We are going to speak the language of our customers better

Published on by Systems Assembly

Leon Vincent has a dual role at NTS. Besides his role as project manager New Product Introduction, he works as a process engineer. As an external consultant, he is responsible for the phased implementation of a Product Life Cycle Management system for the division Systems Assembly. Besides this, his aim is to optimise operational processes. For this, he developed a system with Manufacturing Execution System functionalities. Both systems reduce error probabilities and provide more insight into where improvement can be made. That is something the customer is going to notice. “We are going to speak the language of our customers better.”

 “I work for the New Product introduction unit of TMC,” Leon says: “TMC is a consultancy bureau for technology consultants. In my role as an external consultant, I among others have worked for ASML, OCÉ and ASMI. At the moment I work for NTS as project manager New Product Introduction. I actually have a double role here. On the one hand I am a project leader, on the other hand, I am a process engineer. That is the good thing about a company like NTS, it is exactly large enough to be professional and still small enough to be able to be involved in everything you want to be involved in.”

Implementation of PLM system and developing system with MES functionality

“At NTS I work on the implementation of a Product Life Cycle Management (PLM) system. That will be linked to NTS’ ERP system. This system is a standard package that supports standardised product structures but we have a demand for customised functionalities. The technical drawing of a customer can, for example, require a translation that cannot be registered in a system unaltered. That is what this system is intended for.”

Going live step by step

“The NTS-Group holding chose this specific system. The system is already operational at Development & Engineering, the Systems Assembly division will be the next division that is going to implement it. The implementation of this system will take longer than a year. We approach this in a phased manner. We start with defining requirements for the system and we record what we want exactly, then we build a protosystem, then a few iterations follow during which we use scrum-methodology and in this way we go live step by step.”

Compare new updates product documentation

“For Development & Engineering, the system is very suitable for storing CAD drawings and accordingly applying version control. For Systems Assemblys it will mainly be used to save product documentation and product structures. We receive product documentation from our customers and want to be able to compare information when we receive a new update.”

Improved version management will reduce errors

“The implementation of the PLM management system will eventually lead to the customer noticing that we are able to speak their language better. At this moment we haven’t got optimal insight into what has changed in the new version of a design. The improved version management will lead to fewer mistakes and that is something the customer is going to notice.”

Process information operations is another part of the assignment

“What I do at Systems Assembly mainly concerns prototypes that are being prepared for development in a larger volume. Then it is transferred to operations and that is another part of my project. At operations, I distill information from a process. The process for the production of electron microscopes for Phenom World for example. I then look at the process together with the mechanics from the perspective of my IT-background.”

Self-built system with MES functionalities gives insight into priorities

“To improve the operational processes I have built a system in which mechanics can register time. Hour-2-hour logging, or in other words how long they work on a certain activity, how much time they spend on disruptions, etc. It would be best if we could implement a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for it.”

Insight in disturbances and future required specs

“For now that is still too comprehensive but the system that I have implemented contains MES functionalities and that can already be used to give team leaders insight in which disturbances need to be addressed first and to see what requires immediate capacity. You can also use it to demonstrate suppliers which specs are required in the future.”

Insight in disturbances and tools for customers

“An example of how we already use it concerns the products of Phenom World. These products contain a lot of black-box components. These components are delivered by an external supplier and are IP protected. If the machine eventually doesn’t work, one of these components can be the cause. We then need to be able to show how much disturbance time those exact components have cost us. In this way, someone from Phenom World can approach the supplier in order to structurally resolve the problem.”

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