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Teamcenter helps MBDA achieve “design anywhere/make anywhere” integration across three nations and five previously independent companies
MBDA is the first fully integrated, pan-European defense company with a single, unified management and operating structure. It is the result of a merger of Matra BAe Dynamics, EADS-Aerospatiale Matra Missiles and Alenia Marconi Systems missile activity. Since its inception, MBDA has held a leading position in the missile systems industry and is the only company in its sector able to design and produce missile systems for land-based, naval and airborne applications. The merger that created MBDA enabled a progression within the European defense industry from partnerships of national companies to a single company with a worldwide presence. With 32 missile programs in production and 23 more in development, MBDA’s challenge since its formation in 2001 has been to integrate the various facilities so that they function efficiently as one. The ultimate goal of the integration is the ability to design missiles at the most cost-effective location for a particular program and to manufacture at the most advantageous sites as well (“design anywhere/make anywhere”).
To support design anywhere/make anywhere, MBDA needed to replace disparate product data management processes with one product lifecycle management solution governing all locations. “Our development activities span three nations and three operating companies with very different backgrounds and cultures,” said Greg Bull, pan-European PDM project manager for MBDA. Greg Bull explains, “One of our biggest challenges was getting all the operating companies to agree on common processes. Our vision was a single PLM system managing information access and common core processes, with a small local ‘layer’ addressing the specific needs of the different operating companies.”
The competition for the new PLM solution took place during 2000. One of the guiding principles was to avoid customization. By obtaining most of the necessary PLM functionality “out of the box,” implementation would be faster and less costly. Another requirement was a web-based platform for ease of pan-European communication. Although the intent of the PLM implementation was to provide immediate on-line access to information regardless of location, it had to be backed up by advanced security features for ensuring compliance with the strict export control regulations.
Teamcenter Aerospace and Defense was the only PLM solution that met all the requirements. Based on military and emerging industry standards and industry best practices, Teamcenter presented an “out of the box solution” by providing proven PLM capabilities tailored to the special needs of aerospace and defense companies. This industry-specific solution delivered the core capabilities MBDA was looking for, including workflow functionality for controlling common processes such as engineering change management, product structure management and so on. Teamcenter also incorporates many security features, and MBDA’s implementation includes additional security capabilities that control information access according to the very sensitive level at which this multinational company operates, including encryption via https.
The first phase of the Teamcenter implementation brought technical document management under PLM control. Along with digital product information from new projects, the system provided the opportunity to scan thousands of older documents from the technical library into electronic format for management by Teamcenter. The system now controls document access, workflow and lifecycle management for these engineering documents, bringing new capabilities to MBDA such as full text retrieval searching on meta data and content, document markup, and electronic approval – all helping boost the efficiency of product development operations. Currently there are several hundred people using Teamcenter for document management. That number will soon grow to approximately 2,000 engineers.
Utilizing Teamcenter’s open and modular structure, Siemens consultants in three countries have been working closely with MBDA to tailor the PLM system to the company's needs. First addressed was the need for a common, one source PLM backbone per company specifications. That work in France formed the core for phase 1 and comprises about 90 percent of planned functionality. The other 10 percent – the country-specific “layers” that add custom functionality for each of the three national operating companies to address country regulations, manufacturing operations, etc. – has been implemented by Siemens consultants locally.
The next phases introduce change management, product structure management and component management, and replace multiple legacy systems in three countries with one interconnected collaborative infrastructure. This includes interfaces to MBDA’s ERP system (SAP). “With a systematic approach to intellectual asset management and collaboration across MBDA companies and countries, we anticipate measurable cost and quality advantages in the design and production of our world-class missile systems,” says Greg Bull.
Keys To Success:
Client's Primary Business:
MBDA is a world leading missile systems company – with 10,000 employees, an annual turnover of 2 billion Euros (approximately 2 billion US dollars) and more than 70 customers around the world – featuring a comprehensive range of products for use on the ground, in the air and from the sea.
"Teamcenter is very important for MBDA’s integration and efficiency. With 2,000 employees across three national entities operating from a single, collaborative tool, the potential benefits are enormous."
Pan-European PDM Project Manager
MBDA Missile Systems
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