According to eBOM’s Vice President Daniel Nihlén, it’s an exciting time for manufacturing in Sweden. In part three of our investigation into the state of affairs in Sweden’s manufacturing world, we discover why manufacturers are overwhelmingly choosing Arena over competing product development solutions.
Arena: What made the lion’s share of your customers choose Arena over other solutions? What stood out as unique?
Daniel: From a functional perspective, the complete product record capability, ease of use with all features fully integrated and the collaboration possibilities made available with the cloud. Customers that really wanted to streamline their product development processes made Arena their top pick. Early on in their solution comparison process they understood Arena’s functionality and that it is a ready-to-deploy solution at a low fixed implementation cost. That builds a lot of confidence in the customer’s decision making.
Arena: Why did these customers choose a multi-tenant, cloud-based SaaS product lifecycle management (PLM) solution?
Daniel: Cost, scalability and deployment time. Some of our customers have moved from on-premise PLM solutions that needed an overwhelming amount of continuous internal support, and still did not function as expected or promised.
Customers described on-premise solutions as they were always one step behind, functionality that should be there was not and needed constant scripting updates to get the most basic features to work. The problem is common for most SMB companies in that PLM solutions, in the form of a toolkit, require a huge amount of internal resources and those very resources are not available in that type of company. For these customers, it was a huge relief to get to Arena and thereby outsource all this work and get full control over the total cost of ownership.
Arena: Any other typical business challenges that you as a VAR faced selling Arena?
Daniel: Most customers have bad experiences from using Excel BOMs; for example, at some point, they’ve sent incorrect data to their contract manufacturers with huge scrap costs as a result. And still they put in tons of resources at each change or product release to get it right. With Arena, it gets significantly easier and faster to make sure the correct data is communicated to the contract manufacturers timely, as the product data is connected and centralized all the way, with sourcing, files and supplier accessibility.
Arena: Discuss the common challenges of collaboration and supply chain management and how Arena helps solve those.
Daniel: Most customers have a disruptive change process before moving to Arena. We help our customers to leverage all the beauty in the standard functionality Arena has with the Change Request and Change Order functionality. These are based on industry best practices and we help customers build a robust process all the way from issue reporting to implementation of changes in production. In some cases, customers require a very detailed step by step checklist to speed up the change processes and we build this for them as process templates in Arena Projects to get a tight connection between Tasks, Items and the ECR/ECO.
Arena: How easy was the implementation of Arena?
Daniel: The implementation of Arena is always a very compelling start for the new customer. There is minimal requirement on internal resources to participate in the implementation phase. We at eBOM configure, migrate and train new Arena customers routinely. During the implementation phase, the core team of 1-6 persons from the customer needs to spend about 2-4 hours per week during the first 2-4 weeks to make decisions, transfer data, review and get training.
Arena: How important is it to customers to have an easy on-boarding of suppliers in their PLM system?
Daniel: Many customers overestimate the difficulties of onboarding suppliers, especially if they are based in the Far East. This is a normal reaction when customers are new to Arena, but as soon as they are up and running we have a standardized on-boarding process for suppliers. Together with the customer, we invite one of their closest and most important suppliers to a three-part supplier meeting and provide training for both the customer and their supplier alike while exchanging data. This way both parties get to know the collaboration process and from there they can start to evolve.
Learn more about eBOM here.