At PROSTEP, the future of PLM has already begun
By Bernd Pätzold
PROSTEP AG is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – a ripe old age for a company in such a fast-moving industry as ours. During this time, we have developed into a leading vendor-neutral PLM consulting and software company and we never stop moving forward. In order to provide the best possible support for our customers during this period of digital transformation, we are constantly rethinking PLM and integrating new aspects such as Industry 4.0, the digital twin and blockchain. In fact, this is what we have been doing for 25 years. "We Integrate the future" is and remains our motto.
PROSTEP was, so to speak, born of the first digital revolution, when 3D CAD systems increasingly replaced the traditional drawing board or the first generation 2D CAD systems in design offices, and companies were faced with the question of how to exchange their digital product models with each other. Many of our original employees had been involved in the STEP standardization research project and then took on the task of implementing the product data exchange standard for our first customers.
There have been many milestones in our 25-year history, but the most important was undoubtedly the transition from ProSTEP Produktdatentechnologie GmbH to PROSTEP AG in 2001. This placed our range of commercial services on a professional footing and initiated the expansion of our network of branch offices. Today, alongside our headquarters in Darmstadt, we maintain a presence at eight locations in Germany and the USA and employ a total of approximately 250 people. Particularly over the first few years, our company grew very dynamically and, to the delight of our shareholders, our operations have always been profitable.
Unlike other children, we did not allow the digital revolution to devour us, but have always tried to stay one step ahead of it. Earlier than others, we recognized that the fact that processes were not digital from end to end within companies would hamper the next digital revolution and developed a comprehensive and unique range of product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions. PLM selection, implementation, migration, integration and collaboration are our core competencies alongside PLM strategy and process consulting.
Today, we are standing on the barricades of this next revolution and looking hard at how we can enable new, digital business models for our customers; for example, by integrating PLM and the Internet of Things (IoT), building digital twins, using cloud applications and making business transactions secure with blockchain technology. We are aware that our customers' success in this transformation process also secures our own future.
Keeping our finger on the pulse of the times is the secret of our success. Success that has many fathers (and mothers), first and foremost our dedicated employees whose new ideas drive forward the process of digital transformation. Moreover, we pursue an intensive exchange of ideas with research institutions, from which many of our employees are recruited and, as a vendor-neutral PLM consulting and software house, we maintain close contact with all leading PLM software houses, who grant us insights into their ongoing software development. These partnerships, of which we are very proud, are based on mutual trust.
This success can be quantified, and I do not mean in terms of sales or the size of our workforce, but above all by the loyalty of our customers. These include many large carmakers and suppliers, some of whom have worked with us from the very beginning, but also leading companies in the maritime industry and well-known mechanical and plant engineering companies. I would like to thank them all warmly for the trust they have placed in us.
The next few years will certainly not be any easier, because the development of new digital business models requires not only the restructuring of existing PLM landscapes but also dramatic organizational changes in the companies, where we can only play a supporting role. I wish all our customers and partners every success in this transformation process. You will again find PROSTEP at the top of the barricades of the digital revolution.
We are ready for the digital future and are also preparing for future challenges at management level. At its last meeting in November, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Karsten Theis to the Executive Board, where he will be responsible for marketing, sales (excluding key accounts), PROSTEP products and US business. To coincide with our anniversary, we have thus embarked on the task that lies before us of bringing a new generation into the company's management.