Case Studies

Eight of Haier Group’s product lines are using product lifecycle management (PLM) technology from Siemens PLM Software

By managing information for 8 product departments and increasing the visibility of development projects, Teamcenter helps shrink time-to-market by 15 percent.

Inspired living proves to be more than a motto

As a prestigious white appliance manufacturer ranking in the top four in the world and the number one most valuable brand in China, Haier Group owns more than 240 subsidiaries, over 30 design centers, manufacturing bases and trading companies and has more than 50,000 employees around the world. Haier Group has evolved to be a multinational company with an emphasis on technology, industry, trading and finance.

Haier is committed to providing satisfactory solutions to global customers and realizing a win-win situation between the enterprise and the user. Speeding the pace of new product development is one of its main objectives. Eight of Haier Group’s product lines are using product lifecycle management (PLM) technology from Siemens PLM Software, a global division of Siemens Automation and Drives, to support innovation and speed time-tomarket. The solution was chosen based on Siemens’ excellent reputation in the industry along with the functionality of its products. The PLM implementation was handled by members of Haier’s R&D and IT departments along with 60 key users from eight product lines with support from Siemens.

PLM reinforces R & D

Haier products include more than 15,100 different specifications and 96 categories. As the business grows substantially, the parts and technical documents multiply at a rate up to 40 percent annually. Before the introduction of PLM solutions, drawing, document and part information were isolated in various systems and thus existed in different versions. Moreover, the group was unable to standardize information, and consequently experienced problems in quality control, manufacturing and purchasing.

Haier is using Siemens’ digital lifecycle management solution, Teamcenter? software, to solve these problems. Using the Teamcenter solution, the company has established a centralized part and document library. Today, 100 percent of all technical drawings are in digital format (versus only 80 percent in the past) and are stored in the Teamcenter vault. Documents have been standardized, and with Teamcenter managing the approval/release process and version control, a new level of accuracy and consistency in product information has been achieved. This has eliminated the previous financial issues due to mistakes in ordering and manufacturing caused by inaccurate documentation.

In addition to standardized technical documentation, all parts are now classified and managed in Teamcenter, which promotes knowledge re-use. Since implementing Teamcenter, Haier has reduced the number of parts by 29 percent and accelerated the process of part verification and validation by 50 percent. The company is saving money in purchasing because it can buy parts in higher volumes.

Collaboration shrinks development cycle

Haier is also using Teamcenter to improve the efficiency of the new product development process and to support global design collaboration and supply chain operations. In the past, there were too many project delays and inefficiencies due to the lack of easily referenced product documentation. Now that all new products from the eight product lines are controlled by Teamcenter, their status is more visible to management. In addition, the amount of non-value added activities related to collaboration has dropped by 80 percent, enabling a 15-percent reduction in time-to-market.

Haier’s PLM implementation continues to expand. The company’s future plans include bringing engineering change and bills of materials under Teamcenter as well as setting up a special process management approach based on Teamcenter to help meet regulatory requirements. The company also plans to extend Teamcenter to all divisions and to integrate PLM with other applications such as ERP, QIS, MES, logistics and after-sales service to form an enterprise-level business platform covering the entire product lifecycle.

Haier’s strength in innovation is evidenced by the company’s more than 7,000 patents. Among those, 1,234 were awarded for Haier inventions and 589 relate to software intellectual property rights. The company views its PLM implementation as a sound foundation to support innovation and all of its business strategies, including global brand building, diversification and worldwide market penetration.

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