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Pixel Velocity Turns from Excel to Arena to Reduce Risk and Gain Efficiencies in BOM Management

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Foster City, Calif., Jun 11 - Arena Solutions, a provider of on-demand software that helps small and mid-size manufacturers manage their complex and constantly changing product record, today announced some of the benefits that Pixel Velocity has seen since choosing Arena to support its long-term growth. Pixel Velocity adopted Arena collaborative bill of materials (BOM) and change management software to move beyond the high-risk practice of managing product development with email and spreadsheets, and as a result, has been able to develop its wide-area surveillance for advance threat detection and emergency response systems more efficiently and cost-effectively.

With Arena, Pixel Velocity manages all of its product information and history—including BOMs, suppliers, costs, quotes, specs, drawings, files, compliance records and much more—in a single, centralized, version-controlled repository. By putting up-to-date information at the fingertips of all who need it, regardless of geographic location, Arena has helped Pixel Velocity make better, faster decisions, develop superior products and more quickly bring its products to market. Able to track product information more quickly and reliably than when it used Excel, Pixel Velocity releases designs to manufacturing nearly 20 percent faster now that the company is using Arena.

“I’m responsible for releasing information to our suppliers and managing our change process. With Arena, we communicate design information more easily, make bid packages more accurately and make changes more quickly,” said Matt McAmmond, director of manufacturing at Pixel Velocity. “Arena has helped us improve our processes and make fewer mistakes. I give it credit for helping us make production parts right from the get-go.”

The Right Time to Transition from Excel

When using spreadsheets, Pixel Velocity had to be especially diligent to make sure each bill of materials (BOM) released to manufacturing was the right revision. With no easy way in Excel to prevent or discover discrepancies between BOMs and drawings—or even within BOMs themselves—and with all changes requiring manual intervention, each cell in an Excel BOM was a potential source of errors. And since each person involved could use his or her own formulas, nomenclature, macros and even formatting, every Excel worksheet had the potential to introduce chaos. (More on the challenges of Excel can be found in the “Excel for BOM Management” whitepaper series from Arena.)

Pixel Velocity’s intellectual property—engineering documents, BOMs, manufacturing data and supplier information—was among the company’s most valuable assets, but with no good way to keep it in order, the company risked having it become one of its biggest liabilities. Pixel Velocity decided that a dedicated system for collaborative BOM and change management would overcome the flaws and risks in its use of Excel, and it chose on-demand Arena because it could be deployed in days, with no IT overhead required, and begin delivering value right away.

“Excel is fine software, but it became frustrating to use it to manage all of our product information. It just didn’t give us the kind of control we needed. As our business and our products became more complex, and our decisions got more critical, Excel started to fail us. When we had one supplier, Excel wasn’t so bad, but once we had dozens, we needed the kind of control Arena provides,” said McAmmond.

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