Putting the KPIs in PLM to Improve Product Development

Aras adds scorecards, dashboards to version 6 of flagship product lifecycle management solution; announces Structural Concepts as customer

Aras adds scorecards, dashboards to version 6 of flagship product lifecycle management solution; announces Structural Concepts as customer

Lawrence, MA — October 26, 2004 — Should companies run product development like they do the rest of the business? Product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Aras Corporation thinks so, and the provider has released a new solution intended to help companies do just that.

Aras has released the latest version of its flagship PLM solution and its underlying application framework, adding "actionable metrics" based on a standardized set of key performance indicators (KPIs) for product development, as well as moving its applications to Microsoft .NET technology.

In addition, Aras announced that the company Structural Concepts has adopted the latest version of the provider's PLM solution to help streamline and improve its development processes.

The enabler said that version 6 of Aras PLM displays real-time, graphical scorecards and dashboards within the solution in order to deliver visual management to executives and managers. The ability to set goals is included for companies that want to run product development like the rest of the business by measuring performance over time and focusing resources on value-added activities.

With the new KPI capabilities in PLM 6, Aras said that companies will, for the first time, be able to identify and fix issues before they become problems and proactively target areas for continuous improvement. "Executive visibility gives managers immediate insight into where the business is performing well and where they need to focus to improve in five critical areas: product innovation, engineering efficiency, design to goal, engineering optimization, and time to manufacturing," Aras said in announcing the new solution.

According to the solution provider, the KPI metrics are real-time roll-ups of actual processes and ongoing operations, so the information is always up-to-date and managers are able to drill down to the details to take action. The data to power the scoreboards and dashboards are drawn from the other modules of the Aras PLM solution.

"Aras PLM's actionable metrics give companies the ability to improve product development performance by increasing innovation and productivity, two of the central drivers of profitable growth," said Paul Gilmartin, vice president of product management and marketing for Aras. The new capabilities will allow companies to run their product development "by the numbers," just as they do other parts of their business, Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin also noted that Aras had moved its underlying Aras Innovator application framework to .NET, making it, he said, the only enterprise PLM solution based on the Microsoft technology, as well as lowering the solution's total cost of ownership for companies. By utilizing.NET, Aras Innovator takes advantage of the common Microsoft platforms such as the Windows Server System and SQL Server, in addition to being entirely based on standard Internet protocols including HTTP/HTTPS, XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

Version 6 of the Aras solutions will be available in November 2004. Packaging remains all-inclusive, meaning access to all the Aras solutions is included with each concurrent user license, and there are no modules or server licenses to buy. Pricing starts at $50,000 and can be purchased directly from Aras.

Meanwhile, the solution provider also announced that Structural Concepts Corporation, a provider of temperature controlled display cases for the food retailing and foodservice industries, has selected version 6 of Aras PLM to provide visibility into new product development and engineering change management.

Muskegon, Mich.-based Structural Concepts turned to Aras for a solution to manage, measure and improve the product development and launch processes in support of its lean environment. "We are continuously increasing the rate of innovation and streamlining our engineering business operations, and Aras supports both objectives," said Viktor Anderson, director of engineering for Structural Concepts. "With Aras we found a practical solution that gives us insight into the performance of our product development operations we required."

David Geerts, president and chief operating officer for Structural Concepts, noted that his company relies on innovation for a large part of its success. "The growth in our business is a direct result of our innovation and focus on quality," he said. "The Aras solution provides us with the ability to further accelerate the pace of our innovation and the visibility we need to target areas for continuous improvement."