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Real-time Information Sharing Dramatically Improves Engineering Change Processes at Sky plc


Sky plc is Europe’s leading entertainment company. The group serves 21 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. They offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.

Product Development Processes Using Excel, Email and FTP sites

Sky was looking to improve their product development processes in order to maintain their standard for delivering high quality products to their customers across Europe. They were using Excel spreadsheets, FTP sites, and emails to manage and share product information. Engineers would often save information locally on their machines which made it very difficult to find information. Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) were prone to errors and delays as most correspondence was carried out by e-mail. Sky wanted a single, electronic system to manage all product data in order to alleviate the pains they were experiencing with manual product development processes and decentralized information.

Central Source for Product Information

The company set out to find a software solution partner to help centralize all of their product information and facilitate the sharing of information among their design team in the United Kingdom (UK), external suppliers, and their manufacturing teams in China. They researched several solutions and ultimately selected the Empower Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution from Omnify Software.

The Empower PLM solution addressed all of Sky’s requirements by providing a single location to electronically manage all product content information such as Bill of Materials (BOMs), Engineering Changes, Documents, Quality and Compliance information that was also easy to use, configurable to meet their specific needs, and required minimal IT resources.

Dramatic Improvement to Engineering Change Process

Working with both Saros Technology, Omnify’s Value Added Reseller (VAR) in the UK and Omnify Software directly, Sky implemented the Empower PLM solution. Omnify and Saros helped with loading all of Sky’s existing BOM information into the Empower PLM system, setting up workflows to improve their ECO/approval process, activating product modules, and performing staff training.

Empower is being used across several departments at Sky including: Manufacturing, CAD, Hardware Design, Mechanical Design, Planning, Procurement, Customer In-Life (Quality), as well as in three factories in China. The complete development of Sky’s newest product line, Sky Q, is managed within Omnify Empower and moving forward all development of new products will be managed within Empower.

“Empower is a central point for all product information,” stated Toby Payne, Manufacturing Production Lead for Sky, plc. “We now create all part numbers and vendor parts within the Empower PLM system and also manage our BOMs, ECOs, datasheets and software information.” Sky’s manufacturing partners in China have direct visibility into Empower so they are always up to date with the latest BOM changes, part numbers and related data.  This has made Sky’s information transfer faster, and makes the data more accurate and available 24 hours a day. 

“Our engineering change process has improved dramatically,” said Mr. Payne. “We are now able to run ECOs through Omnify Empower, and upon release, multiple external factories are notified automatically, in real-time, which allows them to access the information in their time zone. This helps to speed the ECO process, guarantee information is accurate and up-to-date, and reduce communication errors.”

Sky continues to improve and create new, innovative processes using Empower beyond BOM and ECO management. They have adopted the Empower BOM Configurator Module to be able to build a single “umbrella” BOM with three different variations of the BOM for each of their three factories and have plans to leverage the Octopart Search Integration Module to give engineers direct access to the Octopart database of over 30 million parts across thousands of suppliers. They are developing other in-house systems that utilize the data held within Empower to help manage their production plans and shipping schedules. 

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