August 23, 2004
A New Name And Additional Funding For Iced*CAD Assemble-To-Order Technology Organization
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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A New Name And Additional Funding For Iced*CAD Assemble-To-Order Technology Organization
Dellego Technologies, a metro Detroit-based technology company, announced that it has been awarded $1.5 million in funding from a private equity group. The funding supports Dellego's award-winning Iced*CAD product, to continue developing the proprietary technology and to raise the company's profile in strategic markets.
Dellego Technologies is the creator and owner of Iced*CAD technology, which delivers assemble-to-order technology (ATO) via the web. It connects engineering designs with quoting, production and delivery processes, all visible to the customer. It allows clients to choose drawings and parts from an online inventory list, creating custom parts.
To reflect a new direction and extend its brand-building potential, the company recently changed its name from QSSolutions Engineered Systems Group to Dellego Technologies, LLC. Dellego is a variation on the Latin words for 'select' and 'connect', which is appropriate since Iced*CAD delivers the ability to connect companies with their clients, while giving them the freedom to customize their own products.
The funding for ongoing Iced*CAD sales and development, and the branding of Dellego Technologies has been provided by Cooke & Moses, LLC, of Columbia, South Carolina. "I believe very strongly in the power this company has to create efficient systems necessary for complex products to be built and shown to a customer within minutes," said Roy L. Cooke, managing partner of Cooke & Moses. "We do not throw the word 'revolutionary' around lightly, but we have no problem doing it here."
Dellego Technologies has successfully installed and implemented Iced*CAD with a hydraulics manufacturer and distributor in Florida, and plans to roll the technology out to additional markets, including pump and hydraulic system manufacturing, emergency and custom-made vehicles, machining and tooling, and construction.
"Iced*CAD is changing the way engineering and product design is approached," said Tom Kelly, president and CEO of Dellego. "It is different from any other software because it combines the aspects of a web-based configurator with additional rules engines to produce a 3-D image."
Dellego Technologies was founded in Royal Oak, Mich., in 2003 as QSSolutions Engineered Systems Group. The company develops business and technology strategies for individual manufacturers and distributors. Dellego assists clients in developing the proper business approach to incorporate PLM, ERP, CRM, CPD, SCM, MRO and other business processes into a usable, scalable and functioning business strategy to fulfill customer needs.
A class of software tools known as product configurators has emerged in the past few years and has passed the novelty stage and is entering the next phase - real market viability and competition. All configurator products are designed and intended for product configuration management. They basically provide change control for as-designed, as-manufactured, and as-serviced product structure databases. Generally, these products can also show relationships between data. For example, if a part has to be replaced in a product after many years of service, configuration management products can locate the original requirements and components.
By themselves, product configurators are not PLM systems. Rather they act as an element or bridge between technical tools, such as CAD, and business tools, such as ERP, but take into account overall enterprise processes. In fact, the product configurators that will have the most influence in the marketplace and will ultimately win the competition are those that are more process oriented than just product oriented.
Generally, product configurator benefits include:
Reduced cost of sales (less time per quote)
Improved selling effectiveness (up-selling)
Accurate customer responses (reduced rework costs)
Best practices and standards (reduce inefficiencies)
Outperforming competitors (faster bidding)
Faster time to market (reduced training expenses)
Interoperability (leverage existing IT investments)
These benefits have been observed and documented by several market research and analyst organizations. For example, AMR Research figures show that product configuration can streamline order workflows by 30% and can increase order accuracy by 50% on average. Gartner Research has reported that configurators can reduce rework expenses by up to 70%, increase win rates by 2 points, and reduce selling cost by up to 25%.
Iced*CAD is actually a type of product configurator that employs a proprietary assemble-to-order (ATO) technology that connects customer orders directly with the manufacturing process without the delays normally created in design, engineering, or sales. A number of manufacturers have been faced with the problem of trying to maintain a finite number of configurations to control costs, although they may have literally millions of possible component combinations. Iced*CAD, however, does not have the inherent limitations of some other ATO technologies because of the way it has been developed and is structured. Iced*CAD can handle large data sets for variations in assemblies. Iced*CAD
connects engineering designs with quoting, production, and delivery processes. The resulting ATO data is available to engineering, manufacturing, logistics, sales, and top-floor departments for order planning, control, and fulfillment purposes. Expect to see more from Iced*CAD and the competition in the near future.
Things Begin Looking Up For Aerospace Industry Employment
The U.S. aerospace industry is hiring once again according to monthly Labor Department data compiled by the Aerospace Industries Association's (AIA's) Aerospace Research Center. Industry employment reached 579,800 in June after falling to a 50-year low of 568,700 in February. This marks a reversal of a downward trend that began 14 years ago at the end of the Cold War, then followed by declining defense budgets, industry consolidation, and two commercial market downturns.
"This is excellent news for the aerospace industry and our economy," said AIA President and CEO John Douglass. "The increase in employment is also a signal that we need to redouble our efforts to attract young people to aerospace careers. This increase in employment along with expected retirements over the coming decade will create a demand for highly-skilled workers to enter the aerospace industry."
The increase in employment coincides with recent increases in shipments by U.S. companies in the commercial aviation, general aviation, helicopter, and defense sectors. Boeing announced that it expects to ship approximately 284 aircraft in 2004 compared to 281 a year ago. General aviation billings have increased 17 percent the first half of 2004 over the same period last year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Industry shipped 395 U.S.-manufactured civil helicopters worth $214 million through June -- setting a pace not seen in over 19 years. Defense aerospace shipments increased to an annual rate of $76 billion in the first six months of 2004 -- a nine percent
increase over all of 2003.
"U.S. aerospace manufacturers, whether their business is defense or commercial, are responding to increased demand for their products by hiring additional workers," said Douglass.
While employment levels in several sectors of manufacturing, notably automotive, continue to decline, this is heartening news for the aerospace sector - a sector that also has been in decline for several years. According to figures released last year, even in a declining state, the aerospace industry led the U.S. in annual net exports and directly and indirectly supported 11 million jobs, generating economic activity equal to nearly 15 percent of the gross domestic output. It's no secret, however, that the industry is in a severe crisis - the airline industry is nearly bankrupt, the commercial space market has almost ceased to exist, and the manufacturing base is downsizing at an
alarming rate - so this uptick is welcome news. Earlier this year, representatives from the aerospace industry, a labor union, and the Labor Department told the House Aerospace Caucus that they wanted the government to create an interagency task force to coordinate workforce policy and develop initiatives to train the next generation of aerospace engineers and technicians. Co-chaired by Rep. Norman Dicks (D-WA), and Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), the caucus hearing was the first of a series planned for this year on challenges facing the aerospace industry. Workforce revitalization was first addressed in a report issued November 2002, by the U.S. Commission on the Future of the U.S. Aerospace
Industry, a bipartisan group chartered by Congress to determine how industry and government could best overcome critical problems faced by the aerospace industrial base. AIA President and CEO John W. Douglass told the group that the startling drop in aerospace employment from 1.3 million in 1989 to today's number of well less than 600,000 could be attributed in part to the end of the Cold War, consolidation, the events of September 11, 2001, and having fewer programs to work on, but that the average age of today's aerospace engineer-54 years-was a grave situation. The lack of young engineers in the pipeline to replace those who will retire soon is going to become a big problem, he said.
"Only two percent of young engineering students enter aerospace," he said, adding that they were entering other fields because aerospace was perceived as being a field without job stability. It is certainly too soon to tell if this announcement will indicate a longer-term trend, but it is certainly encouraging news for a manufacturing sector that could use some.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.