Case Study: PTC Creo – DDM – Almyta Control System Integration

Client

A multiple-award winning dynamic, innovative service company. PTC Creo > Design Data Manager > Almyta Control SystemThey specialise in providing production equipment and engineering services for the oil & gas sector.

Summary

Increase business efficiency through effective implementation of Information Technology.

  1. Review a failing IT system and process
  2. Analyse then put in place a solution to:
    1. integrate two disparate software packages
    2. remove duplicate data entry and save time
    3. Provide an efficient end-to-end process

Business Challenge

The client managed their PTC Creo Parametric (formerly Pro/Engineer) 3D CAD product designs with CSI’s Design Data Manager (DDM).  This product data management software maintains a multi-level repository of design information.  It is used for all their parts, assemblies, designs and products.  Their manufacturing process, including inventory and purchasing, is controlled by the Almyta Control System (ACS).  This is a manufacturing resource planning (MRP) software package from Almyta Systems.

Transferring Bill of Materials (BOM) details from DDM to ACS was a time-consuming, manual and inefficient process. They had previously contracted a local software company to develop a solution.  This was built on their proprietary middleware software. It required a third SQL Server instance to marshal data between the two systems. This step had to be performed manually by the user.  However, some nuances of the process and the two software packages were not considered, and the solution never worked as required.

Analysis Logic Solution

Analysis Logic was engaged to review the situation and make recommendations.  An analysis of the systems and requirements was undertaken.  It was clear that the middleware and the third SQL Server database were not needed.   They only brought extra overhead (resource, performance and financial).  It was a closed system that no one else could maintain.

Our analysis indicated that it was possible to directly integrate the two systems.  DDM has an automated ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) export capability.  ACS has a plug-in framework.  A solution using these would produce a system that is easier to implement and maintain.  Crucially it would also be simpler to use.  There was the added benefit of being 50% cheaper to put in place.

The client contracted Analysis Logic to implement the solution.  This involved a full business analysis, mock-ups, project management, testing and installation. We worked closely with all the stakeholders to establish the core workflows.  The key technical details of DDM’s ERP exchange mechanism was sought from CSi.  The analysis allowed a specification for the ACS plug-in to be written.

Workflow - PTC Creo / Design Data Manager to Almyta Control System

Analysis Logic used Almyta Systems, as the ACS experts, to develop the software plug-in.  Testing was undertaken on a duplicate virtual system.  This allowed any issues to be ironed out without interference to day-to-day operations.  Once completed the solution was installed on the live systems.

The client now has a simple automated process which eliminates duplicate data entry.  This has saved significant time making them more efficient.

 

Lessons Learned

Don’t accept things at face value.  There is no substitute for effective and independent upfront business analysis. This identifies the key requirements for any IT solution.  It reduces the risk of failure and is more cost-effective.  Doing this allows the most appropriate vendor to be identified. It makes their job easier too, reducing contingency padding in their quotes.

Additionally, businesses that are Scottish Enterprise Account Managed, on the Business Gateway Growth Pipeline, or other equivalent regional support schemes can also get funding assistance towards such expert analysis.