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(Sidebar to "PLM A Lifetime Of Collaboration" from the May 2007 issue of Automation World)

For Sypris Electronics LLC, in Tampa, Fla., product lifecycle management (PLM) means controlling access to sensitive documents—at least it did at first. As an electronics manufacturer and engineering services provider working in the aerospace and defense industry, the 2,800-employee subsidiary of Sypris Solutions Inc. deals with sensitive information regularly and must comply with the federal government’s International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR). So it could no longer tolerate the old processes of shipping information on Compact Discs, transmitting it over insecure modems, or using file transfer protocol (FTP).


“The environment we had in place was too dependent on individual users’ capabilities and their detailed knowledge of multiple government requirements,” says Joan Fuhremann, Sypris senior business analyst. “With ITAR, we needed a system that would be easy for our employees to use and comply with the law.” And that would eliminate the manual review and re-entering of data.

  As a long-time user of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product data management (PDM) products from Infor Global Solutions, of Alpharetta, Ga., Sypris decided to install the software developer’s product lifecycle management system. Of immediate interest was the PLM software’s Product Packager tool for importing external documents. Not only does the tool work with a variety of formats, but it also loads the data into the PDM system automatically, thereby saving time and eliminating entry errors. And it automatically screens and tracks who has access to the data.

A good example is the large bills of materials (BOMs) that Sypris receives from its customers. “We have some very lengthy product structures that we were entering by hand,” says Fuhremann. “It was a very complicated process that often took as much as two weeks. With Infor PLM LN, we can now import lengthy BOMs in a matter of hours.”

Besides saving time, the software also has boosted the accuracy of the documentation and gives Sypris a means to control revisions. And it moves the company a step toward paperless engineering. Employees who have the appropriate clearance can now download documents and work with them online, rather than going through the time-consuming and expensive steps of getting a paper copy.

To see the main story this sidebar was taken from - "
PLM A Lifetime Of Collaboration" - please visit

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