Fossil Leverages Cloud Hosted Infrastructure to Enable Global SOLIDWORKS PDM Collaboration
"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
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.
Global Implementation and Deployment
Fossil had been exposed to SOLIDWORKS PDM and were 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.
Converge Actions and Recommendations
Epigrid Delivers Global Infrastructure
Late in 2017, Fossil found Converge and their partner EpiGrid. EpiGrid is 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 the unique system and software requirements for engineers.
Converge, via the EpiGrid solution, provided Fossil with an infrastructure that immediately solved their collaboration issues with their distributed design team. This infrastructure not only met the PDM system requirements, but also eliminated the added burden an on-premise solution would have placed on the Fossil IT department.
The Axis Vault Simplifies Implementation
Through hundreds of implementations, EpiGrid Developed the Axis Vault implementation process that is offered by its partners. 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 and will satisfy the needs of most companies.
Secure Remote Access Promotes Global Collaboration
A soft requirement, originally thought to be unattainable under the original infrastructure plan, was remote access. Fossil engineers are constantly traveling to suppliers and vendors all over the world. Additionally, they were using various contract design and manufacturing resources around the world that needed access to current design data. Now with the EpiGrid Axis Vault, Fossil has the ability to collaborate with its entire value chain from anywhere in the world.
By hosting their PDM Professional vault with EpiGrid, Fossil was able to relieve a huge IT burden, not only for the engineering team, but also for the IT department. The EpiGrid solution 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 and secure, and accessible from anywhere now.
Ongoing CAD and PDM Administration Services
With the implementation completed by Converge and documented per the EpiGrid Axis Vault, Fossil then needed to address the administration and management of the PDM system. As with all systems, the ongoing cost is always a consideration. Managing and administering a PDM system generally takes away some resources from engineering that would have otherwise been used in designing products. In the case of Fossil, any PDM solution would be complex enough to require a full-time administrator. While Fossil knew they would eventually bring on a full-time PDM administrator, they were not prepared to do so in year zero on a tool that was untested and not yet validated. Converge’s Remote CAD Administration Service was the perfect solution that enabled Fossil to fully focus on onboarding their product team with a turnkey solution – removing the cost and burden of having to hire a full-time administrator.
The EpiGrid solution 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 is significantly simplified... we are using this experience as a reference for other departments beyond our engineering team.
— Brad Piercey
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