EnerSys Adopts an Enterprise Collaboration Strategy

Written By: Caroline DeTore
  • 1/31/2022
  • Read Time : 4 min

EnerSys is a global manufacturer with over 100 years of experience delivering energy storage systems and solutions to customers. With a goal to “develop and lead with innovative technology designed to deliver the best user experience possible” they are moving toward delivering new products with sustainable technologies like lithium-ion.

The move to technologies like lithium-ion led to a process shift that forced EnerSys to reevaluate the best way for their globally and functionally dispersed teams to collaborate.

This article will explore how EnerSys enabled secure collaboration across internal teams and the entire value chain with a PLM-enabled digital thread. Ultimately, these organizational improvements led to reduced costs, improved time to market, and higher quality products. 


The Challenge: Data Silos

When EnerSys moved from lead acid to lithium-ion technology it caused a shift from a discrete, raw materials-driven manufacturing approach to a more product lifecycle process-centric approach. 

This shift required EnerSys’ people, processes, and technology to be organized around products, and highlighted the challenges of working between geographically and functionally dispersed teams. The main challenge was the data silos that existed between these differing teams.

Without a seamless flow of product data between the global teams it was impossible to work 24/7. Additionally, because accurate information was hard to manage and find, it was difficult to make decisions confidently and stay focused on core work.

The silos caused a breakdown when it came to sharing data and project plans and negatively impacted the ability for teams to work with agility and efficiency. 

Because global teams needed to collaborate with one another to execute and standardize complex operations and customizations that lithium-ion batteries require, it was clear to EnerSys that it needed to focus on enhancing secure collaboration across the value chain and facilitate parts-centric governance. 


The Plan: Digitally Transform Engineering

To achieve better collaboration and parts-centric governance EnerSys decided to leverage a true engineering digital transformation tool: a global product lifecycle management (PLM) solution for establishing an authoritative digital thread. 

A solution like this allows employees to interact and communicate across their work environment to streamline processes and enable collaboration. 

For EnerSys, its PLM solution would be used to manage product data, BOMs, verification and validation processes, as well as serve as an authoritative source of truth across engineering, operations, suppliers, and customers. 

The PLM solution EnerSys chose, Windchill, is a comprehensive PLM software for data governance and traceability. Windchill includes a selection of enterprise packages and role-based apps that extend product data outside of engineering to quality, manufacturing, service, and the extended enterprise.  This facilitates collaboration and agility across the extended enterprise and remote work environments. 

By offering a unified source of truth for product information, everyone who needs to view product data can, whether they’re an expert or non-expert PLM user. The role and task-based apps provide users the information they need with relevant context. This allows technical data to be shared in a manner that is meaningful to other parts of the company, enabling all functions of an organization to work more efficiently. 


The Results: Unified People, Processes, and Products

With Windchill, Enersys is creating a unified new product implementation process, from concept to release. 

As part of this process, EnerSys has successfully unified its BOMs to enable a step-by-step maturity process. They created a parts-centric foundation for operations by unifying engineering BOMs and manufacturing BOMs, syncing variants, configurations, and associated processes between the systems. 

Throughout the manufacturing process these unified BOMs enable the traceability of components which increases visibility between engineering and manufacturing, as well as downstream from manufacturing to quality. 

Secure collaboration between design and manufacturing allows them to work concurrently resulting in multidisciplinary collaboration, improved productivity, and a faster design process. Overall, the impact of implementing a PLM solution has been improved efficiency and performance across all functions.


The Business Impact: Better Designs and Improved Product Quality

For EnerSys, better collaboration led to lower costs, faster time to market, and increased product quality. 

By enabling a more collaborative environment between manufacturing and quality EnerSys has improved the part disposition and change management processes--flagging quality issues and adjustments faster than ever before. 

Rather than continue working on parts that won’t meet quality standards down the line, they can quickly catch issues and reduce the amount of rework required leading to lower costs.

EnerSys improved their time to market by increasing collaboration and building uniform systems. By unifying the BOMs, EnerSys was able to cut down iterations and redundant discussions between manufacturing and engineering teams. 

Now, because all teams have access to the same BOM, the Project Management Office can have quick visibility into project statuses, which enables them to conduct reviews in real time and reduce the back-and-forth discussions between teams.  

Faster and more accurate processes have also led to better designs and has increased the quality of parts that EnerSys produces. 

During the deviation management process, manufacturing can now record and communicate deviations for rework or trace the root causes more efficiently. Quality teams can see whether designers are implementing the right control characteristics from the start and work with design teams to achieve the right approvals rather than let the issue leave the design phase. They can also reuse testing and verification processes for faster and more accurate quality checks. 

Conclusion: Do More with Less

A strong enterprise collaboration solution allows manufacturers to do more with less. By providing real-time data access, organizations are enabling their employees in different roles and geographic locations to remain in sync while interacting with data in the context of their role. This leads to a more collaborative enterprise and a more confident employee. 

[EBOOK] Real-Time Data Access

Taking the digital thread from concept to reality

  • PLM
  • Windchill
  • Digital Thread

About the Author

Caroline DeTore

Caroline is a content marketing specialist on the content excellence team out of Boston, MA. Her writing supports the IoT, augmented reality, and PLM technologies at PTC.