Taking on the Life Cycle

RiverOne, Eigner tie collaboration to product life cycle management apps.

Several software companies are refocusing their efforts to deliver product life cycle management applications. Online, business-to-business collaboration software provider Need2Buy Inc. and hosted supply chain software maker Efinity Inc. last week merged to form RiverOne Inc. The new company plans to develop PLM software that enables spontaneous communication throughout the electronics product life cycle.

Separately, Eigner+Partner AG changed its name to Eigner, hired a new senior management team (including CEO Frank Azzolino) and announced $17 million in new funding. In addition, the PLM software developer moved its headquarters to Waltham, Mass., from Munich, Germany.

The purpose of Eigners activity, according to Azzolino, is to move its software to the English-speaking PLM market. Eigner has about 800 customers, most of them from German- speaking countries.

RiverOnes combined software suite, named Interactive, enhances Need2Buys and Efinitys offerings by adding capabilities such as design review, sourcing, planning, forecasting, order life cycle management and inventory management. It also recognizes a companys internal part numbers and maps them to the corresponding part numbers that partners and suppliers use.

RiverOne, of West Lake Village, Calif., also provides real-time collaboration among trading partners in the distributed electronics industry, whereby supply chain partners can view business information across enterprises, according to officials.

Meanwhile, Eigner initially will market to U.S. manufacturers its suite of applications, called Axalant 2000, which is the successor to Eigners Cadaim 3.0.

The company will add two new modules to Axalant next month. The first will focus on requirement management traceability, according to Azzolino. The second module will incorporate maintenance, repair and overhaul management functionalities that allow customers to service the back end of their Eigner PLM installation.

CJ Yates, director of product support for Dallas-based Lockheed Martin Corp.s Missiles and Fire Control unit, thinks PLM is an essential tool for lowering the cost of manufacturing.

"In the competitive marketplace, you have to reduce the cost of operation," said Yates, who uses Eigner PLM software. "You have to be able to collaborate and share files with customers or suppliers, and without an electronic system, you cant do that at will. PLM provides the basis for [electronic] engineering design data."