The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

114 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om E lectronics manufacturer Bel Fuse has around 7,000 employees located on six of the seven continents and manufacturing sites all over the world. Bel Power Solutions, which provides power conversion devices, is one of the firm’s three business groups. As a result of several recent acquisitions, Bel Fuse had been trying to manage the multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems it inherited. This made it incredibly difficult to carry out financial processes, so Bel addressed this with the implementation of a Microsoft ERP system. Following the decision for a more modern and unified ERP system and the acquisition of power solutions provider Power One in 2014, Bel Power Solutions had inherited a product life- cycle management (PLM) system which it hoped would improve business organisation, enhance its proposition in a competitive market and con- tinue its growth. Unfortunately, there were many issues with this system. Firstly, the licensing fees were priced per user and had become too costly as the com- pany grew. The system was also a standalone product outside of the ERP system, which made it extremely cumbersome to work with the two systems simultaneously, and so Bel Power Solutions felt there was room for improvement. Throughout its transformation, Bel Power Solutions was having to stay on top of its vast quantity of products and manufacturing changes. With around 10,000 finished goods and between 300 and 3,000 components on the bill of materials for each, a PLM system that could effectively deal with these would improve the firm’s integrity, enhance change management and route work to the right people to ensure a high level of product quality and communica- tion between departments. Bel Power Solutions decided to deploy a new PLM system from Microsoft partner and soft- ware provider Bluestar PLM. “We chose Bluestar because it is an engineer- ing solution,” said Stefan Naude, engineering director at Bel Power Solutions. “It could also integrate with computer-aided design (CAD), something that is extremely important for us as a manufacturer. Ultimately, it just blew the socks off the competitors as an engineering-focused solution to manage our parts, products and life- cycle management.” Bluestar’s offering connects engineers with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform so that all the data that engineers create during product design in the CAD system is collected in one place, giv- ing users control over each engineering change and ensuring that all parties are aware of the changes in real time. The company supported Bel Power Solutions as it implemented its Dynamics-based PLM solution and transitioned from its old system in two steps. After initially using Bluestar as a pass-through from the previous solution to Dynamics, Bel Power Solutions is now 85 per cent fully deployed with Bluestar. The new solution handles all the firm’s change man- agement and product documentation, with only the CAD integration left to complete. It also controls Bel Power Solutions’ compliance management, something that is unique to Bluestar’s offering. P ROF I L ED : B E L POWE R SOLUT I ONS Bluestar PLM’s Microsoft Dynamics-based solution has transformed engineering and manufacturing-related operations at Bel Power Solutions Taking PLM to the next level “Bluestar evolved its product to suit our needs and we helped to make the product stronger”