Finding the right fit from a range of PLM systems
A collection of articles that takes you from defining technology needs to purchasing options
Arena PLM focuses on giving designers, engineers, suppliers and manufacturers a shared, up-to-date, single product data repository that tracks each product through its entire lifecycle. All stakeholders can communicate about components, changes, issues and quality matters to resolve them before they begin to result in delays, cost overrides and increased time to market. The single and universal data repository eliminates the possibility of different product functions relying on diverse information that could be in conflict with each other. Arena PLM is delivered as a cloud offering. There are no operating system requirements; all that is required is a standard Web browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome, among others. The product’s core is focused on product management collaboration that eliminates the communications breakdowns that can occur when products are being conceptualized, designed and built.
Arena’s primary module in its product lifecycle management (PLM) suite is Arena BOMcontrol, which is a centralized product data management mechanism that effects and manages changes to product data so it can provide the same product information to design, engineering and manufacturing at any given point in time in the production process. Because product data is centralized in a data repository, Arena customers, partners and suppliers can also use BOMControl to access this uniform information in the course of supply chain execution. The BOMControl data repository includes product design files; a bill of materials (BoM); and data on component items that comprise products, costs, vendor information, engineering change orders (ECOs), and compliance status.
Medical equipment validation has become a strong product differentiator for Arena. The medical device industry is a major user of Arena PLM because the company specializes in offering "validation services" that automate many of the processes that medical equipment manufacturers must bring together in their engineering, manufacturing, regulatory compliance and quality assurance to assure that products are validated for market.
In addition to BOMControl, Arena also provides add-on PLM tools that readily integrate with the core software. These add-on modules are:
- Arena Analytics: A cloud-based business intelligence feature.
- Arena Quality: A cloud-based quality module that’s embedded with the product record and simplifies regulatory compliance, while delivering interdisciplinary visibility, supplier collaboration and long-term tracking of quality resolutions to product team members.
- Arena Scribe: A means of aggregating a product’s complete history that also allows multiuser social collaboration and knowledge sharing in a complete product context.
- Arena Exchange: A feature that enables frequent, ad hoc collaborations throughout the extended product supply chain.
- Arena Demand: A module that allows enterprises to reduce purchased component costs by aggregating the usage of all individual components across multiple products to enable volume purchase discounts.
- Arena Projects: A high-level project management facility that is linked to the product record at all schedule levels, enabling end-to-end collaboration by all team members around product items, changes, files and tasks.
Minimally, Arena clients subscribe to BOMcontrol. They can add additional modules according to their needs.
Arena typically issues a major system release every three months, with smaller releases as often as every week. In its fall 2015 (R64) release the company introduced Arena Analytics, which enables companies to gain insights into how their product business processes are performing and to create dashboards for product development lifecycle time, quality trends, project performance and supply chain health that are tied to key performance indicators.
The R64 release saw significant enhancements and upgrades to:
- Arena Quality, where new upgrades improved visibility, cross-functional team collaboration and long-term tracking of quality resolutions with ECOs made directly into the product record so that everyone, from OEM team members to the extended supply chain, can participate in the quality process.
- BOMControl, which now allows customers to define a “sourcing split” between different suppliers for the same item so as to spread and mitigate risk, thereby preventing production delays or stoppages.
Arena PLM has customers in 79 countries. They represent virtually every industry vertical. The Arena PLM customer “sweet spot” is products that involve complex electronic components -- often embedded in a high mix, high rate-of-change environment -- where quality, cost and collapsing time to market are important. Key client segments are technology, consumer electronics and medical device companies. Arena PLM is delivered as a multi-tenant cloud offering that can be scaled at an entry point to the needs of startups, and expanded up to the requirements of multibillion-dollar enterprises.
Arena sells direct in the United States, Canada and many overseas locales. It also sells through partners in other countries. The PLM tools are licensed on a per seat basis via an annual subscription. Clients have the flexibility to scale the number of user seats up or down to reflect present usage needs, without having to pay for more than needed.
Implementation services are prepackaged with industry-specific configuration templates and a set of services and best practices to ensure customers begin getting value from Arena PLM quickly. Product support is available to clients at no additional cost. Arena offers a number of training options that can be tailored to customer requirements, from regularly scheduled in-person and on-premises training classes, to on-demand web courses.
Organizations can obtain a free trial of the product by contacting an Arena sales person.
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