces four previous processes. Not only does the work get done faster, the time saved is applied to quality assurance and more effective management. For example, with IDIM, 100 percent of data requests are now tracked, allowing data center management to see where bottlenecks are happening and quickly redirect personnel to alleviate them. Although this was done monthly in the past, it’s now done on a daily basis.
IDIM’s designers were looking 10 years down the road when they laid out the capabilities of the system. Future plans include integration with other applications at the OC/ALC and implementation of product structure management. “Teamcenter gives us a lot of flexibility for the future,” Barker concludes.