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Market Insight

The SME and battery industry renaissance: The Dassault Systèmes perspective

July 22, 2019

Fabio Raffo Fabio Raffo Principal Analyst, Industrial Technology, IHS Markit

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Recently, Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company (3DS), invited IHS Markit to its annual analyst event at its headquarters located at Vélizy-Villacoublay, France.

The event represented an excellent opportunity to focus on the vision driving the Company's innovation strategy, as well as to engage with their executive team.

During his introduction of the vision of the company, CEO Bernard Charlès, shared the purpose behind the 3DEXPERIENCE digital platform. Charlès statement served as the defining principle connecting every thread across the two-day meeting:  "Dassault Systèmes’ mission encompasses three principal spheres: Product-Sphere, Geo-Sphere and Bio-Sphere, reflecting the company's expanded purpose to provide business and people with 3DEXPERIENCE universes, enabling them to imagine innovations capable of harmonizing product, nature and life.”

The event provided an immersive experience where participants could really feel a sense of purpose. The executives succeeded in demonstrating that they practice what they preach to their customers by using different industry examples, all based on the platform concept, which highlights value propositions tailored to specific sector requirements.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables a mindset shift from a product-centric strategy to an agile business-centric approach. This allows people to migrate from a siloed company-centric perspective to an ecosystem-wide view of the business that encourages exploration of how to best shape a sustainable and scalable business model.

Why is this approach so powerful? Because it enables a different way of thinking about business. It's about finding ways to make the future pie bigger—rather than fighting with competitors over the established market.

Let's dig deeper into the evolution of the 3DEXPERIENCE and its potential impact on the industrial community.

This image illustrates 3DEXPERIENCE’s value:

 

 

3DEXPERIENCE as a system of systems providing end-to-end continuity to reimagine a sustainable and efficient way to design, produce, serve and recycle product.

3DEXPERIENCE as a business model to enable individuals and companies to develop innovative and collaborative ideas across the value chain.

These two strategic threads align with the IHS Markit perspective.

An opportunity for small and medium enterprises to drive industrial innovation 

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are one of the strongest drivers of economic development, innovation, and employment around the world. Just look at the European market, where they represent more than 99 percent of all non-financial corporates and employ almost 70 percent of the employed population in the EU-28 non-financial sector.

These firms are vulnerable to trade disputes, so any government initiatives to facilitate access to credit is not enough to enable development and production of highly customizable products.

It is critical for companies like Dassault Systèmes to support SMEs with digital platforms as key elements of win-win partnerships with OEMs.

These platforms/digital solutions will allow small and medium-sized manufacturers to:

  • Increase brand awareness, demonstrating to OEMs that they offer a better value proposition above and beyond piece-price.
  • Be perceived as a trusted supplier by sharing real-time key data about the production plan and its progress.

Dassault Systèmes, made a smart move with a strong focus on the OEM's supply chain, introducing 3DEXPERIENCE.WORKS.

The new .WORKS strategy uniquely combines social collaboration with design (SOLIDWORKS), simulation (SIMULIA), and manufacturing ERP and MES capabilities (DELMIAWORKS - former IQMS) into a single digital environment.

Are these elements enough to promote expansion and increase brand visibility? Probably not.

So, how can large manufacturers leverage the value of these agile and innovative SMEs without destroying their nature through acquisitions?

Dassault Systèmes didn't forget this relevant aspect. The cloud-based 3DEXPERIENCE Marketplace empowered by embedded value chain functionalities enables different players within the value network to find valuable business reasons to justify synergies and develop win-win strategies. 

With such a complete offering, SMEs have the opportunity to:

  • Increase visibility to new customers
  • Leverage a trusted, transparent channel during the business engagement process while protecting knowhow, i.e. intellectual property (IP) rights.
  • Leverage new digital sales channels

The value of 3DS for the battery industry

As the world moves toward reducing fossil-fuel dependence, the automotive, high-tech and energy industries are playing a critical role in contributing to the achievement of global air quality and emissions targets.

Governments and regulatory bodies are mandating increasingly stringent emissions and air-quality targets that automakers must achieve to sell vehicles. Electric or hybrid vehicles and the batteries they use are a crucial element of the overall ecosystem. Enabling the industrialization of sustainable batteries is critical as more hybrid and electric vehicles hit the roads, and as electric utilities seek better options for storing power from intermittent renewables.

There are several dimensions to consider while looking at the battery industry.

Looking at the chemical composition of anodes and cathodes, there is currently a strong dependence on lithium and other rare-earth elements. IHS Markit forecasts sufficient lithium-based raw material from all sources to meet demand over the next six years. Beyond six years our forecast shows a significant shortfall in raw material and conversion capacity. 

 

It is critical to empower the broader community to move toward a sustainable and efficient economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources.

At the event, Dassault Systèmes took a strong position on further developing its place in the battery industry, which strongly aligns with the company mission: the ability to boost sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing product, nature and life.

In particular, the team sees four high-potential areas:

  • Battery engineering: High performance batteries dealing with battery materials design, cell and pack engineering, system behavior analysis, system management and integration.
  • Battery manufacturing: Highly flexible manufacturing.
  • Governance, collaboration and traceability: High-tech operational excellence.
  • Integration into Vehicle: Efficient multi-energy platform, global modular architecture

With such a diversified portfolio, Dassault Systèmes, was able to share key areas of contribution:

  • R&D labs and active materials manufacturers experimenting with new chemistries can leverage battery materials design to develop new materials and better predict electrochemical reactions.
  • Machine, product and system engineers working on battery modules and packs can better organize complex systems according to the specs of the target product.
  • Cell manufacturers can leverage high-performance batteries and highly flexible manufacturing to design, simulate and manufacture cells, and maintain the digital DNA of each battery cell in high-volume production.
  • Engineers of production lines or facilities can design the shop floor to optimize the utilization of production lines.
  • The whole ecosystem can be extended, including to the mining and automotive sectors, to leverage the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform to enable efficient cross-collaboration across the value network.

Conclusion

Dassault Systèmes has a robust long-term vision extending beyond its industrial comfort zone. Consistent growth in software revenues and other positive financial indicators engender confidence among company management and stakeholders.

The company’s acquisition of Medidata Solutions, a big bet driven by the allure of big pharma’s profit margins, looks to be a natural step.

Broader adoption of such solutions would lead to an increasing need for new qualified resources capable of performing tasks including:

  • Properly engage with manufacturers to qualify the value of any digital initiatives.
  • Configure the solution according to the existing company ecosystem.
  • Address the end-user adoption and continuous training of new resources.

Although these aspects are typically underestimated by manufacturers’ IT teams, they have been addressed by Dassault Systèmes with the introduction of the e-learning experience, leveraging the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which is designed to enable the workforce of the future.  

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