PLM supports marketing and development by enabling rapid innovation
Shenzhen Hangsheng Electronics
Using Teamcenter, more product models are created faster, new business is up, rework and warranty claims are down
Leading domestic supplier of automobile electronics products
Founded in 1993, Shenzhen Hangsheng Electronics Co., Ltd. is a leading domestic supplier of automobile electronics products. The company focuses on the development, manufacturing and marketing of automotive electronics products. It has also established a solid presence in the aviation electronics and railway electronics sectors. With net assets of more than RMB600 million and a workforce of 3,000 employees, Hangsheng produces automotive electronics products under the “Hang Sheng” brand, including vehicle-carried AV entertainment systems, intelligent navigation and multimedia systems, integrated car body control systems, intelligent transportation and alarm systems, and more.
Hangsheng’s relationships with domestic automakers are typically long-standing, friendly and highly cooperative. Of the top 20 domestic automakers ranked by sales revenues in 2008, 19 were the clients of Hangsheng. That translates to 95 percent domestic market coverage and represents a 30 percent domestic market share.
Hangsheng has also established its presence in international markets, including the United States, France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Malaysia, Brazil, Iran, Egypt and other countries. Hangsheng is now on the buy list of six of the world’s top ten automakers, with its global export business expanding rapidly.
Advanced PLM technology to meet innovation challenges
Hangsheng must be flexible in responding to the highly varying requirements, numerous product models and complex system processes of its domestic and international auto customers, most engaging in dozens of new product development projects each year. The projects involve mechatronics products containing mechanical, electronics, software and other technologies, and typically entail frequent technical changes and complex data management. As a result, Hangsheng must be able to quickly improve and deliver its products to meet each customer’s demanding and highly diverse pre-assembly requirements.
Hangsheng uses a number of software systems to improve its operations and development efficiency, including Siemens PLM Software’s NX™ system and I-deas™ product development solutions, Catia mechanical structure design software, PADS electronic circuit design software and Synergy software code development and configuration management software. However, none of these systems was designed to address the broader aspects of product lifecycle management (PLM). As a result, the company still encountered data management problems. Among these issues, electronic drawings and files were isolated in the computers of project managers and designers, resulting in dispersed management and a low level of sharing. Electronic drawing security was susceptible to misinformation resulting from revisions, deletions, duplications and so on, thus causing the loss of corporate technical data. Technical changes were inconsistent, thereby reducing the reliability of electronic drawings and files. Searching product data files for information was slow and cumbersome; sometimes data could not be located at all, with designers typically finding the process unproductive. Without effective associativity between BOMs and various technical files, information remained in unused silos.
The problems were a roadblock to rapid and continuous product innovation and operations efficiency. Moreover, they stood in the way Hangsheng’s goals of building itself into a RMB10-billion group and world-class international supplier of automotive electronics products. To achieve its targets in the next ten years, Hangsheng management realized that the company needed to not only arm itself with innovative ideas, but also combine those ideas with the company’s digital development environment. This meant adopting internationally leading technologies – including advanced management software products like PLM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) – to improve what it considers its two most important functions: marketing and development.
At Hangsheng, marketing and development are the two engines that drive the operations of the company and are considered mutually complementary and indispensable to each other. The company views the technical development capability as a core competitive asset. In fact, management felt that the economic crisis that began and spread globally in 2008 demonstrated that companies not possessing their own development expertise are in a very vulnerable position relative to competitors pilfering from their market share.
Considering the strategic importance of development to overall business success, the company’s next big technological step involved deploying knowledge capture and collaboration capabilities. At the end of 2007, Hangsheng introduced the Teamcenter® digital lifecycle management system from Siemens PLM Software. Using Teamcenter, Hangsheng integrated mechanical structure design, electronic circuit design and software design into a common information platform, which covers the overall development process for its automotive electronics products.
“Implementing Teamcenter enabled the centralized management of electronic drawings and files, which delivered effective and consistent process and version control and promoted the optimal use and re-use of knowledge,” says Ouyang Weiming, senior engineer at Hangsheng Technical Center. The company also uses Teamcenter functionality to set roles and authorizations for secure data access and sharing. Only those users with appropriate authorization can get to the level of data they need. Moreover, a standard process ensures the orderly processing of technical changes. With multiple query approaches – e.g., by attribute, by structure – users can query documents without knowledge of their physical locations. A Teamcenter-structured documentation management model enables Hangsheng to effectively associate product data such as 3D models, 2D drawings, circuit diagrams and PCB layouts with related files including design specifications, engineering change orders and test files. As Weiming notes, “With Teamcenter, BOM creation is now easier and more accurate, thus reducing design errors.”
Teamcenter is currently in use at Hangsheng’s Technical Center and Project Management Department. The company plans to gradually extend the system to other relevant internal departments. The initial response from engineers to the new way of doing business was a bit “unenthusiastic,” but in short order, the system was clearly recognized as a welcome addition. “The engineers see great benefit in Teamcenter, not only from a collaborative perspective, but also for purposes of individual productivity,” Weiming says.
Since March 2009, all development projects have been running in Teamcenter, making it the foundation platform for product development at Hangsheng.
Greater innovation, fewer design errors, more orders
Teamcenter provides Hangsheng with a shared knowledge base that facilitates its goals of becoming a globally prominent supplier of automotive electronics products. The company is already seeing significantly improved design efficiency and quality, while design and manufacturing errors have been substantially reduced. Peng Zirong, Hangsheng’s vice president and director of the company’s Technical Center, points out, “We are more flexible and agile operationally, and we are achieving greater innovation in our product development.”
Zirong notes that there has been more than a 30 percent reduction in warranty tasks or claims. Recognition by both domestic and international automakers – including FAW, NISSAN, VW and others – has increased, with Hangsheng’s customers citing the company’s improved development capability as the reason. As a result, there are now more opportunities for joint product development projects. New orders are up by more than 10 percent. Zirong says, “The adoption of Teamcenter has revolutionized our product development processes for competitive advantage and improved the visibility and efficiency of our technical management across the enterprise.”