Case Studies

Teamcenter helps Chinese automaker position for international competition

Chinese automaker needed a leading-edge information system that was not only powerful but also flexible enough to integrate with executive-level information, thereby helping us make better decisions in a highly competitive market environment.

Going global
Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Company, located in Shenyang, China, is well known in its native land. The company's Zhonghua passenger cars and Hice and Grace minivans are popular at home in the world's fastest growing auto market. But executives at Jinbei have set their sites higher. They want to be competing in the global automobile marketplace within five to ten years.

In mapping out their plans to reach this goal, management identified a number of areas for improvement. In particular, they needed to streamline the research and development (R&D) process. This was necessary to bring new vehicles to market sooner and hold down costs so that Jinbei's vehicles could compete on price as well as quality. In addition, executives wanted better access to product knowledge to improve the quality of their strategic decisions for greater product innovation. At the time, the company did not have a common platform for product information. Each vehicle program functioned mostly independently. A low rate of information re-use and part sharing extended the development cycle and increased costs. Other inefficiencies, such as a paper-based design review process and lack of a formal system for capturing knowledge, needed fixing before the automaker was ready for the global arena.

A solution with an automotive advantage
Management realized it needed to implement product lifecycle management (PLM) technology to support its long-term development plan. "We needed a leading-edge information system that was not only powerful but also flexible enough to integrate with executive-level information, thereby helping us make better decisions in a highly competitive market environment," says He Tao, president of Shenyang Brilliance Jinbei Automobile.

After evaluating different solutions, Jinbei chose Teamcenter from UGS. One reason for this decision was UGS' expertise in automotive development and its wide acceptance by the industry. (The company currently has more than 155,000 licenses of its software in use at the world's top 25 automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), establishing Teamcenter as the de facto standard for the automotive industry.) Another reason was the strength of Teamcenter itself, which delivers all of the critical capabilities Jinbei needs to meet its long-range goals.

For example, Teamcenter gives Jinbei a comprehensive system for product and process management by capturing, sharing and leveraging product knowledge. As a result, Jinbei reduces repetitive work, enforces standard practices and enhances efficiency. Teamcenter also supports collaboration and teamwork by connecting people with processes. Teamcenter's visualization capabilities make product information accessible electronically throughout Jinbei. And because digital product models are more easily understood than drawings, visualization helps leverage product information beyond the product development group.

From management's perspective, Teamcenter is the solution Jinbei needed for strategic decisionmaking to improve product innovation. Teamcenter gives them immediate access to critical information such as digital product models (originally authored in Catia, then translated to CAD-neutral JT files in Teamcenter), all product-related documents (bills of material, engineering change orders, cost data, quality documents and so on) and the status of workflows.

From pilot to the largest automotive PLM implementation in China
Jinbei Automobile began its Teamcenter implementation with a three-month pilot program that was so successful that management decided to extend the benefits company-wide. In the pilot project, the centralized management of product information made possible by Teamcenter, combined with the ease of information access, reduced basic design time by 20 percent. This led to a reduction in cost for the pilot project by 5 percent. Parts and information re-use increased by 7 percent, contributing to another 2 percent reduction in costs.

Based on the results of the pilot program, Jinbei expects Teamcenter to reduce R&D time by an average of 10 percent. They expect greater reductions on programs that involve less than the design of an entire vehicle. Jinbei expects R&D costs to be reduced by Teamcenter by 10 percent as well. Next steps with Teamcenter include involving suppliers and partners in the electronic collaboration, capturing knowledge and creating a company-wide knowledge base and implementing additional Teamcenter capabilities. Even before all of that happens, Jinbei has the largest PLM implementation in the automotive industry in China. And it is reaping the benefits of innovation to improve global competitiveness.

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