Fossil | SOLIDWORKS Cloud PDM
To be an internationally recognized brand in the extremely competitive and ever-evolving Consumer Products market, companies rely on cutting-edge technology and solutions to get their products to market quickly and efficiently. Commonly, these businesses are working in geographically distributed teams and using multiple contract manufacturers that are often half a world away. Companies are constantly looking for solutions that can improve their ability to support these complex workflows and eliminate roadblocks to collaboration.
One of these recognizable brands is Fossil Group, headquartered in Richardson, TX, with manufacturing in Asia and Switzerland. Fossil Group is a design, marketing, distribution, and innovation company specializing in lifestyle accessories. Under a diverse portfolio of owned and licensed brands, they bring each brand story to life through an extensive wholesale distribution network across approximately 150 countries and 500 retail locations worldwide.
Skagen Falster 2 Gray
Magnetic Steel- Mesh
Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch Carlie Rose
Gold-Tone Stainless Steel
Misfit Shine 2 and Misfit Ray
Distributed Design and Manufacturing Team
With global design teams, contract manufacturing, and joint development centered in Asia, SOLIDWORKS PDM was only part of the solution. The project scope and complexity grew beyond the capabilities of the traditional IT and engineering departments due to the increased requirements and the need for a global network and infrastructure.
“With our global network of design studios in Texas, California, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, the solution we needed exceeded our IT resources and budget. The need for a scalable and globally accessible solution had become critical to meet our aggressive product development road maps. Unfortunately no one was giving us any options."
- Brad Piercey, Director of Industrial Design at Fossil Group
Global Implementation and Deployment
Fossil had been exposed to SOLIDWORKS PDM and was excited about its functionality. Everyone involved understood that it offered all the functionality they needed. However, the added IT requirements made for a complicated and expensive implementation process. Fossil eventually spent years going back and forth negotiating implementation scope, but the increased IT and services required made PDM unattainable for their distributed design team.
“We were settled on SOLIDWORKS PDM as our solution as it met our needs without customizations, and it was fully integrated with SOLIDWORKS. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no Cloud option, and our global footprint was further complicating the implementation scope. We had fallen into pitfalls of customized software and time-intensive implementations in the past, so this time I wanted to focus our efforts on process and workflow optimization.”
- Brad Piercey
System Administration and Management
As with all systems, the ongoing cost is always a consideration. In the case of Fossil, the additional costs to implement a PDM in the Cloud solution began to compound to the point where they were ready to scrap the whole notion. Managing and administering a PDM system generally takes away some resources from engineering that designing products would otherwise use. However, in the case of Fossil, any PDM solution would be complex enough to require a full-time administrator, which would only add to the total cost.
“We knew we would eventually bring on an administrator for PDM/other hardware IP systems…we just weren’t prepared to hire that person in year zero on a tool that was untested and not yet validated. We needed to focus on onboarding our product team with something turnkey.”
- Brad Piercey
EpiGrid Delivers Global Infrastructure
Late in 2017, Fossil found EpiGrid—a SOLIDWORKS Solution partner with a core competency on SOLIDWORKS PDM. EpiGrid is the pioneer SOLIDWORKS Cloud solution provider that offers Cloud-computing and managed services to engineering and manufacturing companies. With server hardware in data centers throughout the world, EpiGrid is the only Cloud-hosting provider tailored to engineers' unique system and software requirements.
EpiGrid provided Fossil with an infrastructure that immediately solved their collaboration issues with their distributed design team. This infrastructure met the PDM system requirements and eliminated the added burden an on-premise solution would have placed on the Fossil IT department.
"Sure…EpiGrid is an IT solution, but our customers are engineers, and so are we. Our solutions are turnkey from an IT perspective because in all cases our customers don't have time to sort through the infinite IT considerations necessary for a PDM in the Cloud solution. We remove the IT burden and deliver the users a solution that just works. Not only do we meet all major security compliance requirements, but all of our solutions are 100% managed and monitored."
- Chad Garrish, Founder of EpiGrid
EpiGrid Collaborates with SOLIDWORKS VARs and Partners to Deliver PDM Services
The pioneer in SOLIDWORKS hosting and PDM services since 2011, EpiGrid has completed hundreds of hosted PDM implementations and built strategic relationships with SOLIDWORKS VARs and other Solution Service Partners to provide PDM implementation services to SOLIDWORKS customers throughout the world.
“This journey started in large part because we did not have any options. With EpiGrid we found a solution with a track record of satisfied customers using PDM in the Cloud, and a network of partners providing Cloud based services. Not only did we gain all of the experience EpiGrid has with hosting and PDM, but they were able to introduce us to one of their partners Converge to help us implement this solution for the enterprise.”
- Brad Piercey
EpiGrid Axis Vault Simplifies Implementation
EpiGrid developed the Axis Vault implementation process offered by its partners after hundreds of implementations. The EpiGrid Axis Vault is a fully documented PDM vault configuration that contains the summation of the design control process collected through work in diverse industries. It will satisfy the needs of most companies.
Secure Remote Access Promotes Global Collaboration
Remote access was a soft requirement, originally thought to be unattainable under the original infrastructure plan. Fossil engineers are constantly traveling to suppliers and vendors all over the world. Additionally, they used various contract design and manufacturing resources worldwide that needed access to current design data. With the EpiGrid Axis Vault, Fossil can collaborate with its entire value chain from anywhere in the world. As Brad Piercey states, “It’s hard to explain how much this has changed how we work. The ROI is massive in scale. The ability to easily and securely work from anywhere has impacted our workflows in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Working from a remote campus, at a vendor, or even in China, we no longer needed to have meetings to figure out which version we should be working on. We are constantly finding new benefits of this solution.”
“Now there is accountability across multiple traveling teams with everyone knowing where hang-ups and stalls happen and who needs to fix them. The ability to have access to important files is vitally helpful, especially in Asia.”
-Ryan Geraghty, Senior Designer
Ongoing CAD and PDM Administration Services
With the implementation completed by Converge and documented per the EpiGrid Axis process, Fossil then needed to address the administration and management of the system.
By hosting their PDM Professional Vault with EpiGrid, Fossil could relieve a huge IT burden for the engineering team and the IT department. EpiGrid removed the barriers to communication between the two and allowed each to focus on their specific tasks. Productivity is improving for Fossil’s design team, and they can rest easy knowing that their most precious asset, their CAD data, is safe, secure, and accessible from anywhere. “Epigrid allowed us to leap forward over lengthy hardware requirement meetings and IT budget approvals, which enabled us to focus on workstream, best practices, and increasing our frequency on product to market. Our operations and expense planning are significantly simplified, and we are using this experience as a reference for other departments beyond our engineering team,” noted Brad Piercey.
EpiGrid is a comprehensive IT solution provider specifically focused on the mechanical and design engineering industries with expertise in server hosting, network architecture optimization and implementation, as well as system administration and consultation.
We are IT for engineers by engineers.
Using a private Cloud and global data center footprint, EpiGrid provides companies optimized hosted environments that include hosted servers, virtual desktops, managed services, and SOLIDWORKS application management services. Our proprietary Axis Vault delivers pre-configured solutions for PDM Professional and Standard users. Whether your company requires the advanced functionality of PDM Professional or is a better fit for PDM Standard, we have Axis Vault configurations to enhance both tiers of this software.