Based on the team’s prior experience with product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions, they knew PLM was a must-have. Arena PLM checked all the key “requirements boxes” for being easy to use, configure, scale, and integrate with existing design and manufacturing systems.
Today, Arena is used across multidisciplinary engineering groups, along with operations and even marketing. FreeWire’s product is complex and consists of electrical, mechanical, and software components. Arena manages every aspect of the design in a revision-controlled environment including parts, BOMs, documents, and approved vendor lists (AVLs). As FreeWire continues to grow and add more CM partners, they rely on Arena’s supplier licenses and access policies to control what each partner can view. “This ensures that our external supply chain partners can review only the intellectual property (IP) that we designate as they participate in the engineering change review process,” said Bartlett. Arena also provides FreeWire’s field repair team with increased visibility into the product design to help quickly identify software revisions and speed issue resolution.
Arena has made it easy to pass information between FreeWire’s Creo and SOLIDWORKS systems to better control design files, 3D CAD files, BOMs, electrical schematics, wire harnesses, and assembly documents. With a centralized product record, engineering teams can easily export BOMs, track the status of orders, and view progress on the latest designs. Arena also passes BOMs upon release to FreeWire’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, providing access to current product information by operations. “All of our teams are aligned with Arena, which makes certain we are procuring and building everything correctly,” said Mark Hanna, Vice President of Operations at FreeWire Technologies. Establishing controlled processes also positions FreeWire to better meet growing guidelines and directives like International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and other automotive-related regulations.