Free Solution Seen Helping Drive Mid-market PLM Adoption

Arena aims to "democratize" product lifecycle management by offering access to Web-based solution without charge

Arena aims to "democratize" product lifecycle management by offering access to Web-based solution without charge

Menlo Park, CA — June 27, 2005 — On-demand product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Arena Solutions is touting the success of its PLM Workgroup Edition solution, saying that more than more than 400 manufacturers have signed-on to use the free offering since its launch four months ago.

Arena, which targets mid-market companies, said that its PLM Workgroup Edition is facilitating the democratization of PLM to manufacturers of any size and speeding overall adoption of PLM by allowing smaller companies hands-on experience with the instantaneous deployment and ease of use of on-demand PLM.

"Arena Solutions' software as a service (SaaS) delivery model removes all barriers to adoption associated with traditional enterprise software, [with] no software installations or downloads, no maintenance, no costly deployments and no expensive upfront cash outlays," the company said in a statement last week.

No Software Required

The provider's PLM solution enables manufacturing companies to share, in real time, a single version of the product record, facilitating design and engineering collaboration in industries such as high-tech electronics, medical devices and consumer products. The solution is Web-based, requiring no software installation.

As Arena sees its, midsize manufacturers — a primary growth engine for the U.S. economy — had previously been precluded from adopting PLM "because traditional enterprise applications are too expensive, difficult to use and cumbersome to deploy." IDC Research has predicted that the "on-demand" model will be a significant driver in PLM market growth, helping to push this segment to above $10 billion in 2006.

According to data from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), midsize manufacturers comprise about 95 percent of all U.S. manufacturing firms, employ about half of all manufacturing employees in the country and account for more than $1 trillion in yearly revenue. In addition, the Federal Reserve said in a recent report that manufacturers of this size "are an integral part of the economy. They account for about half of private-sector output, employ more than half of private-sector workers and provide about three-fourths of net new jobs each year."

Upgrade Path

These companies help drive the economy through product innovation and, Arena believes, are most in need of PLM solutions to help fuel their exponential growth and competitiveness against established firms. Arena said that its PLM Workgroup Edition offering enables these companies to increase operational efficiency as well as streamline intra- and inter-company communication between designers, engineers, operations and the extended supply chain.

The manufacturers that have adopted Arena's PLM Workgroup Edition represent a diversity of companies, including a foreign-based bicycle manufacturer, a cardiac device manufacturer and a developer of homeland security products for cargo containers, according to the solution provider. Many of these companies are upgrading from the free, entry-level version to full deployment of Arena PLM Professional Edition, the company's full-blown PLM offering for larger companies and development teams.

Companies electing to upgrade from Workgroup Edition to PLM Professional require no additional deployment or software installation and no data migration, according to Arena.

"Arena Solutions has gained considerable traction in the marketplace by offering our Workgroup Edition for free trial to manufacturers that were previously unaware that a PLM product even exists for them," said Michael Topolovac, CEO of Arena Solutions. "By providing product lifecycle management software as an on-demand service, we lower the cost of ownership and make PLM available to an underserved market of midsize manufacturers."

Additional Articles of Interest

— For more information on solutions for mid-market enterprises, see "Stuck in the Middle" in the April/May 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

— When ex-Chrysler chief Thomas T. Stallkamp considers cures for what ails American manufacturing, he chooses not to look inside the four walls of the corporation but to the extended enterprise and the relationships that bind a company to its supply chain partners. Read about Stallkamp's take on the collaboration imperative in "No Company Is an Island," the Executive Memo column in the April/May 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.