Navman Wireless - Ideal PLM Solution


The Company

Navman Wireless has always been a pioneer in GPS technology. They are now a global provider operating in UK, USA (head office located in Chicago), NZ, Australia, Chile, Spain, Italy and Denmark. Their solution and product range includes GPS vehicle tracking, in-vehicle communication and navigation, driver hours logging, engine management and much more.

In July 2007, Navman Wireless separated from Navman and was sold by Brunswick Corporation. Now as a stand alone company, Navman Wireless has moved to private ownership backed by senior management and private investment firm Prairie Capital from Chicago. 


The Challenge

Navman Wireless started looking for a solution to document and product data management issues in 2007.    Because they had recently been separated from the Navman company they were looking to develop their own structure.  They had file sharing and fragmentation everywhere.  There were “systems in place, sort of, but they were clunky and hard to manage”. 


The Solution

In the process of researching options their quality manager, Graeme Preston, discovered something called “product lifecycle management” otherwise known as PLM.  This initiated a change of focus when Graeme wrote a requirements specifications brief. The exercise was intended to primarily clarify their needs in his own mind but it also made it clear that they needed a specialist system to assist their design control.  It was also needed to sort out the “good ones” from the “backyarders” from the myriad of vendors.   The response was less than enlightening; all vendors came back with the perfect solution:  we can do it all.

Demonstrations were called for from various vendors.  The one that shone through was the one that could show complete functionality immediately and had an alignment with their business. 

Concerns over using a web based service were addressed when it was realized that the business would have much bigger issues than their product data management if they had no internet access.  These days a growing business assumes it will be using the internet on a daily basis. 

Justifying new technology is never easy but in a final attempt Graeme invited the president based in Chicago to a web based demonstration.  A couple of days later he heard the magic words…”I like it.”  So how do you justify it?  The question was asked, “How do you justify the value of a clean shop floor?”  PLM for a modern design house with outsourced manufacturing is the “clean floor” compared with older technology. 


The Result

The value became apparent as the first product was loaded in.  The cleaning up of product data was a big job but is now done.  And it stays done.  Now everyone knows if the information isn’t in the system it isn’t lost or hiding somewhere; it needs to be sourced and added. Initial resistance from other parts of the business have now found their own advantages for using PLM and are proactively suggesting ways to integrate it into their own processes.  It has provided some valuable simplification of business processes and because of the structure already in place it is keeping it simple.

Uptake by staff has been good but could have been enhanced by some hands on training initially.  When Navman Wireless started implementing PLM there was no local support.  The online support via Skype was excellent for key administrators but now being able to get all users in to train hands on at Matrix’s local support centre is even better.  Nothing beats having local support and understanding backed up by an international support team.

Graeme can see that as Navman Wireless implements PLM further and is able to open it up to their contract manufacturers, the real value and power of PLM will be revealed.  It will streamline their change management and create a sleeker, stronger, more efficient design and cost control for them.  This PLM solution has been ideal with a quick start up time, minimal risk and a growing return.

To learn more about Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), click here.