Centric Software Inc.San JosePivotal Software

The ability of design-team members, customers, and suppliers to collaborate throughout the design cycle is an important enabler to bringing products to market faster, cheaper, and with less risk. Pivotal software allows dispersed enterprise workgroups to collaboratively conceptualize, prototype, simulate, and design products. The software works by providing a unified interface to all the necessary tools for collaborative virtual-product development (CVPD), which include 3-D simulation, computer-aided design, manufacturing, and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE), product-data management (PDM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and knowledge management. Members of dispersed product-development teams can access data in this unified environment regardless of how it was created (using CAD systems, general office tools such as Microsoft Office, or other electronic authoring tools). The software also enables partners along the value chain to join in the design, simulation, or specification process through a corporate extranet or virtual private network (VPN). Team members can freely collaborate and explore, visualize, and validate a multitude of digital what-if scenarios, while building reusable knowledge assets that can be tapped by company engineers, suppliers, and customers worldwide. The Volvo Monitoring & Concept Center (VMCC) in Camarillo, Calif., was one of the first users of Pivotal, and some of its designers serve on the company's Strategic Advisory Council. "We believe that Pivotal will help us to shorten our leadtimes by allowing greater interaction between different disciplines such as engineering, simulation, and administration," says Ulla-Britt Frajdin Hellqvist, general manager of VMCC. "Using this new methodology, we hope to gain efficiency and quality in the development of Volvo cars in a way that saves us time and, therefore, money." John Teresko, John Sheridan, Tim Stevens, Doug Bartholomew, Patricia Panchak, Tonya Vinas, Samuel Greengard, Kristin Ohlson, and Barbara Schmitz contributed to this article.

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