Kevin Parker: Siemens/UGS PLM combination shows why the Global 100 is important

The July issue of Manufacturing Business Technology is devoted in its entirety to covering the 2007 Global 100 listing of leading information technology (IT) and software providers in manufacturing and supply chain. Why is it important to know what these companies are up to, and how these markets are changing? It's because the work they do, both individually and collectively, is important.

07/01/2007


The July issue of Manufacturing Business Technology is devoted in its entirety to covering the 2007 Global 100 listing of leading information technology (IT) and software providers in manufacturing and supply chain.

Why is it important to know what these companies are up to, and how these markets are changing?

It's because the work they do, both individually and collectively, is important.

A United Nations Population Fund report released in June of this year says that by 2008 more than half the world's population, 3.3 billion people, will for the first time live in towns and cities, and the number is expected to swell to a mind-boggling five billion by 2030.

Continuing technology advances will be central to any attempt to reach levels of industrial production sufficient to supply growing third-world populations with affordable basic goods. To not make the attempt is an open invitation to violence, war, and pestilence.

We're looking then to a future in which global manufacturing systems will be of unimaginable complexity. Enterprise, product, customer, and plant systems will be the collaborative, integrated means for dealing with this complexity.

Exactly how needed rigor in supply chain integration across disparate legal entities will be achieved, or how remaining collaboration barriers within manufacturing enterprises will be overcome, may still be unclear.

But the competition around these issues within manufacturing enterprise IT markets is being as fiercely fought as are the battles of MySpace versus Facebook and Microsoft versus Google. This is the stage upon which decisions will be made and solutions worked out. And there is real money involved.

An exemplary example is afforded by two companies discussed elsewhere in the issue: $115-billion automation giant Siemens and the vendor of product design technology it recently spent $3.5 billion to acquire: UGS PLM Software.

As was made clear at the recent UGS analyst and media event held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, Siemens acquired UGS because it believes closer integration—in fact a kind of merging—between design engineering and plant operations will deliver great value to manufacturers—immediately, but most especially in coming years.

But in making the attempt, Siemens brings itself into closer competition with major enterprise system vendors Oracle and SAP, which both seem to believe product lifecycle management (PLM) should be integral to ERP.

It also ups the ante in Siemens' more traditional competition with other automation vendors—including Rockwell Automation, Wonderware, and Invensys—to define the software infrastructure for the plant-floor execution space.

It's the goods makers that will ultimately decide, but the management concepts, technology infrastructures, user cases examples, and product technologies put forth by the Global 100 vendors go a long way in defining the issues involved.

Look for continuing detailed coverage of Siemens' evolution, and that of all the Global 100, in this and upcoming issues of the magazine. It's a horse race, but a horse race that matters.





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Salary and career survey: Benchmarks and advice; Designing controls; Remote data collection, historians; Control valve advances; Hannover Messe; Control Engineering International
System integration: Best practices and technologies to help; Virtualization virtues; Cyber security advice; Motor system efficiency, savings; Product exclusives; Road to Hannover
Collaborative robotics: How to improve safety, return on investment; Industrial Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0: World views; High-performance HMI, Information Integration: OPC and OMG
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
click me