- Implementation of the product was fantastic. We worked closely with our solutions architect and he trained the team to understand the product fully. During the first part of the project, it was overwhelming learning all aspects of the product. We wondered why he could not just move all the information from our old system to Arena. As we moved through the process and the team had a better understanding of the product, it was apparent why Arena equips the user with the knowledge and wants them to be the experts in Arena. At the end of the process we were experts in the product and could fix issues ourselves and understand how we could better use Arena to manage our parts.
- Arena has not had any major bugs or issues with their software. The product works as documented and designed.
- The help videos and documents are very helpful and easy to access by anyone in our organization. They can help themselves, rather than relying on IT support.
- There were a few fields that we could not modify. They were standard fields that Arena would only allow specific data. It would have been nice to be able to modify the field and customize as we wished.
- We wish there was a shared user license. There are some users that might only use the product once per month. It would be nice if they did not need to hold their own user license to access information.
- When approving changes or requests, or completing a task in a project, it would be nice if the system automatically notified all down stream users with open items that the task was completed.
- Searching. The advanced search is very flexible yet guided to narrow down a search to a short list when you are trying to find something
- Our migration from Agile and Parts and vendors was complex, but well supported. The transition team met with us weekly and responded quickly to our concerns and issues. Our experience may have been extreme, but Arena stood by us and helped us navigate many tough situations.
- Administering and reconfiguring the database is very straightforward and quick. I love the fact that an Engineer can come to me and say, "I need this new parameter for a capacitor" and I can resolve his request in 2 minutes.
- I find it frustrating that the filtering or logic for searches and for reports is different. A database query is a database query and I should have the FULL range of options (like looking for NULL values) everywhere, or using NOT in search logic, or using OR in search logic (available sort of, with the ANY search, but not in Reports)
- Extracting reports from the Quality world is very awkward. Because the details are stored with the field name in a long list, there should be CROSSTAB QUERY functionality built in to Arena that will allow me to extract data in a tabular format instead of a long list of different fields and data. [I currently have to take the output from Arena and put it into MS Access where I perform a CROSSTAB QUERY to reformat the data to a grid with each field in a different column.
- I would really like to see the functionality (well controlled) to allow Attributes to be DECOUPLED from Revisions, like the recent addition of Cost. I would like to be able to have an Inventory qty attribute for each of my factories, so that the Engineers have some sense of what is on hand when obsoleting a part. It goes beyond that and My intent is to have weekly uploads (refreshes) of Inventory data from the ERP systems used in our different facilities into Arena, where more people in the organization have access.
It works OK for quality data
It does not work for Inventory mangement
- On many screens, there are multiple options to do other things, such as attach items just created to requests or changes. Each screen has a lot of buttons or commands that can be executed from there, rather than going back to another screen to start doing something else.
- The Bill of Material expand/collapse options are very useful, and the ability to see at a glance whether items have other pending changes is great. It helps us either consolidate several changes or process them in a specific order as may be appropriate.
- The request and change worlds are easy to use and configure. We have reduced our engineering change cycle time using these features.
- The Reporting module is seriously limited, and really only allows the reporting of rather basic information and from only one module at a time (for example, I have to pull data separately from the requests and then the changes module), then link resulting spreadsheets together to get overall cycle times for our engineering change control process.
- The Help system should be improved with more details. For example, a recent new feature of using multi-select attributes should be explained in the help section and examples described on how to import data to multi-select attributes.
- For PDX exports of changes, the FILTER option is still not available. This is very valuable to my company to allow us to filter out files/items contained in changes that are for internal consumption only, that we don't want to share with external parties.
- The API integration capability is under considerable scrutiny at my company. We deployed it to integrate with our ERP system and it has been a disappointment, to say the least. Not reliable. It takes too long before data transfer can be verified. We are currently considering other options.
- Item and BOM management
- Configuration control / Change management
- Quality process, action/response reporting and collection
- Collecting and Reporting on Compliance - RoHS / REACH / Conflict Minerals / etc...
- Admin access - needs to be 2 levels so that some users can create accounts, but cannot do system configuration or configuration changes. And / Or, that you can set what workspaces an Admin has access to
- Administrator - Settings: I manage multiple workspaces for several business units. I would like to be able to go into Settings and make changes to multiple workspaces, by using the "Change Workspace" functionality in Settings. However, that does not work properly. I am forced to "Return"to the active workspace, then choose another Workspace, then go back to Settings (for each workspace I need to make changes in). This is very cumbersome and inefficient when needing to make changes to multiple workspaces.
- History - It would be nice to see the actual history of "Who" has made modifications to a Unreleased and Working Revision. Currently, it only shows the last person and not a running log.
- There are more things, but this form seems currupt
I think Arena is well suited for small to smaller midsize companies. However, for larger companies, I'm on the fence about weather Arena is really the right choice. I think there are some definite modifications to usability, for both end user and Admin. that need to happen to accommodate larger mid size, and large companies.
That said, I think that Arena could, with some changes, fit all sized companies
- Arena's access policies do a very good job of limiting what my users can see and do very effectively.
- Arena does a very good job of communicating changes that are going to occur in their software and when necessary online training for each new release.
- Arena's customer success personnel are very helpful and they get respond back to you in a very timely manner (at least our company's contact does).
- Although Arena has vendor access it is at times very time consuming to set up access to all the parts that they can see (large new assemblies in particular).
- When very small errors occur during a change (ones that wouldn't affect the content that was approved by the approval group) it would be nice to be able to have a super user that can correct these.
- All items and fields on an ECO are locked down once a change is routed for approval. It would be nice to have some fields on a change available to edit for users on the approval group and have the materials disposition open to update these for the approval group's area of interest. These changes would also need to be able to have the approval group a tiered concept vs just one whole one.
- Data is stored on the Cloud. Data retrieving is responsive and convenient.
- Supplier access for collaboration
- Does not require high level of maintenance
- One of the major features an account admin should have is the ability to perform edit during ECO/ECR change review. It is a risk but the account admin should have the ability to determine the risk and update without rejecting the ECO in review with minor changes.
- Core default attributes are so generic and cannot be modified (renamed) to complement new custom attributes.
- Limit number of characters for custom attributes. I believe currently the maximum is 1000 characters.
- In several areas, the Arena system lacks the tracking history of activities of all Arena users. Examples: changes to requests and changes (ECR/ECO/FSR), users submit comments, emails notifications from analysts to suppliers, etc.
- Tracking users account history currently is limited to 6 months
- Comprehensive - We have not yet come across an issue where Arena did not have a solution.
- Flexible - We are able to build custom Attributes into our records to match our execution model.
- UI is not intuitive - User flow is not intuitive or similar to comparative tools or standardized tools. User interaction buttons are not consistent in location and descriptions are not effective in conveying interaction effects. Having said that, once you get past the learning curve the flow/interaction does make sense and becomes less frustrating.
- Integration of suppliers, from around the world, into our processes.
- Management of engineering changes.
- Project management - we all have the "same version of the truth" for the status of a project.
- Improved integration of Arena to native CAD
- Improved integration of Arena to ERP
- Keeping a snapshot of a particular assembly of parts at a given moment in time is the main function that we rely on from Arena.
- Arena helps us build a library of parts that can be searched and cataloged properly
- Navigation is still a task that requires power-user level of understanding. I would love a simpler way to see a clearer picture of my products, perhaps even a top-down diagram for each product, and an easy way to find the top level of each.
- Pulling information from parts vendors such as Digikey and mouser
- Managing 1: many part relationships
- Change management
- Formatting BOM exports. Today, there is no way to export a BOM that looks like the sourcing view of the BOM in Arena
- Having different revisions of a component in different BOMs. To my knowledge, there is no way to have rev 1 of component A in one BOM and rev 2 of component A in a different BOM
- BOM control
- Controlling approved documents to make sure everyone uses the most current approved file.
- Quality control
- Data Export
- Takes a long time to set up.
- Must enter BOM in 1 item at a time.
- Don't have full control. Must use Arena support to control back end.
1. Maintaining the approved vendor list for each component.
2. Generating BOM on demand by directly interface with our CAD system.
3. Collaborating design effort between different engineering departments for optimal design cycle.
4. Sharing information between cross-functional teams for project planning/executing with efficiency.
- Providing means of generating accurate PCBA BOMs from our CAD system.
- Keeping track of our electronic component approved vendor list.
- We have yet figure out on how to make BOM item numbers non-consecutive, e.g. 5, 10, 15, 20 vs. 1, 2, 3, 4, due to the dynamics of our business requirement. The skipping of item numbers allows space to add new items without reassigning item numbers for existing components therefore minimizing document/drawing update.
- Product information not housed in a central location, accessible by all
- Changes not tracked or tracked in a timely manner to suppliers, internal team
- Constant changes to product definition and costs without visibility to stakeholders
- Individuals not held accountable to deadlines, tasks that affect others
- "Where used" function in the bill of materials is a fast way to see the impact of any change
- "Compare" function in the bill of materials is a convenient way to pick out the differences across SKUs that look the same at the top level
- Search capabilities are robust. If you know how to use them, you can locate anything.
- Maybe I just haven't discovered it, but I want to be able to capture the cost by supplier for each item, and have it roll up to the top level total cost of goods for a finished product.
- It is too easy to have duplication of parts or files which causes clutter. A person has to know exactly how to find something to add to a BOM. It is too easy to conduct a search poorly due to lack of knowledge, assume the part/file doesn't exist, then create duplicates for no reason.
- Email messages that deploy to Approvers, etc. are rudimentary and not easy to read. It is a turn off for people who expect HTML, visually pleasing email messages. If not easy, familiar to read, they will not spur quick action.
It is best for keeping track of product parts/versions and for those who utilize data/text to organize themselves. It is not well suited for people who need visuals to understand the same info.
- Syncing between CMs in Asia and our ME and EE departments here in the States.
- Documentation of rev control and file management.
- I'd like to have control of what columns I see and the order in which they are arranged. For instance, on a BOM the item PN and description are next to each other which is standard but the item quantity is on the opposite side of the screen. The PN and quantity are the most important pieces of data on the screen so it is not useful to have them one foot apart. Most of my users have complained about this.
- Reports could be easier to use and more dynamic. This may be my inexperience with them but I and my team have a lot of trouble getting the report to pull the correct data.
- One of the benefits of using Arena is that it is a cloud based PLM system which allows you to access it from anywhere when needed and is supported by different devices such as an iPhone or iPad.
- Another benefit of using Arena is its ease of use. Arena is intuitive and any new user should be able to learn his/her way around the system after learning some of the basic commands and navigation features.
- Arena is also a flexible system with respect to revision control. The user is able to manage revision control as needed for a part or assembly and is not automatically set as with other PLM systems.
- I have no examples to write about at this time.
- We can now link our quality process results to parts. This helps when looking at revisions and releases.
- Arena is flexible in allowing creation of items and naming conventions.
- The quality module, while still a little clumsy, provides a good place for creation of forms and procedures.
- Arena is not the most intuitive, especially where users are promoting a request - the option to "raise an issue" is not easily seen or discerned, causing users to simply comment when they really mean to raise an issue. This process is a little clumsy.
- Adding a document to a signed-off quality process is either clumsy (need to re-validate or do proxy validation after re-opening the process), or sneaky, by going in and replacing the document associated with the file number. Sometimes, we just need to add a forgotten document.
Tracking of production lots does not seem to be easily done in the existing modules.
- Allows use of alpha-numeric part numbers, allowing product structures to be built top down.
- Efficient supplier tracking.
- Ability to assign multiple suppliers to single component or SKU as needed.
- A bit complex, it seems to me Arena was designed for PCBA's, but it does for us quite nicely.
- Arena logs out automatically, if there is a setting for that I have yet to find it.
- Mostly intuitive menu-driven structure.
- Ability to save a lot of information in a central location.
- Flexibility on how to organize information.
- Sometimes the menu-driven structure requires too many steps and layers, making data entry time consuming or hard to find.
- Customer service could be better. Last time we requested tech support, our sales representative seemed somewhat impatient and uncooperative. Afterwards, we have been avoiding customer support.
- Training workspace should have a large watermark on the screen or something else that makes it evident that you are not working in the official work space. On a few occasions, colleagues, including myself, accidentally signed into training work space without realizing it. I was afraid we lost months of important data.
- An internal,network backup. The cloud based system is usually nice, but we lose access to important i nformation during internet outages. We lose internet about 2 hours a week.
- BOMs - very organized, you can see changes from previous BOMs (via the redline system). Parts are linked to their sources, where used, etc.
- Attributes and search - we can call up Design history files for a single customer. During 3rd party audits, our documents are right there, no searching through binders.
- Training program - with the quiz at the end - we now have that quality requirement of "verification of effectiveness."
- Customer service is outstanding. Any time I have a question, a response is provided usually within 4 hours!
- The ticket process - I have not tried it enough to comment on it too much, but when I did try it, it seemed very tedious.
2) Document control organization and access
3) Medical device documents
- Arena makes it easy to document the product development. Users can easily look up revision information and the system is user-friendly.
- Submitting approvals is simple and email notifications are well implemented.
- System comes with reports and can be customized to meet the user's needs.
- Exporting from Arena is extremely complicated. Online help does not describe the process. Even with assistance from the Arena support, it is still difficult to export a list of all released BOM information. The format of the export is not configurable, there are no field delimiters in CSV, and the export requires modification as the items are listed in order, but do not have any reference to the parent in the child lines.
- Support does not have any more tools than you have. Therefore, if you cannot do it using Arena's interface, it cannot be done. Support can only help to do what is allowed by the interface.
- No way to delete anything. Ever. You cannot have support do this either, because they do not have any other tools than what you have.
- Great ECO control.
- Great BOM control.
- Great security control and with limited vendor access.
- The ECO signature control is a really great feature.
- The only thing I can see as an issue for us personally would be the ability to set our password and personally control when we should or should not change it.
- No other issues that I can think of.
- Being a cloud-based system, it allows access without any special setup.
- Automated email reminders for ECO approvals and projects tasks.
- Copying projects that are used repetitively would be greatly appreciated.
- Currently using a template but a template only gets you so far.
USERS: Engineering, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Product Quality, Product Management, Marketing, Software/Firmware.
- If your suppliers use Arena this is an easy way to communicate product documentation and changes .
- You can customize to fit within your organization.
- Very easy to train new and older employees how to use the system (Help Support is great!)
- The request summary should be as big as the changes summary. The notes on the items and the participate don't copy over from the request when you build the change and they should.
- You should be able to have your revision from to condition in the request screen as well.
- Arena makes it hard to do clean-up projects, we need to be able to edit in bulk.
- Example if I have a category cable and I want all my item names to have CABLE, in the item name. It's really hard to make a change like this in bulk unless I export out and import in, and then do a change to implement. And then if any working mods are out there, mistakes happen. I have worked with systems that allowed level of admins be able to make changes without this issue.
- I would like the option to set a standard to have all item names, etc., to be all caps regardless of how it is entered. How can I make this happen without touching every freaking part and having to do a change?
- Exchange needs help. The idea is great but, it hasn't worked for me without a glitch. if you are sending to multiple companies you can't hide them from each other without doing double the work.
- Notification of any modified items for admins would be awesome, especially when you have 120 users with updating capabilities.
- Multiple work spaces! We need to have one master and be able to pick and choose what items get put in what workspace(s).
- Everyone complains about the amount of emails that they get from Arena. I know this is a hard one.
- Sharing in Arena is still one of the pain points
- My engineering team would like to see a engineering module created. I have put some thought into this but it would force me to do double the work.
- New product introduction and product lifecycle management allows our engineering group to develop new products in the planning phase and to send designs for supplier review, the first article builds and quoting to support high volume production.
- Change management with internal users for review and approval of NPI release and sustaining product design changes. The ability to connect with suppliers is critical to ensure they are building to the most current product records.
- It is fantastic for driving collaboration with internal departments, and supply chain partners that are predictable, repeatable, and then we build a quality product.
- I would like the ability to create and manage workflows not only for internal review and sign-off but after release workflows for supplier acknowledgment and implementation status reporting that enable the supply change to sign-off when a change is received and fully implemented.
- When working on supplier access, Access Privileges, it would be great if you can input view, approve, and edit implementation permissions in bulk, not one user at a time.
Arena is well suited for systems integration to other infrastructure such as NetSuite, Salesforce and 3PGL system integration.
Arena Scorecard Summary
Arena Solutions aims to help you solve problems with product realization processes. The company's unified PLM and QMS solutions help companies design, produce, and improve innovative products quickly. Product processes involve multiple teams, locations, partners, suppliers, and vendors. These dispersed teams must work from the same design, ensure compliance, stay on budget, and respond to customer demands. Arena Solutions aims to support this process.
One thousand complex high-tech electronics and medical device customers around the world use Arena Solutions to bring electrical, mechanical, and software designs together into a single solution. Arena enables every participant throughout the product realization process, from design to manufacturing, to work together–increasing visibility and traceability. The vendor says this accelerates new product development (NPD) and new product introduction (NPI) by streamlining processes, automating review cycles, and reducing errors to increase profitability.
Arena Solutions promises to help your internal teams and external partners accelerate new product development while reducing expenses, increasing profitability, and speeding the time to market.
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Arena offers flexible packages to fit your team’s needs ensuring you get the right capabilities to meet your specific business requirements so you never overpay. Our cloud-based PLM and QMS solutions include role-based subscriptions to meet your diverse team needs with the necessary security to protect your product information. Our fixed-fee QuickStart™ implementations help us deploy rapidly to provide the lowest total cost of ownership.
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