Supply Chain Matters recently had the opportunity to meet with executives of Arena Solutions, an innovative cloud-based software provider in the area of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).  Arena has been in the mid-market PLM arena for nearly ten years, and its founders, Craig Livingston and Eric Larkin came with deep roots in the PLM software technology, having worked at larger providers.

What was clearly evident from our briefing is that this PLM software provider understands the important business process connections among product management and manufacturing. The company has built a product suite to help mid-market companies to exploit these integration points in supporting critical process needs such as new product introduction (NPI), engineering change releases, or quality management.  

The Arena PLM application suite consists of nine applications that include, among others, Bill of Material (BOM) management, Supply Chain Collaboration and Project Management control. A newer application Arena Exchange, which was released last fall, allows product manufacturing OEM’s to exchange design and product management information with key suppliers and trading partners. The software can support product information files generated by major ERP systems such as Oracle, SAP, or other best-of-breed PLM providers. The functionality is neat in that it allows to OEM to invite any number of suppliers, including contract manufacturers, to exchange product information directly with manufacturing control teams. Suppliers and contract manufacturers’ in-turn, gain the benefit of access to multiple OEM PLM collaboration spaces. The OEM pays the up-front access license and designated partners then get the opportunity to interact in a designated collaboration space, all within a cloud-based platform. Information sharing constructs are tiered under a concept which was described as circles of friendship, controlling the level or detail of information that will be shared with specific suppliers.

The software is architected to operate in a multi-tenant, software-as-service platform with what we consider, very attractive and affordable pricing, considering other market alternatives for equivalent functionality.

Arena’s customer base resides in high-tech, consumer electronics, life sciences, consumer products and transportation supply chains.

Every so often, we come across software providers we believe show the promise to be a disruptor to current technology segments.  Arena Solutions is one such provider, and that is why we tweeted, after our briefing, this was one provider to watch in the coming months.

Bob Ferrari