2005 Supply & Demand Chain 100 Case Study  Color Kinetics/Arena Solutions

Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: Color Kinetics turned to an on-demand product lifecycle management solution to streamline the engineering change process.

Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: With a globally dispersed development team and a rapidly expanding business, Color Kinetics turned to an on-demand product lifecycle management solution to facilitate communication with all its sites and streamline the engineering change management process.

Company: Color Kinetics (Boston, MA)
Company Size: Medium
Company Sector: Manufacturing (Electrical/Appliance/Components)
Area(s) of Enablement: Product Lifecycle Management
Enabler: Arena Solutions (Menlo Park, CA)

SDCE 100 2005Case Study: Based in Boston, Color Kinetics manufactures lighting systems used in flagship offices, concert halls, restaurants and sports venues. A leader in its field, the company has 37 issued patents and more than 120 pending patent applications. Color Kinetics is a global brand, with facilities in Boston, the United Kingdom and China. The company also works with a number of licensed manufacturers around the world.

With a globally dispersed team, Color Kinetics found that secure communication of current product information was a stumbling block. The company was spending too much time on change processing and not enough time developing new product. With the business expanding, Color Kinetics needed a solution that would ensure real-time communication with all its sites and the successful integration of the company's technology by its licensing partners.

Three years ago the company turned to product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Arena Solutions to support its expansion. Arena provides an on-demand PLM solution that allows Color Kinetics to manage geographically distributed project teams through a Web-based interface. Color Kinetics is using Arena's solution to manage complex product information during periods of rapid expansion in their product lines, design and manufacturing teams, supplier relationships and business.

ECO Process Streamlined

After adopting Arena PLM, Color Kinetics was able to reduce its engineering change order (ECO) processing time by 75 percent, speeding time to market and enabling the company to focus on designing innovative lighting systems. "It makes communication with our suppliers and contract manufacturers effortless, and helps enable our product innovation," Fritz Morgan, vice president of engineering for Color Kinetics.

Because Arena Solutions PLM is on-demand, requiring no software or hardware installations or IT deployment, implementation was virtually instant at Color Kinetics, a fact not lost on Morgan. "We are experts in designing lighting systems of tomorrow, not in managing IT," he said. "I shouldn't have to put a server in a room and run it. We are debt-free and profitable because we haven't done things like that."

In addition, Morgan said that the solution has proved popular with the company's suppliers, too. "Our suppliers are excited that they can be part of the process without buying additional hardware or software," he said. "In fact, many of them have said they wish all their customers would use Arena PLM."

 For more information regarding on-demand PLM, view the archived Supply & Demand Chain Executive Web seminar "Leveraging On-Demand PLM to Compete in the Global Market."

For more stories of successful supply chain implementation, read the "2005 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" article in the June/July 2005 issue of the magazine. Also watch the Today's Headlines section of SDCExec.com every Tuesday and Thursday for more in depth best practices drawn from this year's Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100.