Editor's Window

30 Sep, 2005 By: Sara Ferris Cadalyst

Full speed ahead: UGS sets sights on lucrative midrange PLM market.

Late last month at its Solid Edge User Summit, UGS unveiled what it calls "an aggressive and industry-changing strategy" to deliver enterprise-level PLM (product lifecycle management) technology to midmarket manufacturers. The new strategy features two key elements:

  • 1. The UGS Velocity Series is a software portfolio that comprises Solid Edge for CAD, Femap for CAE and a streamlined version of Teamcenter, called Teamcenter Express, for product data management. It comes with preconfigured best practices templates to facilitate implementation and can easily scale up to UGS' high-end products, NX and Teamcenter.
  • 2. A new global channel program will focus on deploying enterprise PLM systems to midsized manufacturers. Partners will sell the entire line of UGS products, but won't be limited to those—they can also sell products from other CAD vendors.
 Sara Ferris
Sara Ferris

According to UGS, midsized manufacturers face many of the same issues as larger organizations: global sourcing, product customization, accurate and timely quotations, program management, integrated design and manufacturing and regulatory requirements. Managing an ever-growing amount of product data is also a pressing concern to midsize firms with limited resources.

UGS is not alone in courting the midsized manufacturer. AMR Research estimates that spending on CAD/PLM applications by companies with between $30 million and $999 million in annual revenue is growing by 12% annually, compared with the overall market average of 9%. This activity has caught the attention of PLM vendors, and virtually all offer some product tailored for small- to midsized companies with the emphasis on ease of implementation and use.

Where UGS does break ground is in its scalability upward from its midrange modeling application, Solid Edge, to its high-end offering, NX. This scalability will require close integration between those two products and their respective file formats. UGS competitor Dassault Systèmes takes the opposite tack, permitting virtually no crossover between its midrange SolidWorks program and high-end CATIA products. PTC gets around the issue by developing a single CAD product that scales up in functionality with Pro/ENGINEER.

The danger in making it easy to scale up is that it also becomes easier to scale down. Though UGS' expectation is certainly that companies will eventually migrate up to the high-end product line, there may be those who find that the midrange products can take the place of some or all of their high-end seats.

Credit UGS with recognizing that most manufacturers today don't have the luxury of standardizing on one file format (see the August Editor's Window, Teamcenter Express, like Teamcenter, is expected to support a number of CAD formats, including CATIA V4 and V5, Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, AutoCAD and Inventor. UGS' decision not to demand exclusivity from its channel partners may mean that customers can look to one reseller to suppy and service all their CAD seats.

Midrange manufacturers would be wise to take advantage of all the attention directed their way and look into PLM. With a variety of applications and approaches to pick from, you're likely to find something that's a good fit for your business.

Sara Ferris

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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