Arena Solutions: A Leading Product Lifecycle Management Software That Helps Brands Bring Products From Idea to Market
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Arena Solutions: A Leading Product Lifecycle Management Software That Helps Brands Bring Products From Idea to Market

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: Companies need to find ways to reduce the design errors, costs, and time involved in bringing products to market. Arena Solutions’ cloud-based Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software platform has emerged as a leading market realization tool for businesses trying to find those efficiencies. Arena Solutions is trusted by more than 1,000 companies because it allows them to share real-time data and documentation on product design and manufacturing with teams around the world. The cloud-based solution also gives stakeholders access anytime, anywhere, on any device. And Arena Solutions is evolving alongside companies as they innovate products in emerging areas — such as IoT — to continue to meet their needs.

Steve Chalgren, EVP of Product Management and Chief Strategy Officer at Arena Solutions, recognizes that the company’s success comes from helping others succeed. Arena Solutions, founded in 2000, offers a leading cloud-based Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software to help businesses develop quality products and get them to market faster.

“At the end of the day, we’re a product realization platform. We help engineering teams bring products to market. We’re the tool that’s way back in the back room that everyone uses to get awesome products to market,” Steve said.

Arena’s PLM software automates the administrative processes involved in product development, sharing the details of design and manufacturing in real time with all of the teams and suppliers involved. That automation helps increase efficiencies, cut down on errors, track design changes, and, ultimately, reduce the time it takes to get a product to consumers.

Arena Solutions’ primary focus is high-tech products for the medical and retail markets.

“You think about what it takes to make a Sonos, SiriusXM, or a GoPro product; there’s a lot of difficult engineering work done to make those products behave simply,” Steve said. “What we do is we provide the map for them to capture, control, store those designs. Frequently, with consumer products and tech in general, there’s a lot of underlying change that happens to those products even if the consumer doesn’t see it.”

Arena has more than 1,000 customers and 80,000 users in more than 125 countries and has helped with the growth of some well-known brands. GoPro had about two dozen employees when it chose Arena Solutions’ PLM to help with its production process. Today, GoPro has millions of customers and $1.6 billion in annual revenue.

“That story is very common with our customer base,” Steve said. “Lots of companies are innovating cool new products and getting venture funding. One of the things helping that, I hope, is that they can pick up Arena and grow with it very easily.”

A Comprehensive PLM Built to Capture Consumer Product Markets

The PLM for consumer products is designed to carry companies from product conception to market. It is a comprehensive, invaluable tool for companies facing a new retail landscape with highly selective consumers, more complex engineering for high-tech products, increased compliance requirements, and shrinking profit margins.

Arena’s cloud-based PLM enables companies to streamline design, production, and accelerate product development to get a product to market more quickly. The platform also reduces cost and errors commonly encountered when simply relying on spreadsheets for design and material specifications.

Collaboration flows more freely when documentation on design, supply chain, quality management, and production are shared with the teams involved with a centralized, cloud-based platform. Arena allows control over building different product revisions through an ordered process that synchronizes across a fragmented supply chain. In the case of Arena’s clients, approximately half of their suppliers are logging into the system from overseas, making a tool like Arena’s PLM all the more valuable.

Screenshot of Arena Solutions supply chain functionality

“Our customers are trying to get their products to market while working with some very complicated logistics with data movement and keeping it in sync,” Steve said, “That’s where we shine, helping them control that. We make their difficult job a lot easier.”

Arena also unites PLM, supply chain, and quality management. That unification can reduce costs, improve quality, shorten time to market, and result in quicker product modifications in response to customer feedback.

”Having the quality team on the same page as the engineering team makes sense, particularly in high-tech areas. The engineer designs the product, and can easily incorporate the input from quality control when it is accessible.”

GoPro, Culligan, Segway, Nautilus, and CharBroil are among the consumer product companies that use Arena’s PLM. Highlighted success stories also include wearable technology firm Blast Motion, which used Arena to reduce shipping delays by 50%, manufacturing errors by 75%, and eliminate design confusion.

Promoting Scalability with a Responsive Cloud-Based Software

Another significant benefit of Arena’s cloud-based software is its accessibility. All of a company’s internal teams have access to the production designs, and manufacturers, suppliers, even suppliers’ suppliers that are vital to the process can collaborate on the platform.

“The number one advantage of Cloud is 24/7, ubiquitous access from anywhere in the world. So people can be doing their jobs at home, at work, while they’re traveling, and they can be collaborating with anyone in the world.” Steve said.” When you’re not cloud-based, you’re behind what IT calls the firewall. If you’re behind the firewall, it’s difficult for people who aren’t employed at that company to be granted access.”

Users receive automatic updates to related software without having to go through IT. That assures joint customers get immediate access when Arena adds a new integration partner. When Arena announced a partnership with BrightReps, customer support teams were immediately able to use the BrightReps Sidekick™ app to share information with engineering, manufacturing, product development, and supply chain groups.

The cloud-based solution can handle more work as organizations scale, and easily expand to accommodate additional employees.

“We have a single, scalable, state-of-the-art platform,” Steve said. “Our competitive advantages are scalability, cost, ease of use, and ease of implementation.And we help the market create tons and tons of cool new consumer products.”

Future Innovations Seek to Solve Business Customers Needs

Arena Solutions is a leader in product realization that measures its success in terms of helping other companies succeed. While the company specializes in PLM solutions, Arena has branched out into the quality management space, providing a more holistic approach to market realization.

Photo of Steve Chalgren, CEO of Arena Solutions

Steve Chalgren of Arena Solutions told us that the company’s success is tied to that of its customers.

As Arena’s clients continue to innovate new, high-tech products, the company responds to meet their needs. One trending area of focus for Arena today is Internet of Things (IoT) product design. These innovations will allow vehicles, home appliances, and other products with embedded electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity to exchange data.

“The IoT consumer product space is definitely an area of growth,” Steve said. “Companies are taking their electronic products and connecting them — or new companies are coming in with connected products.”

The global IoT market is forecasted to increase by 15%to $772.5 billion in 2018 and surpass the $1 trillion mark by 2020.

The growing market for smart devices means software teams, electronic hardware teams, and mechanical teams must all collaborate in a complicated and intensive process. Arena’s focus is on innovations that help customers navigate that process seamlessly and efficiently.