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FEI Builds on Serena TeamTrack to Deliver Enterprise Quality and Control

Executive Summary

FEI is the innovator and leading supplier of Structural Process Management, a product that produces three-dimensional views of complex structures and enables atomic-level analysis. FEI needed to deliver on increased expectations for quality and performance as it expanded beyond its laboratory-centric customer base to reach industrial markets. The company looked to the Serena® TeamTrack® solution to drive quality, improve customer response, lower operational costs and increase time-to-value for customers.

With TeamTrack in place, the company has been able to meet and exceed customer expectations in new and competitive marketplaces. TeamTrack has become the company’s corporate standard for global quality management. The system allows automatic measurement and reporting, facilitates communication and distribution of information, and simplifies requirements management. Improved communication and access to consistent, consolidated information helps FEI shorten development cycles while driving down the costs of development, manufacturing, installation, and support.

Challenge

Increase quality and performance to support expansion to industrial markets

Solution

Serena TeamTrack

Results

  • Enhanced product quality and control
  • Improved customer response
  • Simplified management
  • Shortened development cycles
  • Lower operational costs
  • Improved communication and distribution of information

“We are able to execute our plans better by virtue of removing barriers to information, improving multi-site collaboration, and standardizing processes across the enterprise. I just don't know how to put a price tag on that.”
Bill Vawter, Manager of Customer Advocacy, FEI


Company’s global quality management revolves around TeamTrack

In the year since Bill Vawter, Manager of Customer Advocacy, introduced TeamTrack to FEI offices worldwide, he has aggressively used TeamTrack to help FEI develop higher quality products, improve customer response, lower operational costs, and increase time-to-value for customers.

FEI is the innovator and leading supplier of Structural Process Management™, a product that provides users with three-dimensional views of complex structures and the ability to analyze materials down to the atomic level. Headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon with additional development and manufacturing operations in Massachusetts, The Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, FEI has more than 1,500 employees.

FEI needed to deliver on increased expectations for quality and performance as it expanded beyond its laboratory-centric customer base to reach industrial markets, including complex fabrication environments. Using Serena TeamTrack to maintain a tight focus on quality, the company has been able to meet and exceed customer expectations in new and competitive marketplaces. TeamTrack is the principle technology driving FEI’s closed-loop corrective action quality management initiative.

Reduce costs for product development, manufacturing, installation, and support

Serena TeamTrack houses all information about performance and quality for all of FEI’s global operations. With TeamTrack, FEI improves and evolves products based on actual field performance data and customer feedback. Access to consistent, consolidated information drives down costs associated with the development, manufacturing, installation, and support of FEI products.

FEI does not operate a traditional command and control management structure. Their ability to support an entrepreneurial culture with functional responsibilities in distributed locations gives them a high level of corporate agility. TeamTrack helped FEI evolve a collection of homegrown and commercial applications into a cohesive approach and consistent solution for a global quality management system. “For FEI, the value added by expanding TeamTrack was so obvious it wasn't necessary to justify it on a traditional cost-benefit basis,” explains Vawter.

Automate processes, manage issues, and facilitate collaboration

Using a single platform and developing a single database has made it possible for FEI to rapidly automate business processes, manage issues throughout the entire life cycle of multiple projects, and facilitate collaboration with all stakeholders across the enterprise. This integrated environment ensures that everyone in product development, manufacturing, implementation, and service have quick and secure access to current information.

Quickly apply organization, control, and accountability to specific processes

BilI Vawter has performed scores of presentations and system demonstrations of TeamTrack to dozens of groups as the platform has been rolled out across FEI, yet his most convincing demonstration is how he uses the system every day. “I can be at headquarters in Oregon and know exactly what is happening on my production floor in the Netherlands,” he explains. “I don't have to track down a manager, worry about time zones, or sift through folders on the network hunting through spreadsheets and reports detailing what happened yesterday. In ten seconds, I see for myself what’s happening right now.”

TeamTrack’s growth within FEI has been organic, as one department after the next discovered its ability to quickly apply organization, control, and accountability to their specific processes. Historical success with TeamTrack gave FEI's management team confidence to extend the platform across all international offices and develop an integrated solution.

Today, it’s difficult to find a group within FEI that doesn’t make use of TeamTrack. It has become FEI’s corporate standard for tracking issues related to hardware defects worldwide. Research and Development groups and the Software Quality Assurance group in Eindhoven use TeamTrack to follow hardware and software problems, and engineering groups worldwide manage engineering change requests and change
orders. FEI’s manufacturing group uses TeamTrack to track manufacturing rejects, process problems, and supplier quality worldwide. And, the MicroElectronics division’s technical support group tracks support requests and field escalations worldwide with TeamTrack.

Flexible and fast system implementation and management

“TeamTrack provides the enterprise platform we use for high-level business processes, after which each department may have one or two systems for sub-processes specific to their function. It's flexible enough to allow us to implement and manage this structure quickly, inexpensively and with a very high level of confidence. In addition, having our business processes managed in TeamTrack simplifies the process of obtaining worldwide ISO 9000 certification,” said Vawter.

“When you think about the amount of time people traditionally spend entering data into a particular document or database, moving it to another for analysis or reporting, and repeating the process over and over, the amount of errors and mistakes — redundancy and wasted time — is just mind-boggling. Being able to take that out of the organization and letting people focus on high-value work is a great asset to the organization and helps drive value to the customer, which translates to greater business success. This is a very exciting time at FEI. I feel like we're just scratching the surface of what TeamTrack can really do.”