Siemens broadens its digital manufacturing capabilities with Camstar, but also gets manufacturing execution systems (MES) offerings in all manufacturing industries, plus the quality management platform, Omneo.
On 14 October 14 2014, PLM software and services provider Siemens announced its intent to acquire Camstar, a provider of manufacturing execution and quality management systems.
Siemens’ addition of Camstar’s MES platform and customer base to its own MES portfolio addresses current gaps in the high-tech, semiconductor and medical device markets. While Camstar will operate as a separate business unit in the short term, Siemens now expands its competitive MES offerings to each manufacturing industry and global market. Camstar’s analytics also complements Siemens’ Simatic IT enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) offering.
But the most valuable aspect of this acquisition may be what Camstar’s Omneo quality management platform provides to Siemens. Omneo creates a feedback loop from customer usage aftermarket services into product and process design for end-to-end product quality management. And its cloud and big data analytics capabilities should play well with Siemens’ broader Industrie 4.0 positioning. Omneo, launched in April 2014, is still in its infancy and will benefit greatly from Siemens’ top level relationships in target accounts to drive sales.
But the bigger story goes beyond MES into the wider digital manufacturing arena. This acquisition reflects how manufacturing vendors are aggressively positioning themselves to deliver complete manufacturing process management (MPM) and model-based manufacturing (MbM) frameworks. In the past 18 months, Dassault Systèmes (DS) acquired Apriso and PTC partnered with GE, but Siemens’ 2007 acquisition of UGS is also related. Camstar has certified integrations with PTC’s Windchill and DS’ Delmia applications, which will allow Siemens to compete in multiple environments.
In addition to these positives, key challenges include:
Siemens is managing multiple MES applications with different target industries of Simatic IT and now Camstar. However, consolidating MES under the PLM division’s organizational structure should mitigate this.
Siemens will still have to assume responsibility for migrating Camstar customers to the newest V6 platform. This requires maintaining Camstar’s current services organization and partner network.
Siemens will need to orchestrate Camstar with Teamcenter PLM and Simatic IT’s Unified MOM backbone to successfully enable the digital enterprise vision, which is unlikely to happen for several years.
Those focused on corralling diverse streams of product quality data upstream and downstream in the supply chain should look at the Omneo product.
Those in high-tech, semiconductor or medical device industries should consider Camstar as a MES option that will become part of Siemens’ ecosystem.
Investigate fixed pricing on maintenance and upgrades over the next 3 to 5 years to avoid any scope or price creep.
Those without formal PLM applications should investigate whether Siemens Teamcenter PLM is a fit.
Although the MES and PLM markets are each consolidating, stand-alone provider options are not drying up. Consider independent vendors where they fit your purpose, based on scope of operations, domain knowledge, services capability and relationship quality.
Those with diverse application landscapes of multiple manufacturing and PLM applications with no plans for standardization or consolidation should consider developing their own MPM frameworks rather than awaiting a complete offering.