Chad Decker Part 3: Choosing the Right DELMIA Solution

In part 3 of our Chad Decker interview, he breaks down how to find the right manufacturing solutions on a case-by-case basis while also giving tips on what to avoid – from data silos to short-sited solutions to jumping too quickly into trendy software.

Gene: From what research I’ve done about you, it seems to me that you’re an expert in just figuring out what a company needs or reminding them of solutions that could really benefit their business.

Gene: So, let’s give you an example to break down. We’re in the automotive industry. So, for Delmia specifically, what size company would use Delmia and in the automotive industry, what are some technologies that you would recommend that people don’t often add to their installation base?

Chad: Automotive is driven as an industry driven largely by suppliers and typically, they’re referred to in tiers. Whereas the automotive manufacturer themselves is mostly concerned about assembly and coordination and things like that.

Chad: Again, these are very complex machines and things like that. We certainly have Tier 1 customers and one of the things that we see is people have either company, it’s not that they don’t have any technology – although they could. There’s A LOT of Excel and paper out there yet!

Gene: Oh God yeah!

Chad: And people, again, particularly – it’s probably all over the country – but I’m a Midwest grew up on a farm. And the Midwest mentality is very much “we’ll just work harder, and we’ll make it happen”! Again, you can do that, but it’s not particularly sustainable or scalable.

Chad: So, there’s a lot of Excel and things like that out there; just people in paper and how do you bridge that gap and tell them “Hey, there’s a better way. We could have those people be more efficient!” or you may have companies that have either done a system themselves, a homegrown thing, or they’ve accumulated a host of point systems.

Chad: Again, that’s not to say point systems are bad, there’s some good point systems out there. It simply depends on what a company needs and get a system that fits it.

Chad: So, manufacturers could say: “I need to do this.” Okay, then you get a system that does that. And you certainly don’t want to go for a system that is entirely disconnected from everything else.

Chad: And so, that’s one of the things that we see is, you’ve got some levels of maturity, you’ve got people in paper kind of at the bottom, you’ve got a system that maybe they built or bought that really isn’t connected to things, and then you start to get to a level of, “I maybe have separate systems, but they’re all connected.”

Chad: And, again, we use the term, digital thread”; does your digital thread completely have to reside in Delmia? No, although we offer that, but at least we can facilitate, “Oh, I can go from design to Manufacturing engineering to the shop floor to field service back to design.”

Chad: And so, how do you maintain that all the way through? Again, when you have nothing but people and paper, that’s almost impossible. When you have disconnected systems, it’s super difficult.

Chad: Again, it just ends up being a lot of work to maintain that thread and you just have to work harder which is inefficient. So, when we talk about sustainability, one of the things we look at sustainability is “are we making efficient use of our resources?” and one of the many resources available to an organization is people, right? But it could be any number of things from inputs, raw materials, electricity, you name it. And, again, the better, faster, and cheaper that I can make something, the more sustainable a company’s being.

Chad: Hopefully, that answered your question. I got off a little bit on a tangent and sustainability, but that’s kind of my thing.

Chad: You initially asked, “how could we go in and help somebody?” Typically, we initially will go in and would do what we call a value assessment. We would do this to try to understand things such as “where you are in your journey? Are you people in paper? Are you disconnected systems? Are how you’re doing an ERP?” And, above all, “is your system not working as well as you would like?”

Chad: Those are the types of questions we would ask in a value assessment.

Chad: We really try to understand where you are as a company, and then that helps us come up with to say, “okay, if this is where you are, here’s your next step and maybe subsequent steps”, because the reality is, you can’t get all the way in one step, maybe not even two steps, right?

Chad: Where do you start? And so, you have to start the journey somewhere and, when you look at things like magic quadrants, everybody wants to get to the upper right. The reality is most folks start in the bottom left. And how do we get you there? So really, we use some of these tools and observations to help people because we may have somebody that comes in and says “I need this!”

Chad: Maybe but one of the jobs that my group does is to understand what you’re asking for. Is the thing you need the same thing and, if not, how do we educate the customer to say, “let’s talk about maybe where you want to get to rather than I want to solve this immediate need.”


Chad: Because again, that’s how you collect a bunch of point systems that don’t talk to one another.

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D4M International is an IT consulting company focused on transforming manufacturing and operations for optimal performance with SAP and DELMIA. 

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