Arena Pumps up PLM Solution with New Collaboration, Compliance Features

Fall '05 release also adds customization capabilities; Enterprise Edition debuts

Fall '05 release also adds customization capabilities; Enterprise Edition debuts

Menlo Park, CA — December 7, 2005 — On-demand product lifecycle management specialist Arena Solutions debuted the latest version of its flagship PLM offering, rolling out new features focused on collaboration, compliance management and customization, as well as unveiling a new Enterprise Edition of its solution and announcing that Air International Thermal Systems had adopted the enterprise version.

The solution provider said that the Fall '05 release of Arena PLM Fall '05 release gives manufacturers of all sizes an on-demand solution for collaboration with their community of suppliers; a management solution to meet new and future environmental and other regulatory standards; and the flexibility to customize their PLM solution based on their unique business needs through a point-and-click Web-based interface.

Because the solution is delivered "on demand" through the Internet, the latest features are available immediately to all users of Arena's PLM system.

Web 2.0-based Collaboration

With its Fall '05 release, Arena said that it was extending its solution's collaboration capabilities to address the earlier research and discovery phase of supplier engagement. Arena subscribers can now find, connect and engage in new supplier relationships via the Arena Supplier Marketplace, an online directory of product design firms, contract manufacturers, component suppliers and fabricators trained on Arena PLM.

Fall '05 also incorporates user interface improvements based on the latest Web standards including Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX). The new AJAX-based user interface is intended to provide users with a richer and easier-to-use experience, similar to what they are accustomed to with common desktop applications, which Arena said would help increase productivity and customer satisfaction.

Tools for Compliance Management

Arena also said that its solution provides an on-demand and scalable compliance management solution for meeting not only current regulations like the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) but also pending and future regulations. The solution will help users meet the July 1, 2006, RoHS deadline, as well as manage other regulatory, industry and safety standards such as WEEE, FDA, UL and FCC, Arena said.

"'Design for compliance' (DFC) has become as important to manufacturers as 'design for manufacturability' (DFM), and Arena On-Demand PLM makes these compliance tools instantly available to its users," the solution provider said.

The solution provides capabilities to allow manufacturers to define, apply, track and report on any regulatory, safety or compliance initiative; to pro-actively address pending and future compliance initiatives to ensure responsible manufacturing; to gain early visibility into non-compliant products and make better business decisions regarding product inventory and supplier relationships; and to leverage an on-demand service to simplify collaboration with their extended supply chain and achieve compliance more quickly and cost effectively, Arena said.

"Arena understands that in today's global economy, compliance is achieved not in isolation but through a collaborative effort between a manufacturer and their supply chain," said Michael Topolovac, CEO of Arena. "By enabling simplified collaboration and shared responsibility for product manufacturing across the entire value chain, Arena On-Demand PLM enables companies to deliver products more cost effectively, more responsibly and in a more timely fashion without sacrificing innovation."

Point-and-click Customization

Elsewhere, Fall '05 introduces the capability to customize the PLM solution through a point-and-click interface that allows companies to tailor the solution to best match their unique product data and business processes without having to pay high customization costs or write code.

Companies now can customize their data model within Arena PLM to define and classify the unique nature of their products, down to the component level. Using a point-and-click interface, users can tailor the unique attributes of their product and its components, whether it's a network router or a cardiac monitoring device, Arena said.

In addition, users can model unique business processes tailored to their company's best practices, such as product enhancement requests, new part number creation or even cost reduction improvements. And companies can dynamically organize and present information, such as bills of materials (BOMs) and item specifications, in customized views and forms.

Enterprise Edition

Also this week, Arena introduced an Enterprise Edition of its PLM solution, a new product offering intended to extend the benefits of on-demand PLM to manufacturing companies that require a flexible solution for their increasingly complex and unique business requirements.

Enterprise Edition includes features for advanced customization to model customers' unique business requirements; a compliance management solution to address current, pending and future regulatory mandates; advanced reporting features for product performance visibility; and integration into leading enterprise application such as CAD, EDA and ERP.

Enterprise Edition joins the Workgroup and Professional editions of Arena's offering.

AITS Taps PLM to Go Global

Arena also announced that Air International Thermal Systems (AITS), a global tier-one supplier of automotive heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and power train cooling (PTC) systems, has chosen Enterprise Edition to support its global facilities in the United States, Australia and China. AITS will be looking to the solution to help improve collaboration with more than 800 global suppliers and bring four geographically dispersed operations together to work as one unified global company.

"As a provider of a highly commoditized product, we needed a PLM solution that enabled us to have greater control over the quality and price of our product development while allowing us to get products to market faster," said Michael Foreshew, general manager of information technology services for Air International Thermal Systems. "When evaluating providers, it was immediately clear that Arena PLM was the best solution to help us meet our goals."

Foreshew added that his company has been an Arena PLM customer since 2002. "And now as we expand our operations globally, Arena's Enterprise Edition provides us with the customization capabilities and enhanced functionality required to handle the complexities of our business and 800-plus supplier relationships, while still allowing us to benefit from faster time to market and more cost effective production that only an on-demand service can provide," he said.

On-demand Cornerstone

AITS uses Arena PLM Enterprise Edition with 400 suppliers and expects to expand it to more than 800 suppliers across several geographically dispersed locations as the centralized repository for product data and program management information. Through this centralized repository AITS provides its customers with real-time visibility into product designs.

AITS also uses Arena PLM to collaborate with its extended global supply chain on business processes related to all product engineering and purchasing negotiations. With the adoption of Fall '05 Enterprise Edition, AITS will now have the ability to customize its PLM application to meet its unique global business processes and more easily find, engage and collaborate with its extended supply chain, Arena said.

"Our success with Arena's On-Demand PLM solution over the last three years validates our belief that on-demand software is the best model upon which to build our IT strategy around," said Foreshew. "Moving forward, we have dedicated 70 percent of our IT budget to on-demand applications and services. With our upgrade to Enterprise Edition, we're affirming Arena's PLM solution as the cornerstone of our IT strategy."

"AITS is a clear example of an innovative manufacturer who recognizes the power of on-demand PLM to transform their business," said Topolovac. "Their adoption of Arena PLM Enterprise Edition is an important validation that larger enterprises are successfully adopting on-demand solutions for even the most sophisticated and complex business processes."

Additional Articles of Interest

— 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.

— All that glitters may not be gold when it comes to outsourcing manufacturing productions to China. First, weigh the costs and learn the facts with this helpful guide. Read "China or Bust: Recognizing the True Costs of Outsourcing" on

— SAS audits can help ensure that your supply base doesn't trip up your Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Read about SAS audits in "Supplier Compliance: The Responsibility Lies with You," the Final Thoughts column the October/November 2005 issue of Supply and Demand Chain Executive.