Full Podcast Episode
Turnkey 365 Podcast E002 Seamless Engineering Integration with BlueStar PLM for Microsoft Dynamics
How can you create a seamless integration between your Engineering tools and Microsoft Dynamics Cloud ERP to improve your company culture, time to market, time to value, and more
Guest: Jesper Thomsen, Chief Operations Officer
See Below for the full transcription of this episode!
Chuck Coxhead (00:01):
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Turnkey Technologies podcast. My name is Chuck Coxed. I am pleased to be joined by Yesper Thompson today from BlueStar. Plm. Yesper is joining me from Europe today through the magic of the internet. Amazing stuff, being able to bring you here into, uh, YouTube with me located here in the United States. Uh, welcome. Thanks for coming on the show.
Yesper Thompson (00:20):
Yeah, thank you. Thank you for inviting.
Chuck Coxhead (00:23):
Yeah, you're very welcome. So folks, BlueStar PLM is a product that's targeted for engineers, quality folks, and operations folks. Okay? That's our audience today. Hey, U E R P, project Matters implementation folks, and IT folks, please listen along too. It's great stuff. But that engineering ops and quality, that's really our focus. I think you're really gonna like what, uh, Yesper has to share with us today. So let's jump right into it. What are the benefits that, uh, blue Spar BlueStar helps the folks to realize?
Yesper Thompson (00:55):
Yeah, so, so we bring, uh, the engineers and the operation people to together so that they can work in the, the change process to reduce the time that you spend on change orders and, and really reduce the cost of the, the change and, and from end to end, um, all the way through, uh, this, this process, the change process and, and the product life cycle.
Chuck Coxhead (01:21):
Love it. I love it. Well, you know, reduced time that spells r ROI to me. And this industrial engineer just loves when folks are able to save time and achieve more with the same resources. Uh, that's, that's really that way where they can repurpose those resources or do something of higher value for the customer. That's really what it's about to me. So I love to hear that. So what is it that the folks are living today?
Yesper Thompson (01:47):
Yeah, so they are living in their, uh, siloed, uh, world and, and, um, where they have, uh, engineering folks in their system and they have, uh, um, operation in their e p, uh, dynamics, e p or, uh, and then they have the engineers in a different system. And, and, and going back and forth there makes exactly the change, order flow very difficult. Uh, and also the introducing, uh, new products, uh, a lot of manual typing, uh, in, in that process. Yeah. Uh, and that's what we, we try to get rid of, uh, in that, that process.
Chuck Coxhead (02:29):
So you, you had mentioned in prep that you had some, some numbers that the customers have realized for us, and I'd like to bring that up so folks can see that, and you kind of talk about Yeah. You know, what it is some of these folks have, have been able to achieve.
Yesper Thompson (02:44):
Yeah, so, so I took a, a few of the, the customers here, so mgi and, and, and, and, uh, uh, relock, uh, one of their, uh, D P c uh, companies. Uh, so we have here mpi, uh, where we, where they, uh, reduced really the time that they spent on, uh, on, uh, on the change process and, and also reduced the, uh, lead time that they have on changes how fast they actually could implement the changes, which is, uh, a key factor in, in, in their business to, uh, to be able to, to fast, uh, uh, do it. And you can see the numbers speak for themselves, right? They reduce it really significantly. And also the, the effort that they need for it. Uh, and then on the, uh, GC side, on the Relock case, it was more like, uh, they, they really had, uh, time to market, uh, making sure that they could, uh, uh, um, get, uh, get the new components out, the new products, uh, uh, out very soon mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, or sooner than they did before. And then also the other case that they already had was quality of the bill of material, making sure that the bill of material is right the first time, ensuring that they don't get, uh, production stops or anything missing component in a, uh, purchasing cannot buy what they don't know. Uh, all these kind of scenarios, which really helped, uh, on their, uh, e p implementation as well. Because what can you do in a e p system if the bill of material is not right? That's the <laugh> thing,
Chuck Coxhead (04:30):
Right? Yeah. That, that's definitely the thing. And, you know, these are the kinds of things that the people live every day and the things that they will oftentimes complain about the most. And so if the cut process is cumbersome, people don't want to do a bad job, they truly don't, but when it becomes more difficult, it takes longer to get the job done. And it tends to, you know, in some cases it'll kind of inch down that personal priority list, oh, I'll get to that, but it's gonna take me six or eight hours, Ugh. And I don't have a six or eight hour block, and I, and my boss is asking for this report. Now what do I do? Um, so it really becomes a struggle. But if you can reduce that, you know, in this case E C o change process by 80%, wow, that's mind blowing.
Now I can fit that more easily into my day, and they can happen in closer to real time, which would be, you know, amazing and real time would be ideal, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, you know, and then, you know, time to time to market, it's all about getting the products to market, delivering for a customer, creating value so that you can return for the company and the customer. I mean, what else is there, honestly? And is then to being able to achieve those things for your customer. Um, that's, I I, I love hearing those kind of results. So, you know, how did, how did BlueStar help?
Yesper Thompson (05:50):
Yeah, so, so, um, I think the best way actually to, to tell is to, uh, talk about our, our other customers Bill, which, uh, I think, uh, said it very well. Um, they, they are living that silo world where they have the E R P system, the PLM system, they have DA data everywhere, and maybe they even have some file servers, some, some shares, you know, that can be a lot of, uh, silos in, in that kind of world. And, and that's every time that you're going between these silos, you kind of lose a little bit or you have some manual handling, and that's where things can go wrong. And I think that's, that's one of the, the huge thing that, uh, uh, bell was, uh, was achi achieving, was to get really one single source of two, uh, not having two independent systems where they had to manage the data and the same, uh, uh, same, uh, data entry, uh, all the time mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and, and, and really also getting errors on the way, because everything that you have a human error, uh, factor, uh, in, in each of these transfer, uh, data transfer between the systems mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and it's time consuming, right? They spend a lot of time on maintaining it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's the only way that they can, they can maintain it, is a lot of quality checks and, and so forth. But that's also a, a big cost for, for the company to mm-hmm. <affirmative> to really do that
Chuck Coxhead (07:21):
Yesper Thompson (07:21):
<affirmative>. And that was really what we, we provided, uh, was kind of get these, uh, groups, uh, of people together mm-hmm. <affirmative> and not having, uh, not having the silos.
Chuck Coxhead (07:34):
Well, I, you know, you, you would, you're, what you're describing to me is, is this human behavior. You know, we go in and we work for a department, we go in and we have a function, and we have these functional silos, and, and that's, this is our tribe. We're engineering, we're operations, we're quality in a poor culture, poor company culture. There might be a little bit of, uh, competitive nature, okay. Or a little bit of protectionism, okay? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But the real culture that we want is to break down the silos, break down the interdepartment or, you know, interdepartmental walls. Okay. Become one company, work together, uh, in a, in a, in a, a smooth and hopefully seamless way to realize the same result in the end, but using our own respective expertise to, you know, based on where we come from. And what you're saying is it enables that, it enables the breakdown of the silos. It enables more than just getting the, the engineering quality operations portion of it done, which you're talking about, is actually facilitating an improved culture at a much, much higher level. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, that's a, that's a grand vision. Uh, I want to, believe me, I wanna get back to the engineering quality and, and, uh, operations portion, but when you break down those silos, it, it's, it actually can really enable a company, um, to find a new way to operate, um, beyond just the, you know, just the functional, I think it's amazing.
Yesper Thompson (09:01):
Yeah. Yeah. And the, and the visibility is, is pretty important in, in that piece, because in the silo world, you don't have that visibility. And a lot of these, uh, benefits that, uh, these customer, uh, achieved was basically by breaking down that and providing the visibility. Where is our changes? Who is working on it? Where is it? All these kind of things that is difficult to see if you have to log into a lot of systems and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's what you we bring together here.
Chuck Coxhead (09:31):
Wow. That's amazing. So let's dig a little bit deeper. Okay. Let's, let's get a, a little deeper into the advantages of Blue Star plm. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we talked in, we talked in the prep about some of these, some of these features. And why don't you just run through it for us, just so we can really get into, in detail and put an emphasis on it.
Yesper Thompson (09:53):
Yeah. So, so it's clear that the, the benefits of not having to transfer data between system, that's the, that's the main, main thing here. That means that you avoid the, the human error. Uh, you avoid, uh, or you reduce the cost that you have, uh, for it. And, and, and really it's the, these, uh, errors, they can be pretty costly when we are talking about mm-hmm. <affirmative> not being able to, uh, produce the component because of mis component in, in the bill of material. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, these kind of things is, is a serious, uh, thing or maybe engineer already have made and, and new revision and improved design and not getting that into the, uh, p is really the costly, uh, thing that we, we can provide here. And then of course, it's, uh, the visibility that provides that you can, uh, shorten down the time on, on, on, uh, the, the non added, how the non-value added processes that is around, uh, getting the, the, uh, little materials and the, the data to, to operations. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's really, nobody likes to sit and, and, and type the bill of material again when engineering already have done it. Yes,
Chuck Coxhead (11:12):
Yes, of course,
Yesper Thompson (11:14):
We need to do it again. So that's really where we can, uh, slim down the, the time. And then of course, the visibility is, is important.
Chuck Coxhead (11:23):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Well, interestingly enough, I started my career as running a design department and engineering company in a pro a pump company. And the engineering design department was my responsibility. I was responsible for drafting design and, uh, bill's material entry into an old r p system back when everything was an r p, not an e r p called man, man, for all you out there who may have experienced with Man, man, hi, let's connect on LinkedIn and talk about it someday. But I had a team of people and we were doing designs on paper mm-hmm. <affirmative>, big drafting boards. Uh, this was back in 1989, and we were doing bill's material on a green screen, uh, through terminal access where we would enter and transcribe everything into it. And it actually took quite a bit of skill, uh, you know, from my team to be able to understand exactly what they were looking at, to be able to know where to find all of the different parts, how to create them, enter them, and make sure that they were right.
And did we have errors? Of course, we had errors, we surely did. And it took, I had a team of, I would say about 10 people just for this process alone. Interestingly enough, one of my first challenges within the company was to take us from paper to 2D CAD and 2D cam back in the day. And that was our first step toward, you know, today what, you know, the tools that we're using, what we're using solid modeling, which has integrated capabilities for, to build out bills of material and that sort of thing. And now you're talking about being able to take out that middle person mm-hmm. <affirmative> and be able to transfer that directly into your system. So hence the shortened time and the, the human errors and that sort of thing. Of course, there's still possibility for errors, but it's certainly a whole lot less likely if we remove that middle effort and that data entry. I know I retype things all the time. Backspace is my friend. Uh, fat fingers, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. So,
Yesper Thompson (13:25):
Um, thanks, Zach.
Chuck Coxhead (13:25):
Yeah. Yeah. Very, very cool. So, um, so, but this is an add-on to Dynamics 365 cloud platform.
Yesper Thompson (13:38):
Yep, it is. It is. So we, we are fully embedded. That means that we are written inside of the, um, the dynamics environment, and that that is of course, two, uh, major advances. One is that the infrastructure for all the IT folks on, on the, on the broadcast here mm-hmm.
Chuck Coxhead (13:57):
Yesper Thompson (13:57):
That it's in the same system. There is nothing else to back up. It's not another access, uh, system that they have to control. It's really built into it, which makes it much easier. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, to manage. Um, so, so for, for, for them, it's, it's really their, the good thing for the, for the user perspective, it's the look and feeling mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you get the same look and feeling in their entire organization mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it's not like, uh, you, you can get operation people going into the PLM piece of mm-hmm. <affirmative> of it because it looks like any other screen, and then they can look at the data directly, uh, there. Uh, so, so we, you get that transparency mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and then of course providing all the engineering, uh, data. So, uh, all the drawings in the right revision, uh, all that without having to, to do a lot of, uh, uh, manual effort. That's really the, the benefit here. You don't have to go and look for on a drive mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, for a drawing mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you just simply click one button and then whoop, then you have the right revision mm-hmm. <affirmative> that you need for, for, for doing your job. And that's, that's the kind of visibility that, uh, really, uh, makes sense when you are inside of, uh, an e p system.
Chuck Coxhead (15:11):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, well, I'm a huge fan of the user experience when it comes to, you know, software platforms and fi frankly u huge fan of user experience on everything. And that brings additional benefits when you do that. If you're operating inside a system with which everyone is familiar, it has a same or similar look and feel, and you're able to seamlessly stay within the tool as much of your day as possible, then you're able to onboard users more quickly. The training mm-hmm. Is less intensive and there's less time wasted switching from tool to tool going from place to place as you, as you said. So it brings other benefits beyond just, you know, just the, the, the engineering change. It's really more administrative, it's really more day-to-day productivity as well. Yep. And you, you know, you brought up my own boy, now all of a sudden I'm thinking about, you know, two monitors and looking at drawings and that sort of thing. And, um, you know, that's the world where I live and, and anyway, so, um, so that is a cool, an additional benefit that I just love to hear as well, but it's inside, so it's a separate product. Okay. But it's inside the crm. So there's a much used phrase nowadays, a single source of truth.
Yesper Thompson (16:28):
Yep. You know, the single source
Chuck Coxhead (16:29):
Of, but what is the single source of truth in this case?
Yesper Thompson (16:32):
So it's, it's, it is inside of the, the e p system. So the, the single source of truth is of course, it's the product data. It's, it's what you have of your product. So it's the bill of materials, it's the drawings, it's the document you have, it's the attributes. So all the information that you really have about this, uh, this, uh, this product mm-hmm. <affirmative> that all the data that you need for producing it suddenly is in one from end all the way from cat. So the CAT files is, is also stored inside of the plm, uh, all the way through, uh, the, the quality, the change process, the release, the test protocols, how you produce it, the SBU documentation later on, the sain, uh, documentation, all the, that is done in a product life cycle. You really have it in, in one place and in one eagle ecosystem. So it's not PLM alone, it's the PLM and E R P that is really, uh, tidying this, uh, together, uh, making it possible.
Chuck Coxhead (17:36):
So in a way, peel, you know, even though you have disparate data sources, if you will mm-hmm. <affirmative> CAD drawings, uh, and other, and, you know, that type of thing, uh, you know, cam files, that sort of thing, you bring that all together in a unified interface, which well, when your builds of material, they're stored in two places. Right. And that's where that integration is crucial. So BlueStar, PLM brings it together and creates a seamless source of truth and takes care of all the behind the scenes. Is that a good sum summation? Yeah,
Yesper Thompson (18:07):
Exactly. It, it makes it sense. And it's also not only, uh, you know, uh, so cat, it's mechanical cat, it's electrical cat mm-hmm.
Chuck Coxhead (18:16):
<affirmative>, of course. Yeah.
Yesper Thompson (18:17):
And, and in big organization nowadays who has not been bought or, or buying commonly kind of thing. Yeah, sure.
Chuck Coxhead (18:24):
Yesper Thompson (18:24):
You also have the problem that you have differing kind of cat system. And that's also what we solve here, is that we really can take from all these sources into, into one single source of true. And then we have the BR drawing and brute revision no matter where they are from, from an operation point of view, whether it's AutoCAD or it's, uh, it's, uh, 3D solid works or mm-hmm. <affirmative>, sea Siemens, uh, solid ads or any of these pro, uh, product or it's calcium for the electrical mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you get, uh, you get the data that you need for, uh, for producing, uh, the part and maintaining it.
Chuck Coxhead (19:03):
So, so I wanna put an exclamation point on that. So with a question, so if a company acquires another company and one is on an AutoCAD 2D platform, because that's all they've done to this day, this, which is what I started with back when I ran the design engineering department. Okay. And now someone else is using SolidWorks, is what you're saying is that you can bring two different systems at two different locations into one Dynamics 365 instance
Yesper Thompson (19:32):
Yes. Into the same solution. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's really where it combined. And it maybe it's get more interesting if you are taking two 3D CAD system because then you start making common files mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how can you maintain common files mm-hmm. <affirmative> so that you don't have to create more part numbers than you need in the P system. Sure. And we also have, uh, tools that helps making the multi catt, uh, and uh, and, and combining the common engineering, uh, items, uh, from the two CAT systems mm-hmm. <affirmative> so that you don't have to worry about it. And for operation, again, they get the, they get the right build material with the right, uh, screws. And you don't have to do anything where if you're coming from creating two cat, uh, cat models and you are coming from two worlds, you'll most likely have two item numbers for the same thing. Potential.
Chuck Coxhead (20:20):
Yesper Thompson (20:20):
Chuck Coxhead (20:21):
Yeah. And, and, and if you're implementing an E R P system, if you're moving to a, a cloud solution, that could be a potential barrier to entry. If for some reason this product was limited just to one system, one CAD system, one, you know, uh, electrical design system, I would have to ch I would've to migrate a team or teams to the chosen system. Yes. This allows us to take the step forward more quickly and move to that E R P, and then if we decide to change the system later on, for whatever reason, we can do that in our own time.
Yesper Thompson (20:56):
Chuck Coxhead (20:57):
Well, that's, that's certainly a benefit for the, you know, those e r P project managers and IT folks out there see fewer barriers to entry and, and, and the beauty honestly, of dealing with, uh, with a cloud solution in that you can use multi-location, um, both, you know, geographically or, you know, within the, between countries, um, within a country, uh, even across town and still the multiple systems. So you have that benefit as opposed to, you know, a, a a on-prem server based system, which may make that even a little more clunky, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is all out there, and you can bring that true integration to everyone so they can move more quickly. Because after all, it's not just value, it's also time to value. How soon can we actually get there? So Yeah. You know, never forgetting that. Wow. That's, that's cool. Very cool. So that all sounds like magic to me, <laugh>. How, how does that work? You know, we were talking about the architecture a little bit, a little bit, uh, earlier in prep.
Yesper Thompson (21:57):
Yep. Yeah. So, so, so really you have, you have your CAT system, uh, you have your Blue Start plm, and you have the EER P system. So you really have these, uh, tree chunk where, where you have the programs that, that you do, and if you just take the next, uh, next slide there. Yeah. Then really what BlueStar provides and, and is the key, is that they are the connection, they are the glue between making sure that this data, uh, chains and the visibility of, of this data happens. Uh, and you really don't have to transfer any data because it's reside into the same single source of True. Uh, and then you use the, the CAT program for what they're good at creating the drawings. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> creating the bill of material, you transfer 'em into, uh, the PLM system mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you go through your approval processes, making sure that you, uh, uh, you get the, the, the drawings reviewed and approved, and then you go to operations where you need to, uh, start producing these, uh, products and so on. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and that's really the, the data transfer back and forth in, in this, uh, uh, span that is, that is really important. Uh, and of course the visibility of it mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, so that, that's the, the key, key thing there
Chuck Coxhead (23:19):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and, and I like what you said about, um, you know, using the tool that's best for the job. So, you know, we're using a best of breed tool rather than creating a separate tool that might not hold the feature set that say a SolidWorks or something to that effect, uh, might hold, uh, like likewise trying to build basic e r P features, you know, uh, and from an engineering perspective into a solid works where Dynamics is going to excel at such a task, and you marry that together in a seamless way. And, and that's, you know, clearly, you know, clearly a benefit
Yesper Thompson (23:54):
There. That's, that's cool. That's the, the old, uh, old fight, right? In the PLM world, if you're standalone, you want to have e F P data in into that world and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if you are in and on the e p side there, you want to have PLM things into it. And that's kind of the gap that with BlueStar it disappear, right? Yeah. Because it's just there, it's inside, it's really, uh, tied, tied together, and you have the visibility if you can get it from e p mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it just looks like any other form, so you don't have to transfer it, just click a button and then you're there.
Chuck Coxhead (24:27):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and as the slide says, you know, it's, you know, you, you provide that integration and, you know, automation layer. But let's go a little deeper into the automation. Is there any anything you wanna highlight there?
Yesper Thompson (24:38):
Yeah. So, so, so really what, what makes the, the, some of the things that the, the customer set there, the, the time to market, the, the change order process, it's really the, the workflow process, the, the level of, uh, who should do what, when, that's the key thing. And the visibility for the whole organization, where we are in, in this, this flow, that's really the key. So, uh, the data back and forth, uh, removing all the human errors and these kind of things, and then the workflow to control the, what we is doing is right, and, and so forth, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's really the, the, the key element in it. So on a high level, that's really what we do to achieve, uh, uh, what the customer does.
Chuck Coxhead (25:26):
That's fantastic. Well, that's a, that's, I mean, overall, the, I think the solution's fantastic. I think it can, you know, truly, I think it can truly revolutionize, uh, an organization. I, I just can't even believe where I came from decades ago where this was not even something that we could possibly have comprehended was possible, was ever be realized. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I guess I didn't have the forethought at that point, <laugh> to understand, even though my world in industrial engineering school was automation and, and, um, computer integrated manufacturing, that sort of thing, but what a leap forward we've made in, in the 30 years, 35 years of my career, it's been, it's truly a blessing and <laugh>. Um, honestly, I think there's a little bit of benefit for young engineers and operations people to use some of those things to, to respect Yeah. And realize what the differences are. But you know what, if you don't, hey, just live in this world of amazing, um, productivity and, and take care of your customers and your, your employees first and foremost. So that's amazing. Do you have any closing thoughts for us?
Yesper Thompson (26:35):
Yeah, so it is just that, uh, our, our vision is really to get, uh, manufacturing on every engineer's finger tips, right? So that's what our vision have been. The 20 years that I have, uh, worked with this, uh, uh, this Blue Star product is really getting the engineers and automate so that they have manufacturing at their finger, uh, tips. That's, that's really what we do here. Getting it short and getting it, uh, uh, efficient,
Chuck Coxhead (27:06):
Getting it short and getting it efficient. Couple of my favorite things to realize for a company, again, inside industrial engineers beating heart. I love it. Yesper. That's, that's great. Fantastic. Well, I love the product and we're big fans of Blue Star here at Turnkey Technologies, and, uh, I'm very grateful for you having joined me today. Uh, in our prep, we talked about a number of other exciting topics that we're gonna cover in future episodes with you, and I'm really looking forward to all of those. Uh, on behalf of my guest, Yesper Thompson and BlueStar plm, my name is Chuck. I am from Turnkey Technologies. We are a full service Microsoft Dynamics, uh, partner helping you with on-prem and cloud, E R p ce, crm, marketing automation, project services, case management, and the whole nine yards. And, uh, we thank you for joining us today. Thank you for hanging in there. If you wanna learn more about BlueStar, PLM and Turnkey Technologies, you can see that in the show notes. Thanks, folks. Take care.