SRAM, a Chicago-based bicycle components maker, began as a small company with a big idea on how to improve bicycle function. That idea was the “grip shifter,” allows riders to simply twist their handlebar grip to gear a bike up or down, instead of moving a lever on the bike frame or pushing a thumb shifter repeatedly.


PTC Windchill


SRAM’s grip shifts were lightweight, virtually indestructible, and quick-moving. By 1994, the company had produced 10 million of the innovative gadgets. With this initial success under their belt, the company began to build itself into a global leader in component manufacturing.

Over the next 10 years, they acquired several similar companies, including a hub gear manufacturer. In 2002, they bought up RockShox, one of the biggest names in mountain bike suspensions. In 2004, they added a brake manufacturer. In 2005, a crank and stem company joined the ranks.

Today, SRAM reports earnings in excess of $500 million each year.

As any successful company can attest, reaching heights like this is a marathon, not a sprint. Each new company they acquired came with its own processes, data repositories, and communication technologies. SRAM may have appeared to be completely unified, but beneath the surface, they had to deal with the same coordination pain points all growing companies face.

According to an in-depth report by Nucleus Research about SRAM and its PLM capabilities, the company’s new acquisitions found it difficult to share information across departments. Bringing these departments together required “a solution that [integrated] processes, technology, and people into an information backbone to facilitate a lean enterprise.”

The Nucleus report states that SRAM chose PTC Windchill as its PLM solution because it was a product development-oriented solution that offered the most robust integration with CAD, a strong workflow engine, and broad baseline functionality.” Additionally, the software wouldn’t require a high level of customization like its peers.

Michael Johnson, Global PLM Manager, had this to say: “PTC is… ‘Business Value’ focused instead of tool focused. This matched our holistic business process approach to PLM. That combined with their tools’ capabilities made PTC a clear choice.”

With PTC Windchill fully deployed, 450 employees in 16 locations now use a system that houses all engineering data on four powerful servers. This lets these users access data from anywhere quickly and securely on up-to-date files, with no risk of having changes overwritten. This increased efficiency also helps the company manage more products without needing more staff.

“By eliminating redundant information and misplaced documents, engineers now save approximately one to two hours each week,” reads the report. “The increased efficiency and time savings has made it possible to have four times the number of active projects being developed simultaneously compared with pre-deployment levels.”

All told, the company now sees an annual uptick of $1.3 million because it chose PTC Windchill for its PLM needs.

Questions? Give Us a Call

Let us know if you’d like to discuss whether Windchill 11 (or Windchill Cloud) might be a game changer for your company. 3 HTi does extensive consulting and process assessments on design and manufacturing processes. Windchill isn’t for every organization, but it can be revolutionary for many. Let’s talk and see what your company might be able to do to increase efficiencies.

We’re available at (866) 624-3HTi, and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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