Dassault CEO Bernard Charles says his company will install several thousand workstations for Toyota.
Dassault, of Suresnes, France, is best known for its CATIA 3-D computer-aided design software. In March 2002, it landed a $1.2 billion contract with Toyota for its product life cycle management software, which includes CATIA.
Since then, Dassault has been deploying its software globally for Toyota. The products include its CATIA Version 5 software for product design, Delmia software for digital manufacturing and Enovia software to allow everything to work together.
Toyota is expected to surpass DaimlerChrysler by 2006 as Dassault's largest customer, says Dassault's Bernard Charles.
Charles, Dassault's CEO since 1995, has expanded the company's reach beyond its roots in 3-D computer-aided design to encompass product life cycle management.
He says product life cycle management describes technology that allows manufacturers to digitally design, simulate and manage their products from conception through production to maintenance.
Charles spoke with Staff Reporter Ralph Kisiel about the Toyota deal.
When will Toyota surpass DaimlerChrysler as your largest customer?
By 2006 at the latest, maybe earlier. This is being conservative. The total installation will be several thousand seats (workstations).
Is Toyota replacing its entire homegrown Togo computer-aided design system with Dassault's CATIA?
Togo is online for previous programs. It's not used for new programs. I am authorized to say that all new programs at (Toyota) are being rolled out with our new software. Looking back, the most astonishing thing for me when we started to roll out CATIA design was the speed at which (Toyota officials) can do things. They take the time to decide, but they go very quickly after. Their deployment capacities are amazing.
What was Toyota's first vehicle using CATIA design tools?
The first program was started in September of 2002. That car, the Sienta, was a brand new car that went on the market in Japan in September 2003. It was the first car on the market developed with Dassault's CATIA V5 technology. I have the ad in my office.
Does Toyota also use digital manufacturing software from Dassault's Delmia Corp. subsidiary?
Yes. They are the number one Delmia customer in the world already, and they have been for a while. It's an extremely large installation. They want to do full PLM - product life cycle management. They are pushing us on all fronts, for everything. They want to buy everything we have, on everything we do.
What is your relationship with IBM, and how does it fit into the Toyota deployment?
IBM sells and supports CATIA, Enovia and Smarteam (supply chain) products. They sell that worldwide. IBM is our sales force. IBM provides service, support and consulting for the deployment inside Toyota.
Does IBM also handle sales for your Delmia software for designing factories?
Digital manufacturing still is a highly specialized market. The sales force has to be highly specialized. So it did not fit well in a more traditional sales force. One day it could.
You may e-mail Ralph Kisiel at [email protected]