Smiths Industries lowers production cost with Sherpa tool

Engineers at Smiths Industries North American Aerospace and Defense Systems Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., needed a product development tool that helped them save time and money in their manufacturing process.

Engineers at Smiths Industries North American Aerospace and Defense Systems Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., needed a product development tool that helped them save time and money in their manufacturing process.

The product data management (PDM) system from Sherpa Corp. in Milpitas, Calif., proved to be their solution.

Before implementing PDM, "it took weeks - sometimes months - to get a single engineering change order into the manufacturing stream," says Bob Mills, Director of information technology for Smiths Industries North American Aerospace Group. "And consider that we were changing thousands of design drawings per month, our engineering processes were not synchronized," he says.

"PDM technology in and of itself does not solve your problems," Mills says. "Rather, it enables you to do the process re-engineering that solves your problems. With Sherpa`s PDM technology and our own process re-engineering efforts we have been able to accomplish some really dramatic things."

The Sherpa tool provides Smiths with the foundation for launching product designs and engineering change orders into the manufacturing stream. For each avionics component, Sherpa maintains all part records, bills of material data, and any associated CAD and other document files in a centralized, easily accessible PDM database.

Future plans call for expanding the use of the Sherpa PDM system further by integrating the system with the Smith`s supply chain management system, Mills says. - J.M.

For more information on Sherpa contact by phone at David Brazier 408-941-4600, by fax at 408-941-4622, by mail at 1325 McCandless Dr., Milpitas, Calif. 95035, by e-mail at david.brazier@ sherpa.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.sherpa.com.

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