Software tools speed up innovation

Innovation is the only way forward for UK engineering and one of the software majors declares its strong support for the process

UGS has given its strong support for IDEA 2006 on the grounds that innovation and invention is the only way forward for the UK engineering industries - and it intends to do its very best to assist the process.

Henry Seddon, VP EMEA Marketing for UGS declared: "The UK is at the forefront of invention and I do not see this changing. The moving of manufacturing to lower cost countries is not a new phenomenon. I can remember the empty cotton mills in my native Lancashire."

He argued that we have to work to leverage the costs and skills of other countries to make a business successful but that means we have to work in close collaboration with manufacturers to get the design right and the product to market as quickly as possible and be prepared to improve and change it as technology and the market changes.

"We have to do this better than our competitors," he said. "You cannot just throw a design over a wall."

Products can be good for years - like Coca Cola - or they can be like consumer electronic items, which generally remain very profitable only for a year, or even less. The trend is for less.

"The UK is at the forefront of invention and innovation and I do not see this changing," he said. "In future, new products are going to be even more important than they are today. I would argue that at the heart of innovation is Product Lifecycle Management and collaboration and working with customers and suppliers."

PLM has been considered as something for large companies but UGS sees it as something for their 'mid market' customers with 50 or fewer employees. Even if a company only has one or two engineers, they may not need software tools to collaborate with each other but they still need to manage their collaboration with customers and suppliers.

For these reasons, UGS strongly supports IDEA 2006 (Innovation and Design Excellence Awards).

"This is something I thought we should be doing on a global basis," said Seddon. "It's good that it is also supported by Cranfield, a leading technology-oriented university, showing the importance of universities to design and engineering.

"In future, you will see UGS doing even more to encourage innovation and focussing on the needs of companies engaged in innovation whether they are large or small."

To assist this process, since last September, the company has been working with Aberdeen Research to discover the best practices to follow in innovation and PLM. The results are available at (search using the words "best practice") as is the company's 'Innovation Driver's Test' at (works only in Explorer).


Sponsor Feature written by Tom Shelley

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