Ford fight: EDS, IBM claim software wins at automaker
Computerworld - Electronic Data Systems Corp. said today that it hasn't been displaced by IBM and its French partner, Dassault Systemes SA, as the vendor of choice for Ford Motor Co.'s design, development and manufacturing processes.
That response came after IBM and Dassault announced that Ford had chosen them to supply and integrate IBM's Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) product, Catia, into the automaker's design and manufacturing processes worldwide (see story).
Plano, Texas-based EDS then announced that Ford has expanded its PLM contract and will use EDS's software as the basis for integration and collaboration of the automaker's virtual product creation environment.
Catia is used to design a vehicle's surface, such as the body panels, doors, and hood, whereas EDS's software is used in the design of internal mechanisms such as brake calipers and steering columns, according to John Moore, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group Inc. in Dedham, Mass.
The dueling announcements come at a time when automakers are looking to save time and money -- and get cars to market faster -- by standardizing design, development and manufacturing processes globally.
EDS's Bill Carrelli, president of business strategy and marketing for PLM Solutions, said the IBM/Dassault contract is only for a single car project. "It's a pilot program," he said. "They're in one car, while we're in 72."
Christine Lemyze, director of marketing for IBM Global PLM solutions, disagreed, saying Ford is committed to using IBM's software to integrate all its vehicle processes. She said Ford currently uses IBM's PLM products in its Land Rover and Volvo divisions and will integrate these products across the company.
"This is not a pilot program," she said. "This is part of Ford's strategy to integrate its vehicle processes [worldwide]. It will happen; it's just a question of the amount of time it takes."
Ford spokesman Paul Wood said the automaker will integrate IBM's PLM products into its entire design processes across the board. But he said it will also continue to use EDS's PLM products.
He said Catia will be used to do what it does best -- surface design -- and EDS's PLM product will be used for other aspects of car manufacturing.
After media reports speculated that Ford's decision to use IBM's products more extensively meant an end to EDS's stronghold in the company, the automaker issued a statement this afternoon saying both IBM and EDS are key partners.
None of the companies would disclose financial information about the separate deals.
Andrew Efstathiou, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said having another vendor make inroads in the market isn't a good thing forEDS. "EDS had a lock on Ford, but now IBM has a contract it can build on, and it opens doors for them to do so," he said.
Efstathiou also said EDS probably pressured Ford to put out the statement saying it considered both companies to be its key partners.
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