Platform Helps Mid-Market Connect Design and Manufacturing

Feb. 13, 2019
Launching 3DExperience.Works at its SolidWorks World conference, Dassault Systèmes brings the ERP and MES offerings from newly acquired IQMS into its cloud-based platform.

It’s been just over a month since it finalized its acquisition of IQMS, but already Dassault Systèmes has brought the manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio into the fold. With its release of 3DExperience.Works this week at SolidWorks World 2019, Dassault Systèmes combines its design and simulation expertise with IQMS’s ERP capabilities in a single digital environment.

“We need a new way of thinking,” said Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO of SolidWorks for Dassault Systèmes, pointing to what he calls the Industrial Renaissance and the need for the equivalent of what the printing press was to the original Renaissance.

Introducing the 3DExperience.Works concept to the largely 3D design and engineering audience, Bassi talked about bringing planning, design, simulation and manufacturing together through the platform. “All of this is a thread that needs continuity,” he said.

Also of significance is the positioning of the cloud-based 3DExperience platform for mid-market manufacturers—a realm where IQMS is firmly entrenched with its ERP and manufacturing execution system (MES) software. Dassault Systèmes is using the Works moniker to denote that mid-market space, also rebranding IQMS as DelmiaWorks. The mid-market space—which Dassault is now calling “mainstream”—is defined roughly as the companies falling within annual sales of $10 million to $250 million. This is in contrast to Dassault’s acquisition several years ago of Apriso and its MES portfolio, which is leveraged more for large manufacturing customers like Lockheed Martin or Saint-Gobain.

“Small and midsized firms worldwide need digital solutions to grow but have long been challenged to find ones that are right for their size. By introducing 3DExperience.Works, we bring the platform effect to them,” said Bernard Charlès, vice chairman and CEO of Dassault Systèmes. “We see the benefit the 3DExperience platform has quickly brought to designers using SolidWorks to expand their business. The 3DExperience.Works family now includes DelmiaWorks to serve mainstream manufacturers by providing a full digital thread for business operations.”

The ease of use and simplicity of 3DExperience.Works will allow small and midsized companies to harness the improved collaboration, manufacturing efficiency and business agility of the 3DExperience platform. Companies can accomplish their work using one cohesive digital innovation environment instead of using a complex series of point solutions that requires jumping between applications and interfaces. 3DExperience.Works connects data and streamlines processes from concept to delivery by providing dashboard templates, managed services, access to industry-focused communities and user groups, and applications specific to a variety of job roles.

The rationale behind Dassault’s acquisition of IQMS has been for its ERP component to complete the cycle of design to manufacturing and on through to the customer, said Gary Nemmers, president and CEO of IQMS.

There’s always been a need to better blend design with manufacturing, but the rate of change today and the compression of cycles make that even more important, said Steve Bieszczat, chief marketing officer for IQMS.

The goal is to be able to design, produce, ship, etc., all on a platform, Nemmers added. He showed two slides (see above) that illustrate the independent processes that exist today between design and manufacturing and the continuous business loop that Dassault envisions.

To fulfill that vision, Nemmers is a big proponent of the platform concept. “The platform is everything. We’re driving the behavior that’s already in place and being driven by every component in society,” he said, pointing to companies like Uber or Netflix. “So why not this great software company on a platform and engaging with manufacturers around world?”

Dassault’s goal with 3DExperience.Works is to make ERP—along with the design, simulation and engineering parts of the portfolio—simple, affordable and deployable in less than two months, Charlès added.

Asked in a press briefing whether Dassault Systèmes has the experience needed to compete in a crowded ERP space, Charlès argued that the mid-market is actually underserved at this point. “Most of the current ERP solutions are local, niche solutions,” he said. “I don’t think it’s true that small and midsize companies are well equipped with ERP. They’re not. They use mostly Excel spreadsheets. Most of the small and midsize companies are not satisfied with what they have.”

Nemmers agreed, pointing to a market study that IQMS conducted before the acquisition showing that the market is very fragmented for these small, Excel-driven companies. “There’s very little MES or manufacturing capabilities,” he said. “In those markets, we can compete. We know who the competition is and we think it’s a wide open market for us.”

That IQMS study showed a $5 billion annual customer spend on mid-market ERP software, Nemmers said. That represents some 250,000 manufacturers, 55,000 of which are current SolidWorks customers running manufacturing operations, he added. To add to the story of the fit that IQMS seems to be for Dassault Systèmes, Nemmers pointed to the fact that about 60 percent of IQMS’s customer base overlaps with Dassault’s SolidWorks customers.

Dassault’s 3DExperience platform also makes sense for those IQMS customers, half of which are contract manufacturers, Nemmers said. “They want to be on that platform.”

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