During my whirlwind Dallas tour, I met with UGS the day before Siemens publicly announced the acquisition, which took the media world by storm. (See Jason’s UGS and Siemens post, for example.) Not wanting my post to get lost in the shuffle, or confused with yet another analysis of what the takeover means for UGS, I decided to wait a while before moving forward with a post.
My goal was to understand how UGS, who I’d primarily associated with Product Lifecycle Management, was going to take the sourcing and spend management world by storm … which I assumed to be their intent once they signed on as a Spend Matters sponsor.
UGS believes that sourcing, or at least sourcing of direct goods, is really an extension of PLM and that an integrated collaborative environment where everyone has access to the same information, and the same world view, is the ultimate key to sourcing success. This is why they acquired eBreviate, a former player in the e-Sourcing space known for their e-RFX and e-Auction capabilities. And this is why they are working hard to integrate all of the sourcing tools that they acquired from eBrieviate into their TeamCenter for SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) solution. (The basic e-RFX and Auction tools have already been integrated.)
In their solution, a part specification sits in their TeamCenter solution. It might be designed in the TeamCenter solution, or in one of the design tools that UGS provides (which integrated with TeamCenter). When it’s time to source materials, the sourcing professionals can log into their TeamCenter application which integrates with the design team’s TeamCenter application and allows the sourcing professional, in one window, to access the specifications and demands. From here, they can run reports, access templates to build an eRFX, access other e-Sourcing tools, and run analysis on current and historical data. They can then publish the e-RFX and receive responses through the tool for analysis. Once they receive responses, cost information can be fed back into the system and the design team can choose to re-design the part, or change the specifications. Furthermore, once an award has been made, the system can be used to collaborate with the suppliers to identify cost-saving design improvements.
Considering that product cost management is a difficult process (just read Eric Hill’s guest posts over on Spend Matters: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII) that involves systems engineering, requirements, procurement, design, bill of materials, processing costs, service and warranty costs, etc. etc. etc., having one system that everyone in the organization involved with the life-cycle of a part can use to get a common viewpoint could prove to be quite invaluable.
Now I have to admit I do not know how useful or viable their solution is outside of the manufacturing and engineering sectors, but given the size of that marketplace, the dearth of advanced sourcing solutions for the space, the fact that almost every advanced sourcing solution is different (but then again, almost every approach is focussed on a different problem), they definitely have a large potential market in this space alone, and for now, I’m sure that’s more than enough.
So grab your board and keep an eye on the water. I’m sure they’ll be making waves before the year is over. And for those of you in a manufacturing design company, they might just be the waves you want to surf.