Star Wars Saga: R2-D2 — The Wild Years

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R-Series RobotR2-D2 was an R2-series Astromech droid designed by high tech manufacturer Industrial Automaton. The brave droid — along with his persnickety protocol droid counterpart C-3PO — played a pivotal role in saving the galaxy.

Legendary for his many tools and spunky spirit, R2-D2 was the crowning achievement of high tech manufacturer Industrial Automaton (IA). In fact, IA’s entire R-series droid product line set several innovative product design standards, including scalable aftermarket upgrades and modification capabilities.

Inside of R2-D2’s cylindrical frame were arms, sensors and tools that could fulfill various needs, such as passively interfacing with computers (which became particularly in vogue post the IoT era), extinguishing fires, projecting holograms, repairing starships, flying and entertaining crowds with bleeps and blurps. To reach a wider family market, IA’s R3 and R4 models introduced several new child-friendly features, including: lefty scissors, Elmer’s glue, 120-Color Crayola set, Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven, Snack Pack dispenser and a Super Soaker water gun.

Although the R-series brought IA great wealth, the company remained locked in fierce competition with Cybot Galactica, which posed a serious threat with its own product line of advanced droids.  However, IA’s ability to manufacture high precision products at deeply discounted prices enabled the company to protect its market share.

But how could IA lower prices and still meet their margins? The answer: Arena PLM BOMControl, a cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) solution that streamlines design processes coupled with Arena Demand, a material aggregation tool to forecast and better negotiate even the most inexpensive part costs.

Arena Demand helped IA reduce purchased component costs by enabling it to aggregate the usage of all individual components, parts and capacitors used across the company’s entire R-series lines — from the R2 to the R9 models. Knowing the total aggregated usage of the components in advance provided IA with leverage to better negotiate with tough suppliers, such as Jabba the Hutt.

Arena Demand allowed IA to profit from inexpensive, untracked components; for example: a single seemingly insignificant capacitor used in multiple quantities at many BOM levels — and shared across different products — rarely has its total aggregated usage (portfolio wide) accounted for. Knowing the sum total usage of the capacitors in advance provided IA with significant leverage to negotiate volume and price.

“When we outsourced our manufacturing, we also outsourced our material planning, leaving us blind to the total quantity of parts we would buy for the R-series droid line over the next year,” said an anonymous IA Procurement Manager. “Arena Demand provides us with parts visibility across the entire product lines (both broad and deep) to forecast aggregated material demand to better negotiate bulk discounts. With Arena Demand, we didn’t need an MRP system or an expensive team to manage it. When it came to the millions of small components that went into our R-series droids, Arena helped us find the pennies that saved us millions.”

Side Note: R2-D2 — The Wild Years

Once peace was established and IA became — with the help of Arena’s PLM suite — the undisputed droid manufacturing champion, R2-D2 bid farewell to the Rebel Alliance and set off to Hollywood to realize his long-time dream: to play lead guitar in a LA-style Guns ‘N Roses hard rock band.

For a stint, the droid went by the stage name of Guitar 2-D2 and enjoyed the decadent lifestyle of a rock star. Sadly, he fell into a bad crowd, got hooked on WD-40, and ended up working as a lowly trashcan on the grimy streets of Sunset Boulevard.

Fortunately, C-3PO, who was working as a butler at the nearby mansion of a Hollywood producer, found the strung-out droid, put him into rehab and got him a cushy job as an hors d’oeuvre plate holder. And while true, R2-D2’s adventures weren’t quite as exciting as they once were, he finished out his years of operation living a sedentary but peaceful life in Los Angeles back together again with his long-time companion.

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About the Author

John Papageorge
John Papageorge has worked at some of the biggest names in the high tech industry, launching products and programs for companies, such as Oracle, HP, Cisco, and Microsoft. John's passion ... Read More 

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