SOURCE: Arena Solutions

February 06, 2007 08:00 ET

Arena Solutions Brings New Strategic Benefits to Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) With Winter '07 Release of Arena PLM

New Project Collaboration Functionality Addresses Critical Product Development Challenges Faced by 92% of Mid-Market Manufacturers

FOSTER CITY, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 6, 2007 -- Arena Solutions, the leading provider of on-demand product lifecycle management (PLM) software for manufacturers, today announced its Winter '07 release of Arena PLM, featuring significant new Project Collaboration functionality. Project Collaboration leverages the application's strong foundation of product definition and product management functionality to create a whole new layer of product analytics in Arena PLM. This layer elevates the value of PLM, adding strategic benefits to the traditional efficiency-based ones by providing the visibility that manufacturers need to better launch new products on time and on budget.

Project Collaboration in Arena PLM provides manufacturers with a 360-degree view of their product projects, from the portfolio to the project to the individual item level. For the first time manufacturers can tie project plans to the product record by linking task, milestone and deadline information directly to each individual item included in a project. These links streamline project planning and execution and result in project information being automatically updated when product information is updated. The on-demand Arena PLM platform makes those links even more valuable by enabling all members of the extended product team -- from internal employees to global supply chain partners -- to participate in projects. Together these features give users an unprecedented level of visibility that enables them to identify project risks, pinpoint issues, gauge their effect -- and react in real-time to avoid problems and preserve schedules.

"As a long-time user of Arena PLM, I've experienced essentially every upgrade to the application, and what I appreciate most -- in addition to the seamless way that upgrades automatically appear -- is that new features are designed and integrated in a way that actually works," said Fritz Morgan, chief technology officer at Color Kinetics (NASDAQ: CLRK), a leading innovator of lighting technologies that was just named, for the second year in a row, to Forbes' annual list of the country's 25 fastest growing technology companies. "From what I've seen, Project Collaboration will be no exception. With the ability to tie projects to products -- and then have the whole team access that interrelated information -- it promises to provide the visibility we need to keep our ever-expanding portfolio of products shipping on time."

In a recent study of more than 150 mid-market manufacturers, Arena found that most manufacturers currently manage their product-related projects with desktop tools like Microsoft® Excel and Microsoft® Project (70% and 68%, respectively), often in combination with homegrown solutions or off-the-shelf tools designed for other purposes. However, very few respondents were satisfied with their current set-up: Only 4% of these manufacturers considered their existing tools and processes effective for planning product-related projects, while just 7% felt they were effective for project execution and analysis.

A significant majority of the shortcomings they named were in the realm of new product development (NPD) and new product introduction (NPI), with 92% of respondents facing challenges that impact those processes. Some specific challenges, cited at the following rates, included:

--  Poor coordination and communication across product teams (66%)
--  Lack of visibility into constraints and bottlenecks (59%)
--  Lack of infrastructure for standardizing processes and refining best
    practices (55%)
--  Difficulty including suppliers and partners in project planning and
    execution (48%)
Project Collaboration is designed to directly address these and other shortcomings by:
--  Enabling the entire extended team to access the same complete product
    and project information, keep their own status information up-to-date and
    monitor the progress of relevant tasks
--  Offering many views into project status, from executive dashboards to
    detailed, item-by-item, task-by-task schedule views, all of which make it
    easy to identify issues from the moment they threaten to cause problems
--  Offering a framework for modeling processes and creating templates
    that can be used, re-used, duplicated and modified as often as companies
--  Leveraging the on-demand platform and sophisticated access model of
    Arena PLM to engage all parties, from inside and outside company walls, at
    the appropriate level of participation
"Winter '07 is the most significant release of Arena PLM since we first launched six years ago," said Michael Topolovac, chief executive officer at Arena Solutions. "Our customers have always been thrilled with how PLM improves their engineering and manufacturing processes, but they're consistently frustrated that no tool has delivered the same benefits in the realm of project planning, execution and analysis. We wanted to fix that problem the right way -- in the same system that already manages the product record -- and that required fundamental change that would provide unprecedented visibility. The question 'When is my product going to ship?' is not a new one for manufacturers. What is new is that they can now answer it -- accurately and reliably."

Project Collaboration can be used to manage any type of project, from NPD and NPI to quality improvement, compliance, cost reduction, sourcing and more. The new features are included in the Enterprise Edition of Arena PLM and will be automatically available, at no additional cost, to existing customers. The new release will be unveiled during a live online launch event on Thursday, February 8, 2007, at 10:00 am PST. Anyone interested in attending the event can register by going to the Arena Solutions website at and clicking "Winter '07 Launch Event -- Register Today." After February 8, an archived recording of the event will be available for download from the site.

About Color Kinetics

Color Kinetics Incorporated (NASDAQ: CLRK) transforms environments through new, dynamic uses of light. Its award-winning lighting systems and technologies apply the benefits of LEDs as a highly efficient, long-lasting, environmentally friendly and inherently digital source of illumination -- reinventing light itself as a highly controllable medium. Color Kinetics also enables widespread adoption of LED lighting through OEM and licensing partnerships in diverse markets. The company is headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in the UK and China. More information is available at

About Arena Solutions

Arena Solutions is the leading provider of on-demand product lifecycle management solutions for manufacturing companies of all sizes. As the only true on-demand, secure Internet-based PLM service, Arena PLM provides a superior alternative to complicated, lengthy and expensive traditional PLM software deployments. Through its award-winning service, Arena enables product manufacturers and their global supply chains to streamline outsourcing, improve operational efficiencies and speed time-to-market. Offering the broadest suite of on-demand PLM solutions on the market today -- Arena PLM Workgroup Edition, Arena PLM Professional Edition and Arena PLM Enterprise Edition -- Arena PLM has been adopted by more than 15,000 users across companies at all stages of development.

Arena Solutions' market-changing approach to PLM has received significant recognition in the industry, including Manufacturing Business Technology's Top 40 Emerging Vendors, the 2005 and 2006 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100, Industry Week's "Technology of the Year - Notable Innovators" and Start Magazine's "Hot" Companies for 2004 and 2006.

Founded in February 2000, Arena Solutions is headquartered in Foster City, California. For more information, please visit the company's website at

Arena Solutions, Arena PLM Workgroup Edition, Arena PLM Professional Edition, and Arena PLM Enterprise Edition are trademarks of Arena Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names are the property of their respective holders.

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