Groupe Beneteau, the worldwide market leader for boats, manufactures 200 different boat models across 10 brands. This innovation and variety differentiates the manufacturer—but it also complicates its operations. The market demand for Groupe Beneteau’s boats was outpacing its manufacturing capacity, but the number of boats being sold per model was decreasing. Wanting to deliver more innovative options faster while satisfying all customer requests and changes, the company implemented PTC’s PLM solution, Windchill, and integrated it with other enterprise systems to help streamline the product development-to-delivery process.The results to date have been significant:
Groupe Beneteau encourages its customers to configure the boat of their dreams. It manufactures over 180 boat models which all come heavily personalized with features and options such as cabin type, wood grain, upholstery material, and electrical settings. With new models and configurations being introduced to the market every year, Group Beneteau’s customer demands were outpacing its capacity to produce.
Trying to manufacture boats with this level of customization was no small feat—especially with product development processes that were hindered with data silos and manual, disjointed systems. For example, the bill of materials (BOM), process plans, and work instructions were all maintained in Excel. Stakeholders did not have access to accurate product data when they needed it. Changes were manually communicated through spreadsheets and whiteboards on the factory floor, causing significant implementation delays.
Furthermore, there were heavy cost implications from change requests made during production, or last-minute updates based on materials used or part availability. With all these unwieldy changes and version control issues, each phase of the product development process was affected; from design, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing, all the way through service.
Groupe Beneteau’s team of highly-skilled, veteran workers were getting bogged down in non-value-adding administrative tasks. Attracting new talent was a challenge as the learning curve and onboarding process were increasingly steep.
To maintain market share and meet the demands of its customers, Groupe Beneteau knew it had to digitally transform. They turned to PTC’s PLM solution, Windchill, to create and orchestrate a digital thread, Groupe Beneteau is benefiting from operational efficiencies with streamlined change management processes. A continually updated thread of accurate information flowing across systems, like PLM to ERP, enables concurrent design and manufacturing, along with higher factory productivity, fewer errors, and lower costs.
By keeping all stakeholders aligned, a single source of digital information makes it easier to monitor variants and changes. When combined with IoT and sensors embedded into its products, the digital thread will empower Groupe Beneteau to reduce downtime, keep its factories up and running smoothly, and optimally produce customized boats.
Calling upon AR, Groupe Beneteau hopes to provide customers with the ability to visualize and select their boat configurations, dealers to close orders faster, and engineers to precisely define product components and manage configurations.
“It’s all about optimizing everything—organization, tools, process, and documentation—in order to both improve performance within Groupe Beneteau and also ensure a better level of customer satisfaction.”
– Bertrand Dutilleul, former CIO Groupe Beneteau
To streamline and improve the product development-to-delivery process, Groupe Beneteau embraced a fast and agile approach to implementing Windchill, focused on delivering the out-of-the-box capabilities incrementally. It started with foundational PLM capabilities within engineering, then focused on enabling concurrent design and manufacturing, while exploring AR functionality on the factory floor and in dealerships.
Watch this demonstration to see Groupe Beneteau’s digital transformation implementation plan. The roadmap begins with foundational PLM capabilities, such as BOM management and change management, and extends into the factory with concurrent engineering and manufacturing associativity while leveraging AR functionality for shop floor operators and dealership scenarios.
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