PLM and MES? Dassault Systemes says Yes! (acquires Intercim)
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I had the chance to talk with … Dassault Systemes about their acquisition of MES provider Intercim. The acquisition of Intercim is a strategic move, and represents Dassault’s confirmation of the importance of linking engineering intent and manufacturing process planning to manufacturing operations (and vice versa).

What do they Do?

Dassault Systemes is one of the premier providers of PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solutions. Dassault has a very broad suite ranging from CAD (Catia and Solidworks) and simulation (Simulia) all the way through technical communications (3DVia) and enterprise systems (Enovia PLM). In the past year or so they have also added search (Exalead) and social computing (SwYm). Dassault Systemes has been redefining the boundaries of PLM and pursuing a strategy to bring “lifelike experience” to digital representations of the world. For more of my thoughts on DS, please see Reflections on Dassault Systemes Business, Strategy, and Progress at DSCC. Perhaps one of the most important assets pertaining to this announcement is DS’ digital manufacturing solution (Delmia) for manufacturing process planning.

Intercim is an MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) software company with emphasis on complex and highly regulated manufacturing companies. Intercim helps companies execute the plans from engineering in the plant. They also focus on tracking what they call “emergent processes” when execution deviates from the plan.  The goal is to manage non-conformance and exceptions in in the same platform as normal operations. They also handle plant operations such as scheduling, task management, and shop floor reporting. One of the differentiators that Intercim claims is “operations intelligence” which enables their customers to analyze manufacturing results to identify areas of concern or opportunities for improvement. For example,  a manufacturer may identify an operation that is running significantly differently than the digital process definition it is based on.

What do they Offer?

DS plans to offer a deeply integrated PLM-MES system. They describe an environment of “digital continuity” that delivers digitizing work instructions to the plant floor, but goes beyond to close the loop to provide feedback to Engineering on defects and other issues. Intercim will become a part of the Delmia brand within DS, giving DS an integrated digital manufacturing – MES solution.

The integration of PLM and MES has the potential to provide significant business value, as described in The Roles of ERP and PLM in Manufacturing – now with MES!  The post links to a report on PLM and MES called Tech-Clarity Insight: Integrating PLM and MES – Realizing the Digital Factory, which addresses:

  • Integrating the product and production lifecycle
  • Automating the integrated product and production lifecycle
  • Closing the Loop between designs and products

 

Who do they Work with?

To be clear, this is not a new relationship. Dassault and Intercim have been working together for some time as partners. They have a number of joint customers already, and will continue to penetrate the highly regulated, complex manufacturing industries such as aerospace.

So that’s what I hear from DS and Intercim, I hope you found it useful. What do you think? What else should I have asked them?

Comments

  1. I responded to a comment on LinkedIn and thought I would add my response as a footnote here. The comment was that this would help diversify the client base into other industries such as pharma.

    My response:
    “David, I agree. It will be interesting to watch what DS does for other industries. MES solutions are still very industry-specific. DS has the opportunity to grow Intercim into new industries. It could be other areas in life sciences as you suggest. For a lot of process / CPG the solutions are very different because of process versus discrete manufacturing needs. I asked about other discrete industries such as automotive that they could potentially leverage Intercim as a base to develop from, and they mentioned they will be continuing their partnership with Apriso there. It will be interesting to see if this is purely an aerospace move, if it makes inroads into tangential industries, or becomes a platform for all of the DS industries (less likely in my opinion).”

  2. I responded to a comment on LinkedIn and thought I would add my response as a footnote here. The comment was that this would help diversify the client base into other industries such as pharma.nnMy response:n”David, I agree. It will be interesting to watch what DS does for other industries. MES solutions are still very industry-specific. DS has the opportunity to grow Intercim into new industries. It could be other areas in life sciences as you suggest. For a lot of process / CPG the solutions are very different because of process versus discrete manufacturing needs. I asked about other discrete industries such as automotive that they could potentially leverage Intercim as a base to develop from, and they mentioned they will be continuing their partnership with Apriso there. It will be interesting to see if this is purely an aerospace move, if it makes inroads into tangential industries, or becomes a platform for all of the DS industries (less likely in my opinion).”

  3. Satish Jay says:

    Are companies expected to purchase Delmia in order to use their MES system?

    • Satish,
      Although Intercim will be a part of the Delmia brand, I expect it to remain a standalone product. I have not heard anything from DS that would suggest otherwise. I do expect there will be additional value-add over time by using both because they will harmonize data models and make it easier to publish manufacturing plans and work instructions to Intercim. My hope is that they will also create a feedback loop from Intercim to Delmia and enable analytics to compare actual to planned plant execution. I have less information on that, though, and expect in the near term that:
      a) They will remain separate products that can be implemented standalone
      b) Will be integrated to allow easy publication of work instructions from Delmia to Intercim
      Thanks for your question,
      Jim

  4. Satish Jay says:

    Are companies expected to purchase Delmia in order to use their MES system?

    • Satish,nAlthough Intercim will be a part of the Delmia brand, I expect it to remain a standalone product. I have not heard anything from DS that would suggest otherwise. I do expect there will be additional value-add over time by using both because they will harmonize data models and make it easier to publish manufacturing plans and work instructions to Intercim. My hope is that they will also create a feedback loop from Intercim to Delmia and enable analytics to compare actual to planned plant execution. I have less information on that, though, and expect in the near term that:na) They will remain separate products that can be implemented standalonenb) Will be integrated to allow easy publication of work instructions from Delmia to IntercimnThanks for your question,nJim

  5. Patruni Prabhu says:

    How would this acquisition( later the intergration between PLM & MES) get positioned to DS customers who are already on some other MES solution.

    • I expect Dassault to have a 3-part strategy:

      - Maintain the ability to integrate with all MES systems, but the work to integrate will be a services project by the customer (as it would be today)

      - Have some specified partnerships with other MES vendors (particularly for industries Intercim doesn’t compete in) that may have some pre-built or 3rd party integration

      - Integrate Intercim more closely with Delmia and Enovia at the data level and develop “off the shelf” integration

      It’s possible that the integration with Delmia will create services / APIs that will be helpful in the other two areas as well, although I haven’t talked to DS about that. That has been the case in some similar integration scenarios I have seen. In short, I don’t see DS doing anything to make integration harder, it may get easier, but they will certainly want to make it more attractive to use Intercim due to tighter integration (which also includes harmonizing processes and data models, which is often a lot harder than getting bits and bytes to flow back and forth between systems).

      I hope that helps,
      Jim

  6. Patruni Prabhu says:

    How would this acquisition( later the intergration between PLM & MES) get positioned to DS customers who are already on some other MES solution.

    • I expect Dassault to have a 3-part strategy:nn- Maintain the ability to integrate with all MES systems, but the work to integrate will be a services project by the customer (as it would be today)nn- Have some specified partnerships with other MES vendors (particularly for industries Intercim doesn’t compete in) that may have some pre-built or 3rd party integrationnn- Integrate Intercim more closely with Delmia and Enovia at the data level and develop “off the shelf” integrationnnIt’s possible that the integration with Delmia will create services / APIs that will be helpful in the other two areas as well, although I haven’t talked to DS about that. That has been the case in some similar integration scenarios I have seen. In short, I don’t see DS doing anything to make integration harder, it may get easier, but they will certainly want to make it more attractive to use Intercim due to tighter integration (which also includes harmonizing processes and data models, which is often a lot harder than getting bits and bytes to flow back and forth between systems).nnI hope that helps,nJim

  7. Shreeram says:

    1. What is the timeframe that they plan to Integrate PLM & MES systems?
    2. Are there any live examples of PLM-MES integration and resultant data of Benefits that have been achieved?

    • Shreeram,
      These are the right questions to ask, I think.

      1 – To my knowledge, they have not announced any formal timeline for integrating the systems. There are customers that have integrated the solutions, but I don’t know if the integration is available “off the shelf” or is part of a service offering (where they have some of the work done, but not to the level that it is a formally released and supported product).

      2 – For your second question, I have some examples of MES-PLM integration in my report:
      http://www.tech-clarity.com/overviews/mes_plm_erp.htm.
      Note that these are not Dassault-Intercim examples, but they can provide some insight into how companies use both systems together. I hope that helps.

      Jim

  8. Shreeram says:

    1. What is the timeframe that they plan to Integrate PLM & MES systems?n2. Are there any live examples of PLM-MES integration and resultant data of Benefits that have been achieved?

    • Shreeram,nThese are the right questions to ask, I think.nn1 – To my knowledge, they have not announced any formal timeline for integrating the systems. There are customers that have integrated the solutions, but I don’t know if the integration is available “off the shelf” or is part of a service offering (where they have some of the work done, but not to the level that it is a formally released and supported product).nn2 – For your second question, I have some examples of MES-PLM integration in my report: nhttp://www.tech-clarity.com/overviews/mes_plm_erp.htm. nNote that these are not Dassault-Intercim examples, but they can provide some insight into how companies use both systems together. I hope that helps. nnJim

    • Shreeram,nThese are the right questions to ask, I think.nn1 – To my knowledge, they have not announced any formal timeline for integrating the systems. There are customers that have integrated the solutions, but I don’t know if the integration is available “off the shelf” or is part of a service offering (where they have some of the work done, but not to the level that it is a formally released and supported product).nn2 – For your second question, I have some examples of MES-PLM integration in my report: nhttp://www.tech-clarity.com/overviews/mes_plm_erp.htm. nNote that these are not Dassault-Intercim examples, but they can provide some insight into how companies use both systems together. I hope that helps. nnJim

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