Arena Blog

Arena and EMA: The Dynamic Duo Turns Engineers Into Champions

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Teamwork_MedalArena PLM provides product companies with a solution that gives all stakeholders, from internal engineers to key suppliers, direct embedded access to the product record, ensuring that everyone has a single version of the truth. Because it is delivered as a service in the cloud, Arena deploys, scales and connects to the extended supply chain effortlessly.

Arena Solutions strategic alliance with EMA’s data management solution for Cadence® OrCAD® allows for an integration that lets companies bring products to market faster, reduce prototyping and scrap, and collaborate on product changes with strategic partners across the globe.

In the manufacturing world, the integration of Arena and EMA is the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin, the Lennon and McCartney….the Starsky and Hutch of design solution partnerships. It’s that good.

In Part II of our interview with Manny Marcano, president and CEO of EMA, we discuss the benefits this exciting integration has for engineers, including his thoughts on a utopian design environment.

Arena: Does this integration address the unique business pain points of industries ranging from high tech to medical devices?

EMA: Yes. For medical devices the main challenge is meeting compliance standards; for consumer electronics, the two huge drivers are time to market and costs. Connecting the PLM and Engineering systems makes the engineers’ jobs easier allowing them to save time, maintain focus, and work collaboratively with those who validate and approve components.  This results in cost savings, reducing time-to-market, and ensuring compliance. These factors are important to almost any design team, but compliance for medical companies and time-to-market for startups can be the difference between life and death.

Arena: Can you tell me about the challenge of managing end of life (EOL) parts?

EMA: Engineers need to know how long that part is going to be in production. If you are going to have a product that is out in the field for 10, 15 years, you need to know the parts you are selecting are going to have sufficient lifecycle to support that. So when you’re building a product it is imperative you’re making the right decision for the overall product lifecycle — not just maybe solving a particular electrical engineering problem in the moment. A big value of this integration is that you can open up the design at any time and perform a lifecycle analysis to see just how many parts have changed status in the lifecycle. It’s obviously important to have this information during the initial design, but imagine being able to perform this quick check prior to starting rev two.  It’s a big deal.

Arena: What would be your simple idea of a utopian development environment for engineers?

EMA: The fact that Arena is a very nimble, light-weight system that is easy to deploy and manage — without IT overhead or infrastructure necessary to manage all your product information — and be able to have an electrical engineering tool like OrCAD tied directly into it… that is utopia.

Arena: This marriage offers greater enterprise-wide visibility among different groups within an organization into the development process. By breaking down these siloes, companies are reducing risk and accelerating time to market. That’s design nirvana, correct?

EMA: This whole environment is all about risk mitigation and time to market. And if you have more eyeballs watching the process, then it absolutely solves the time to market problem and prevents a catastrophe. But without visibility, it becomes a surprise and you could lose your window of opportunity. More and more organizations are trying to become better integrated and work with each other. Having one system for everyone to tap into is key to that.

With greater visibility, operations can flag an obsolete part and engineering immediately knows that an alternative part is needed to replace it with a part that is available.

Arena: The old fashioned design method consisted of engineering throwing a bill of material (BOM) over the wall to operations who looked at the BOM – only to discover they can’t get parts – and then throwing it back over the wall to engineering to go back and redesign. This resulted in engineering change orders over and over. How do you see this problem being remediated today?

EMA: An engineer using this integration creates a design only using parts that have been validated to be available, compliant, etc., so the BOM is merely a collection of parts already vetted and stored in Arena PLM.  And because the design is already synchronized with PLM, operations or engineering can run a report and find out which parts are active, which parts are compliant, and which parts have to be replaced. If the engineer specs it out properly then that risk is totally mitigated.

Arena: In your view, does the integration help tamp down a culture of blame—or mistrust?

EMA: When you look at Stanford’s Design Thinking methodology – it’s all good in theory until you get humans involved.  People want empires.  Engineering and operations start pointing the finger at each other, saying, “Well, it certainly is not our fault in operations. You guys didn’t use the right part. And that’s why we can’t manufacture this.”  So, this marriage of our two enterprises greatly reduces the finger pointing and empire building. The visibility across groups that this linkage provides flattens that whole process — it’s electronic collaboration that’s full proof.

Stay tuned for our third blog post where we get Manny’s thoughts on the future of design and design horror stories. If you are interested in more information on this partnership and integration sign up for the upcoming joint Arena and EMA webinar.