SAP buys Visiprise to target discrete manufacturers

SAP late yesterday announced its intention to acquire Visiprise, one of its existing software partners in the manufacturing sector.

It said the deal, for an undisclosed sum, would add to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio of software aimed at discrete manufacturers.

Visiprise has more than 60 global customers, including many that also run SAP, in discrete manufacturing industries like high tech, aerospace and defence, automotive and medical devices.

The privately held US, Georgia-headquartered firm develops software to plan, manage and optimise fabrication processes, shop floor operations and quality control, which it calls manufacturing execution systems (MES). And its customers include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Prodrive, Philips, Hitachi and Bosch.

SAP said the tie-up would consolidate the customer base it already shared with Visiprise and offer ready made integration of MES, ERP and product lifecycle management (PLM) systems for increased production responsiveness, improved operational efficiencies and enhanced quality and regulatory compliance.

"The automation of business processes for manufacturing companies has been core to the SAP strategy for more than 30 years," said Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP corporate officer and member of the executive council. "This combination will offer manufacturers better visibility by linking the operations of the plant floor to production planning and operations management, enabling manufacturers to respond profitably to the growing demands of their global customers."

The ERP vendor said it would integrate SAP Business Suite applications and the SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) application with Visiprise's Manufacturing platform to provide end-to-end visibility and control of "plan-to-make" processes across multiple manufacturing plants.

Visiprise has been a partner of SAP since 2005, receiving investment from the global SAP NetWeaver Fund, product certification for its ERP Shop Floor Integration 1.0 packaged composite application and, most recently, a resale agreement in June last year for a SAP Manufacturing Execution by Visiprise offering.

Visiprise systems are also part of the manufacturing process scenarios showcased by Tata Consulting Services (TCS) at a SAP "Perfect Plant" centre of excellence. And the firm employs approximately 300 employees and has additional offices in California and Kiev.

SAP said it anticipated the acquisition would be complete in July 2008, pending necessary regulatory approvals in the United States and Europe, after which it will provide additional integration details.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.