SOLIDWORKS, Technical Communication, Client Stories

Urban Electric Thrives with Digital Processes

By TriMech on May 18, 2021

Client_Story_BannerTriMech is fortunate to work with clients from Maine to Florida and out to Arkansas, offering a range of engineering solutions. This week's client story showcases how TriMech helped Urban Electric develop their engineering processes by adding SOLIDWORKS PDM, DriveWorks, and SOLIDWORKS Composer.

Technology has profoundly impacted the way businesses handle documents and processes. A single project can amass copious amounts of data that often must be reviewed repeatedly so it isn't difficult to see why technology has taken a positive lead in data management. When paper records are converted to digital data, critical information can easily be found and extracted. That precious time saved not sifting through paper files can then be allocated elsewhere. Urban Electric is a successful example of how digitizing documents and processes can result in a quick return on investment as well as increased productivity.  

The Challenge

Urban Electric Custom LightingUrban Electric is a luxury lighting manufacturer that has been flourishing since 2003 that realized it was time to improve their production methods in order to continue thriving. When we first worked with their team, we saw that they still used paper filing methods and didn’t really have their engineering processes identified or a framework in place. Everything they designed was done manually with minimal revision control or historical documentation. Additionally, custom engineering jobs were extremely time-consuming taking up to two weeks because of design and approval process. Inefficiency was compounded with the fact that new employees could take six months before they were proficient in the workload.       

Adding SOLIDWORKS PDM To Their Software Toolbox

Urban Electric Employee WorkingAfter working with a TriMech Application Engineer, Urban Electric decided to add SOLIDWORKS PDM to their toolbox. They migrated all their files over to the platform and immediately implemented revision control. Previously, when a team member was assigned the job, they would go over to the filing cabinet, find the paper design, pull it out and work on that product from the order. Then when they were finished, they would go back and refile it in the filing cabinet and then go on to their next task. If a new revision came in, they’d print off the new design and replace the old ones in the filing cabinet. Sometimes the people would find the old one and save it so they could build off of that for something else. With PDM, they were able to ensure that their team was always working with the most recent version of a print set, could see what had been done historically and automate a lot of their tasks.

>> Choosing between SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard, Professional and Manage

Adding DriveWorks To Their Toolbox

After the successful implementation of PDM, the Urban Electric team wanted to be able to take that automation a step further and added DriveWorks. With DriveWorks, they developed a user interface that housed common templates of their different light fixtures. These templates allowed them to modify parameters as needed for custom orders. Implementing this alone has massively reduced their design time from 4-8 hours to around 5 minutes. 

Urban Electric Custom Lighting ManufacturingAssets including models, assemblies, drawings, DXFs for manufacturing and any PDFs needed, are housed in DriveWorks and it is completely integrated with PDM. Urban Electric has seen a tremendous impact in custom orders due to the increased productivity from this unified process and the product templates. Their quote to close ratio has gone from 31% using the old workflow to 54% after streamlining their process with DriveWorks. That is a tremendous 23% increase! Complementing this dividend is the fact that because of all of their automation, the custom engineering team has had time freed up to work on higher revenue generating projects.

>> CPQ and Design Automation with DriveWorks

Adding SOLIDWORKS Composer To Their Toolbox

Urban Electric Custom Lighting Employee EfficiencyA year later, Urban Electric wanted to tackle the goal of decreasing the time it takes for new employees to ramp up to proficiency. Typically, when a new team member was hired, it took them about six months until they were adept enough in their area for a quality sustainable workload. They decided to implement SOLIDWORKS Composer with the goal of reigning in onboarding time to one or two months. With Composer, they were able to create an internal section of their website that houses all work instructions. There are different sets of work instructions for each group of workers on their shop floor.

Because Composer can link to different files, it allows their employees to access anything they work on and even click through to an individual print set, if needed. The employees get quick, direct and consistent information for each specific job. This accelerated track for employees enables them to quickly be more valuable to the company and has huge impact on the business.

>> PDM & Composer: Create, Review And Publish Documentation In a Snap

By working with TriMech, Urban Electric has created a paperless engineering department, the employees love it and they have seen productivity go through the roof, as a result. It’s all so much easier than that old filing cabinet and physical print set! 

Learn the full details of this client's story by watching the video below.

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