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PLM market rebounds in first half of 2010

While the global economic downturn in 2009 impacted revenues for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) suppliers, revenues for the first two quarters of 2010 reflect a strong rebound in new licenses and overall PLM business.

Demand for increased efficiency and productivity; a continuing need for collaboration across a global manufacturing lifecycle; PLM solutions penetrating new markets such as power & energy, architecture & construction, shipbuilding, and consumer goods; the rapidly growing need for product re-invention and innovation; the emergence of mechatronics and product complexity; the continued growth of manufacturing in emerging economies; and expanding adoption of a more holistic end-to-end PLM solution set are all contributing to growth in the worldwide PLM market, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

The primary influence on the global PLM market for this reporting period (base year 2009) has clearly been the global economy and the direct effect of downturns in certain industrial verticals such as automotive and other discrete manufacturing sectors. PLM solution providers have been most directly impacted by reductions in new software licenses and engineering seats.

Business in this sector has experienced a general reduction in the range of around 8-10 per cent. For most of the PLM providers, this downturn in business has been offset by services business in the areas of maintenance, implementation, and consulting, with reoccurring maintenance providing the bulk of sustaining revenue.

According to Dick Slansky, the principal author of ARC’s Product Lifecycle Management Worldwide Outlook study, “Clearly, the market leaders in PLM, as well as many of the smaller suppliers, have responded to the broadening adop-tion of PLM technologies into new markets with strategies and solutions to penetrate these industrial vertical markets.

PLM suppliers have all developed industry specific market strategies that are focusing well beyond their historic, discrete industry strengths and into the process and hybrid industries. Leveraging advanced 3D modeling and simulation technologies, these PLM suppliers continue to penetrate industries such as shipbuilding, energy & power, oil & gas, life sciences, construction & architecture, retail, and even the fashion industry.“

The changing demographics of both industrialized nations and the emerg-ing economic regions will drive significant portions of the market for technology and the consumer demands for certain sectors of national, regional, and global populations. This is creating a critical demand for knowledge capture across all domains of the product lifecycle including design, manufacturing processes, and general domain expertise. Moreover, knowledge reuse will be essential as companies seek to maintain and im-prove their products and services, as well as establish ideation and innovation as a component of their end-to-end product development process.

A number of interesting trends have emerged that are supported by PLM technologies. Design communities are emerging that will enable both pro-fessional and non-professional designers to engage and exchange concepts and designs. These communities would connect designers together to com-bine creativity, innovation, and engineering. This could also involve consumers providing input on product concepts, a “voice of the people” that connects designers and consumers in a very preliminary concept phase.

PLM solutions are being adopted in business sectors such as CPG, con-sumer goods, and retail. 3D modeling has reached states where entire virtual environments can be created that represent not only products, but the stores and retail outlets. Retailers will reach the consumer directly through a virtual world of products and environments where the consumer can experience the product in 3D and make instant purchase decisions.

The convergence of PLM and MES has been taking place for some time as manufacturers realise the benefits of linking their production operations execution data and completed records with PDM systems to validate their product design and manufacturing processes with the as-built data from their production systems. PLM providers are forging partnerships with, and in some cases making acquisitions of, MES software suppliers.

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