Is PLM Use Expected to Surge?

Nov. 25, 2013
Accenture expands its product lifecycle management practice with the acquisition of two PLM consulting and system integration companies in less than one month.

Since 1989, Accenture has maintained a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) practice. According to the company, since the inception of the practice, it has served more than 250 clients on the use of PLM across a range of industries. For Accenture, this is business as usual, considering the growth in PLM use as a supply chain management best practice for larger companies and a supply chain requirement for supplier companies looking to remain in the supply tiers of those larger companies.

In October of 2013, however, Accenture made some big moves on the PLM front—announcing acquisition moves with two PLM consulting and system integration companies in that one month. On October 1, Accenture announced that it had completed its acquisition of Stuttgart, Germany-based Prion Group — a consulting and systems integrator that specializes in Siemens PLM software. Then, on October 31, Accenture announced its plans to acquire PCO Innovation, a Montreal, Canada-based international consulting and system integration group specializing in PLM software.

Of the Prion acquisition, Accenture said that Prion Group’s workforce “specializes in PLM strategy and process consultancy, system implementation, data migration, application management and PLM as a managed service.” PCO Innovation’s business focuses on PLM platforms from Dassault Systèmes, PTC and Siemens.

When a company like Accenture makes back-to-back moves in a specific manufacturing technology space like PLM, it’s usually a safe bet that things are heating up in that sector or are expected to do so soon. With that in mind, I connected with Sergio Colella, managing director at Accenture, to get a clearer picture of Accenture’s plan in this area.

“Two drivers have caused the [PLM] sector to start gathering pace,” says Colella, “the impact of global operating models and the complexity of the latest generation of products.”

He adds that, though PLM was once viewed as being a “specialist area of engineering departments,” it is now “a mainstream practice among manufacturers because these technologies and associated processes can increase speed-to-market of new products, improve traceability of products, and support integration of customer feedback to continuously improve in-market products, maximizing returns and lifespan.”

As for Accenture’s plans for these two companies, Collella says, “The acquisitions will help further expand Accenture’s PLM business capabilities, creating the full range of services and solutions needed to drive large-scale PLM transformation programs.  The combined capabilities will create a market-leading global PLM offering for a range of manufacturing industries, including industrial equipment, automotive, electronics and high-tech, aerospace and defense, and consumer goods and services.”

Clearly, Accenture believes that manufacturers are increasingly viewing PLM as a strategic technology, rather than as a collective resource for accessing CAD/CAM/CAE and/or simulation. Bottom line: Accenture sees PLM becoming more important to mainstream manufacturing applications and they’re positioning themselves to play a big role in the adoption and use of the technology across industries.

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