On-demand PLM for Fast-growing Enterprises

Solution provider Arena touts customers' use of Web-based product lifecycle management to rapidly scale operations

Solution provider Arena touts customers' use of Web-based product lifecycle management to rapidly scale operations

Menlo Park, CA — December 15, 2004 — Product lifecycle management specialist Arena Solutions this week highlighted its customers' successes with the provider's "on-demand" PLM services, citing several companies that are using the solution to help grow their businesses.

Arena highlighted Color Kinetics, Align Technology, Sierra Wireless and Infinera as companies that are using the provider's services to manage complex product information during periods of rapid expansion in their product lines, design and manufacturing teams, supplier relationships and businesses.

"Companies grow more easily with Arena because its on-demand service allows them to expand their use of world-class PLM without the cost, complexity and limitations of maintaining client/server applications," the solution provider said in a statement. "Arena allows them to effortlessly leverage PLM across their growing organizations, outsourcing partnerships, supplier relationships and new mergers and acquisitions as their businesses grow."

Arena argues that because its PLM solution is offered as a service accessible via the Web, companies using the solution can concentrate on using the tools to help run their business rather than on IT infrastructure maintenance, software upgrades, fixes or the complexities of securely communicating with partners. "Without any costly re-engineering, Arena PLM scales with companies as they grow," the provider said.

Color Kinetics, a fast-growing provider of advanced solid-state lighting systems and technologies, turned to Arena three years ago to support its expansion. "Over the past few years, Color Kinetics has grown from a ten-person team to an 80-person, global company," said Fritz Morgan, vice president of engineering for Color Kinetics. "As we grew, our product lifecycle management needs grew as well, and we certainly could not have scaled so quickly without the powerful and flexible PLM functionality that Arena provided us. It makes communication with our suppliers and contract manufacturers effortless, and helps enable our product innovation. We would not have been able to achieve this level of growth without Arena."

Elsewhere, Align Technology, ranked as the eighth fastest growing technology company in North America on the 2004 Deloitte Technology "Fast 500", is a medical device company. Align chose Arena to automate its document control function and found Arena to be in sync with its product development process, aiding Align's rapid growth, according to Len Hedge, vice president of operations for Align.

"As Align has grown into one of the world's largest mass manufacturers of a highly customized medical product, we've relied strongly on the functionality of Arena PLM," said Hedge. "We now have more than 850 users logging in to Arena PLM to access the latest product information and operating procedures. By automating our document control function through Arena PLM, we were able to deal with a larger volume of changes and have reduced our change implementation cycle time without increasing headcount."

In addition, Sierra Wireless, a leading developer of an industry-leading wireless PC card line for portable computers, needed a comprehensive PLM system that would manage product data and coordinate changes between Sierra and AirPrime, a company that Sierra acquired in June 2003. In addition to the thousand-plus miles separating them, the two companies used different processes and systems to manage product development, part numbering and engineering changes. To remain competitive in today's tight fiscal conditions, Sierra Wireless needed to drastically reduce its joint product development cycle.

"Arena has shortened the time to merge the two engineering departments," said Christian Garrett, configuration manager for Sierra Wireless. "It provides the freedom to do things that cannot be done with other traditional systems, and we were up and running within five days. Engineers from both sites have access to the combined product database in real time. In parallel, we can share product data and start building products with suppliers from our combined supplier base. With Arena, it is easy to track product changes, and the amount of work we are able to achieve with Arena is unbelievable. Since November 2003, we have developed 173 new SKUs for sale."

Finally, Infinera, a provider of digital optical networking systems to telecom carriers, wanted a PLM solution from a vendor with proven expertise in the on-demand PLM space so as to avoid potential hardware or software "headaches." Infinera's growth path was reliant on innovation at the component level and the integration of that technology into a carrier-class telecommunications system. To achieve rapid time-to-market within a highly controlled and predictive environment, Infinera sought a sophisticated data and process management infrastructure.

"What Infinera does for optical networks — simplifying engineering, accelerating revenue and enabling maximum flexibility — Arena does for us," said Tom Fallon, vice president of operations for Infinera. "We deployed Arena PLM instantly with no hardware or software issues, and were impressed by the ease-of-use and consistent expertise we experience with Arena as we've expanded our user base within Infinera and with our contract manufacturers."

"Our solution dramatically increases our customers' ability to keep pace with fast growth by getting their product development infrastructure in place and operating quickly," said Michael Topolovac, CEO for Arena Solutions. "Yet it does so without requiring large upfront or long-term expenditures."

For more information on mid-market companies using product lifecycle management solutions to gain competitive advantage, see "Stuck in the Middle" in the April/May 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.