PLM Gets Web-Enabled

Formation Systems, PLM Solutions software suites to cut costs.

Formation Systems Inc. and PLM Solutions are Web-enabling their respective product lifecycle management software suites. As a result, makers of formula-based goods, such as packaged food or plastics, will be able to automate the development and fabrication of their products not only in their companies but also with outside suppliers.

Formation Systems, of Southboro, Mass., in January will introduce an upgrade to its Optiva PLM software that provides Web interfaces to its collaboration, planning and manufacturing applications. In addition to the Web-based architecture, the upgrade of Optiva will have role-based user interfaces and sophisticated analytics delivered through the suites Report Server and Dynamic Forms Generator, officials said.

In advance of that, the company this week will release an upgrade of Optiva that will better automate compliance with regulatory restrictions and labeling rules through sophisticated version controls. The feature release will enable manufacturers to cut direct materials costs through enhanced tools for forecasting raw materials use across business units. It adds the capability to analyze and compare the physical and chemical characteristics of raw materials so a manufacturer can find less expensive substitutes for ingredients used in formulas.

"Its a classic example of automating processes," said Formation CEO Peter Shields.

Separately, officials at the newly formed PLM Solutions division of Electronic Data Systems Corp. said the company will continue to build out a product set that pulls together its PLM and Web delivery products but would not give a time frame for when that will be released.

EDS, of Plano, Texas, last week launched PLM Solutions, which combines the technologies of recently purchased Unigraphics Solutions Inc. and Structural Dynamics Research Corp. The pooled resources of Unigraphics and SDRC will create a new line of business with more than $1 billion in revenue, EDS officials said.

EDS PLM strategy is to deliver solution sets in four areas: product development, manufacturing planning, product data management and collaborative commerce support. The company will sell multiple products in each of the four areas that are largely organized around either Unigraphics or SDRC functionalities.