SAP Buys Manufacturing Software Provider Lighthammer

Lighthammer's software will enable SAP to offer a real-time transactional integration between its ERP software and plant floor systems.

SAP AG announced Wednesday the acquisition of Lighthammer Software Development Corp., an Exton, Pa.-based company that develops manufacturing intelligence and collaboration software.

The terms of the deal were undisclosed, but SAP officials said the acquisition is expected to be completed next month. Lighthammers employees are expected to remain in their Exton headquarters and operate under the aegis of SAP America and SAP Labs.

Lighthammers software enables users to have more real-time visibility into manufacturing exceptions and performance issues, with the end goal of helping manufacturers and their suppliers better respond to changes like an increase in demand.

The Lighthammer software will enable SAP to offer a real-time transactional integration between its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software and plant floor systems, officials said.

The manufacturing capabilities will also help SAP, of Walldorf, Germany, better compete with Oracle Corp. With the acquisition of PeopleSoft Inc.—and by default J.D. Edwards & Co. —last year, Oracle picked up some significant manufacturing expertise, particularly in the area of lean manufacturing, which JDE invested heavily in.

Lean manufacturing follows the precept that companies need to be able to support change while eliminating waste and reducing operational costs.

In addition to its own suite of supply chain software, in October 2003 PeopleSoft acquired demand flow capabilities from JCIT International, which enables users to improve agility along the supply chain and, ultimately, reduce inventory.

For SAP, Lighthammers software will bring deeper manufacturing intelligence through analytics and visualization tools.

The software is based on the ISA-95 standard for manufacturing interoperability, which will enable the two companies applications to exchange data that can then be accessed through SAPs manufacturing dashboards, officials said.

Lighthammers Collaborative Manufacturing Suite will be re-branded as an SAP composite application, or xApp, on SAPs NetWeaver integration platform.


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