More to Know of COE with Bell Helicopter’s Charles Marsh and Jeff Cloud

Chas and Jeff.pngWith more years of collective industry experience than can be counted, COE is the place for users of all Dassault Systèmes solutions to share experiences, continue learning and influence the future of Dassault Systèmes solutions. Here we feature members’ work across all industries and products. We spoke with Charles Marsh and Jeff Cloud of Bell Helicopter to discuss their work with ENOVIA and the value of being a COE member.   

Charles Marsh and Jeff Cloud have more than 40 years of combined experience working at Bell Helicopter, an industry-leading manufacturer of commercial and military helicopter aircraft. Each have worked through and overseen a number of advancements in the company, including a key move to integrate the company’s business systems to ENOVIA nearly a decade ago. 

The momentous change took place in 2011, impacting product development design and beyond. With this transition, not only were engineers using ENOVIA, but employees in manufacturing, procurement, quality, contracts and more were integrated into the system. This ensured greater consistency across programs and increased efficiency. 

Charles, who oversees the design tools and standards for Bell Helicopter, noted his team recently added a supplier collaboration portal to the ENOVIA space, allowing for greater visibility to the parts being delivered. “Suppliers can post the requisite deliverables for components, so we can get quality information updates, have those records on file and document those parts are conforming,” he noted. This streamlines delivery from dock to aircraft and ensures a quality product is being made. Having held various design roles, Charles he notes the most powerful thing in his design career has been the ability to collaborate and see other systems in context of the full project through ENOVIA. 

Beyond streamlining, ENOVIA has helped teams do more with less. Jeff recalled a time when he was Chief Engineer at Bell Helicopter leading a small team of five and using ENOVIA to run daily activities. “We could make engineering changes, perform investigations on configuration history and send information to vendors and customers. Having all that information at our fingertips was very powerful and enabled us to do a lot of things that, previously, we wouldn’t have been able to do as quickly or with as small of a team.” 

As with any new business process, the transition had its challenges – optimizing processes and keeping information in a universal location. Regardless, Jeff saw that the long-term benefits would outweigh short-term issues. “I would tell my colleagues, yes, it may take more time now, but it will save 10 times as many people that time in the future. Time spent now is used efficiently by others later – or even later that day.” 

Looking to the future, Jeff is working to help Bell learn how to best use resources in ENOVIA to their fullest potential. “We’ve been through a few aircraft programs that all use tools in ENOVIA, and each time we did it slightly differently while learning the best process and tools for the biggest impact,” he said, noting that this review helps troubleshoot problems now instead of five years later. Currently, as Technical Competency Leader for Structural Design, this is an important part of his role to ensure best practices are communicated and followed across programs. “I’m excited about the knowledge of the Bell increasing to the point where we can fully utilize the tools that are provided to us by Dassault Systemes,” Jeff said.   

For Charles, one of the more exciting milestones this year has been migrating from legacy CAD programs to CATIA v6, a year-long project. The first aircraft program was recently successfully migrated in test and his team is moving others from CATIA v4 to v6. Every few years an incremental upgrade to the aircraft is needed, he notes, and having a modern CAD system is key to keeping those legacy programs alive.  

Both Jeff and Charles’ efforts make it clear that this is an exciting time to be part of the industry – with technology enabling the industry to do bigger and better things – and an equally exciting time to be part of a community like COE. 

“The best part of COE is that it has begun to expand to more than just CATIA. We have the ability to talk to other people with the same mindset, the same problems, similar successes and issues that we’ve overcome. Having a peer network is the biggest benefit for me, being able to connect with people who use these systems,” Jeff said. For Charles, it’s the ability to participate in a collective intelligence, whether that’s benchmarking other companies, speaking with thought-leaders or collaborate with peers – all of which has helped Bell Helicopter to identify new approaches to common challenges. 

What’s more, Charles notes, is he finds he can learn from COE members no matter the industry. “It’s advantageous to talk to someone outside your industry. Companies that are medical device companies have similar challenges as Bell Helicopter. Their challenges with the FDA are similar to the Federal Aviation Administration challenges Bell Helicopter sees,” he said.

Whether you’re a seasoned member or joining for the first time, there’s always more to know of COE. Get connected online or in-person at the Annual Experience and TechniFair – what you learn from fellow COE members today could change the future of your business tomorrow.

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