LNS recently attended the Excelerate 2018 Conference in Dana Point, California hosted by iBASEt, a manufacturing execution system (MES)/ manufacturing operations management (MOM) company focused on aerospace and defense (A&D) and complex discrete industries. Over the past years (2015 and 2017), LNS has witnessed a continued growth in customer and prospect participation at the Excelerate conferences. The most quoted statistic of the event was from Tom Captain, the retired Vice Chairman and former Global A&D Leader at Deloitte - there is now $1.7 Trillion in defense spending worldwide.
MOM as the Foundation of Digital Manufacturing and the Digital Thread
Digital Manufacturing and Digital Thread formed the theme of the conference with multiple iBASEt executives making the argument that MOM is the “foundation” of both in the A&D market. In support of this theme, iBASEt shared a product roadmap to restructure Solumina, the flagship iBASEt solution offering for the Cloud, microservices and other Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enhancements, and productize integrations to product lifecycle management (PLM) systems. The long-term goal is to move from a monolithic application to Cloud-native applications with microservices, which LNS has been predicting as the future of MOM.
On October 18, the company announced that Solumina can now be managed and deployed in the Cloud and demonstrated progress in the restructuring with the delivery of a new User Interface. Naveen Poonian, the Chief Operating Officer of iBASEt acknowledged that the company is changing and has brought in a new management team to position themselves for growth and organizational maturity.
LNS Research agrees MOM is a foundational building block and has consistently maintained that MOM is a logical starting point in an Industrial Transformation Journey. With the new product roadmap and organizational changes, we believe iBASEt could deliver significant value to both existing and new customers over time and participate in customers’ Industrial Transformation journey
Out-of-the-Box as a Differentiator
iBASEt’ fundamental competitive positioning is around “Out-of-the-Box” MES (which is why Solumina needs to focus tightly on the complex discrete manufacturing model). Speakers from Textron, Virgin Orbit, Lockheed, Solar Turbine and others reinforced the value and effectiveness of the Solumina product functionality out-of-the-box. Most of the customer speakers emphasized out-of-the-box as the meta-requirement driving their whole MES selection process. In some customer sessions, the presenter went on to say they questioned manufacturing personnel if they argued that “we are different.” While out-of-the-box may not be for everyone, clearly iBASEt should be on the shortlist for any A&D company considering out-of-the-box as a critical requirement.
Solumina’ platform approach provides a common, life-cycle oriented view of the product data from as-engineered through as-built, all the way to as-maintained. This approach is a critical challenge in maintaining the Digital Thread as they are usually managed in different systems by different organizations.
LNS believes iBASEt may be missing an opportunity by positioning Solumina mainly as an MES offering. Several customer presentations at the event indicated they agreed with LNS. Solumina already has significant penetration in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and process planning applications. In fact, a few speakers and customer conversations accredited their success in these spaces to Solumina. For instance, Lockheed’s presentation focused on the value of a unified quality and MES/MOM system which iBASEt delivers, you guessed it, out-of-the-box.
LNS looks forward to seeing iBASEt consistently position Solumina as an overall platform across operations. We will also closely track the delivery of the Solumina product roadmap on commercialization of the Cloud offering, the continued restructuring to microservices, and productization of PLM. We believe these to be especially important to deliver on the Digital Thread vision.