Rapid growth and product commercialization for defense clients required Spectranetix to have a secure, controlled process for managing products, undergoing customer risk-based assessment audits, and demonstrating thorough configuration management practices.
Delivering Innovative Technologies to the Defense Industry
Spectranetix’s mission is to provide the most advanced modular cyber-electronics systems in the world. As a leading developer of C4ISR Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) and The Open Group Sensor Open Systems Architecture™ (SOSA) aligned hardware and software solutions, Spectranetix provides solutions for defense primes, military groups, government agencies, and commercial industries. With rapid growth, the company’s expertise includes electronic warfare, communications, signals intelligence, direction finding, and commercial wireless systems and services.
Spectranetix began as an innovative and agile engineering company focused on turning customer problems into solutions, moving from concept to prototype at a rapid pace. The company has perfected research and system design, actively championing open architecture and standards so customers have flexibility and adaptability. Spectranetix recently has applied adaptability to its own business model, extending its services into building and delivering technologies to the market. The move has paid dividends, with a recent acquisition by Pacific Defense and a growing list of commercialized products in addition to their continued custom design services.
During concept and prototype phases of product development, rapid-fire creativity and problem-solving are key. Control over product definition is minimal. “You can do a lot of the early-concept design work in small teams within engineering tools and, yes, email and spreadsheets,” said Don Perkins, Director of Hardware Engineering and Operations at Spectranetix. “We had a homegrown sourcing utility that interfaced with one of our design tools and everyone did things differently.”
Spectranetix quickly realized that with the expansion of the company’s scope to manufacturing, people, processes, and systems would be needed. “We asked ourselves: What must we do to support this revolution?” shared Don. “We need to deliver these leading-edge technologies that have rapid change cycles to our customers. It was immediately evident we needed a single-source system, a product lifecycle and quality management system.”
With product commercialization came additional requirements, specifically from Spectranetix’s defense customers. Spectranetix needed to have a secure, controlled process for managing product, undergoing customer risk-based assessment audits, and demonstrating thorough configuration management practices.
Spectranetix had clear functional requirements for a system, including the regulatory compliance and security needed for defense work. While interested in a cloud solution, the team had questions. “We had experience on the team with on-premises solutions but were not as educated about cloud possibilities. After seeing what Arena offered in GovCloud, we knew secure cloud-based was possible,” Don explained. Arena met all the requirements and the response levels during the sales cycle gave Spectranetix confidence, according to Don.
As a 20+ year veteran user of PLM systems, Don led the team through the selection and implementation processes. During implementation, “we did have scope creep,” remembered Don. “As we saw progress, we wanted to put more in place with the first phase.” As a mature company moving into a new phase, Spectranetix needed to assess legacy processes, including convoluted part numbering and revision conventions. “Arena’s Customer Success team knew what we could get done and would push back when needed, keep us on track, and find solutions to our process challenges,” said Don.
Arena powers Spectranetix’s processes today. In addition to product development and change processes, the team uses Arena for the shipment configuration manifest management process essential in defense sector work. Arena captures everything that goes into a customer program, explains Don. “Once shipped, we record the full product record, software revisions, documents, deviations, serial numbers—everything becomes a permanent record. We can transverse from serial number to program record and back,” Don stated. “We use Arena for customer risk-based assessment and audits with positive feedback.”
Spectranetix runs NCMR and CAPA quality processes through Arena and the team is thrilled with supply chain management and traceability through the product portfolio. Arena has also become critical to their current ISO certification effort. “The company had thought ISO was too big an effort in the past. Now, according to our ISO consulting experts, with Arena, we are halfway there already,” said Don.
“We’ve developed strong working
models of processes that now include
remote teams—Arena supports all
this with ease in a secure platform.
Since going live with Arena, the
benefits have been countless.”
–Don Perkins, Director of Hardware Engineering and Operations, Spectranetix
In addition to completing ISO certification, Spectranetix will continue to advance their product commercialization. To support this work, they are standing up a new financials and ERP system that will be integrated with Arena as well as completing design tool integrations with Arena, including OrCaD. They also will do a full supplier and contract manufacturing rollout of Arena to ensure they have the collaboration across their supply chain.
As a defense industrial base company, Spectranetix is often exempt from pandemic-related shutdowns, but they erred on the side of safety and sent most of the team home to work remote. Despite these work shifts, they implemented Arena, refined their processes, and expanded their team. “I’ve been involved in operations and quality management for decades. Being able to have this level of secure product control connected to highly organized quality capabilities and close the loops is empowering. I look back and wish I had had this in my past life,” Don shared.
A secure platform with flexibility and scale to support company growth and demands.
- Secure cloud-based solution
- Supply chain management with traceability
- NCMR and CAPA processes
- ISO certification support
- Business process guidance during implementation