Recently I had a chance to speak with both Dassault Systemes (DS) and Intercim about the acquisition of Intercim by DS. On the call were Patrick Michel, Vice President, Solutions and Marketing, DELMIA and Romain LaVault, Vice President Strategic Development, Intercim.
Intercim provides software to help customers in advanced and highly regulated industries with real-time Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and Predictive Analytics for Discovery, Design, Manufacturing, and Operations. Intercim enables the supply network to better define manufacturing processes, execute shop orders, manage non-conformance and ensure quality. One of the benefits is that real-time control and intelligence on Manufacturing Operations helps Intercim customers achieve their Lean Manufacturing goals quicker and accelerate time-to-market.
Their software, the Pertinence Suite, provides manufacturing execution modules, manufacturing intelligence modules, and is already well integrated with CATIA and Delmia.
In 2007, Intercim acquired Pertinence, a French company with technology for using real time production data to analyze potential quality issues. In 2009, Dassault Systèmes announced a minority position in Intercim LLC and in 2010 announced a global reseller agreement. The idea was to use the DELMIA – ENOVIA Manufacturing Hub or the DS V6 environment to deliver manufacturing process plans and work instructions to the shop floor via the Intercim Pertinence MES system.
Intercim is a US based company in Egan, MI, with French connections; revenue in the last fiscal year I estimate at between $7 – $10 million; DS is purchasing the company for 36.5 million USD. The company employs 70 people worldwide. Its customers include Boeing, BMW, Airbus, Ball Aerospace and Honeywell.
Details on the acquisition
Q. Why is DS making this acquisition?
A. To show our serious commitment in the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) space. DS expects to integrate Intercim into the Delmia framework, possible for the creation of a Delmia Shop Floor module.
Q. What is the value in “closing the loop” between manufacturing planning and execution?
A: Faster turn around time in case of a problem and it improves the ability to work on and deliver engineering or manufacturing initiated changes.
Q: Give me some idea of the size of Intercim.
A: We have outstanding about 100,000 software licenses focused on the integration of PLM and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). We are widely used in the US, particularly within the aerospace industry. Only 10% of our target market are equipped with an MES system from any vendor, thus offering a huge market potential.
Q. How is the software used for regulatory compliance?
A. I can give you several examples. We are used for NASA’s space shuttle for the cargo tracking and have replaced mountains of paperwork. Obviously, for aerospace, individual part serial number control is required; Intercim software accomplished that. In the pharmaceutical industry, the process is important. Such items as temperature, time stamps for dating, operator and machine usage are important and can be captured and fed back to the engineering department as well. In the case of creating flu vaccines data can be read real time to enhance rapid build up of the vaccine. Many data points can be read with no need to wait for later batch analysis results.
Q. What about any potential existing OEM contracts?
A. Our only OEM arrangement is with DS.
Q Tell me about the analytics aspect of Intercim.
A. Analytics allows access to as built data for the PLM system. Decisions can be made as to whether the as-built is the same as the as-designed. Further, we can analyze the reasons for generating scrap and even to understand the commonality of scrap.
Q. Does DS envision major changes in the Intercim management?
A. No, the people in Intercim are very important to our plans and we hope for a high retention rate.
This appears to be a natural extension of DS plans to extend Delmia throughout the enterprise. The two companies were already very close for the last several years and this fills a gap in shop floor control, as well as data analysis to predict potential quality problems. On the shop floor side, it brings DS closer to Siemens Tecnomatix offering, their archrival in aerospace and automotive companies. In shop floor analytics DS now has the edge.
I admit that I have been wrestling with the idea that shop floor control (SFC) is driven by a manufacturing production release system, namely material requirements planning (MRP) and ERP systems, which generate the manufacturing plans that SFC tracks. DS never likes not being in the driver’s seat. Could there be some exciting possibilities for this in the future? Hmmm. I doubt it, but one can never tell.