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Elkay Manufacturing announced that by using CoCreate's OneSpace Solution Suite, it cut the prototype development time for a new home water cooler 75 percent--from 18 months to just four.
OneSpace Solution Suite enables online collaborative product development to help companies to reduce cost, shorten time to market, increase innovation, and improve communication.
"We recognized that we could leverage outside capabilities and optimize our product design processes at the same time," said Greg Spear, Vice President of Global Sourcing and International Sales. "By adding this Net-collaboration solution we not only created a truly innovative product design but also reduced the time to market. It's been a huge benefit and a significant advantage to us throughout the process."
Recently, Elkay tapped APTEC, a Daytona, Fla.-based integrated product development firm, to develop a fully functional prototype of its home water cooler, including allowance for industry certifications. Their goal: to have the prototype ready in time for the 2002 International Housewares Show in Chicago. APTEC immediately began working with suppliers around the world through online collaboration sessions using CoCreate's OneSpace product. Participants included APTEC in Daytona; Elkay in suburban Chicago; Elkay's marketing team in Los Angeles; a tooling company in Canada; a manufacturer in Malaysia; a rapid prototyper in Texas; and certification groups in Tampa and Ann Arbor, Mich.
"This project included incredible front-end, multi-disciplinary use of collaboration," says Tom Morris, CIO, APTEC. "Through collaboration sessions, we were able to incorporate feedback on early designs from marketing and customer feedback groups to include in the cooler's final look." Virtually every discipline -- marketing, industrial design, tooling, manufacturing, refrigeration, electronics engineering, and regulatory and certification groups such as Underwriters Laboratory--were represented during OneSpace sessions.
OneSpace Solution Suite is an integrated collaborative product development software suite providing a Web infrastructure that manages product information for dispersed teams to design, share and manage data. Capabilities are also included for product definition, lifecycle states, release management and event notification. OneSpace leverages its collaboration services to offer specific solutions in the areas of collaboration for projects, requirements, product information, design and the extended enterprise. APTEC has adopted OneSpace as a standard tool for collaborative product development with all of its clients.
According to Morris, APTEC's integrated product development disciplines are based around OneSpace collaboration technology, which has helped APTEC to re-define the product development process. "Traditional product development employs a reactive 'throw-it-over-the-wall' approach. The development team comes up with a design and throws it over the wall to the manufacturing team, which all too often tells them the design can't be built. With Web-collaboration teamed with our business process, that isn't an issue here.
"Not only did we develop this prototype in a fraction of the normal time, but we also did more. We actually developed six fully functional prototypes in an array of choices: size, shape and color," adds Morris. "This was a record-breaking project both in terms of innovation and time to market and a pure proof of concept for collaborative product development."
"This application caters to the realities of today's new product development and design environment by using the Internet to build virtual development teams," said Tilman Schad, chairman for CoCreate Software. "Elkay's is a great example where they leverage the core capabilities of multiple organizations, shorten development cycle times and increase innovation."