Keeping Decisionmakers in the Loop through Digital Transformation
Marc Soucy, President and CEO of InnovMetric
Photo credit, Édouard Plante-Fréchette, LA PRESSE
Founded in 1994, the Quebec company InnovMetric took off in the early 2000s when the car maker Toyota became the first large manufacturer to massively adopt its 3D measuring solutions to test different parts of its car models.
“We grew with the market,” explains Marc Soucy. “We created the 3D modelling software PolyWorks®, which was first adopted by Toyota. At the time, we sold them 150 licenses, and today, they have over 1000. Toyota remains our biggest customer.”
However, the 3D measurement software was quickly adopted by other car manufacturers. Today, all of the world’s automakers use the PolyWorks platform to test their parts’ dimensions by way of 3D measurements.
“Our software is used at all production steps, from prototyping and engineering to product development, and even on the factory floor. 3D measurements are taken right up to the final inspection of the product,” adds the president and CEO.
To this day, InnovMetric has sold over 40,000 PolyWorks software licenses to manufacturers that make goods as varied as automobiles, planes, electric household appliances, computers, phones, turbines, wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries, and more.
“The world’s eight largest automakers alone use 4,500 of our software licenses. All major players in aeronautics—Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Pratt & Whitney, Bell Helicopter—use our digital tools,” sums up Marc Soucy.
InnovMetric’s headquarters, which employs 250 people, is located in Quebec City, but the company has a second software development center in Puebla, Mexico, the result of a 2018 acquisition.
“Our main research and development center is in Quebec City, with our 110 specialists, and we have 75 more working in Mexico. In all, InnovMetric currently has a staff of 550 people in 17 countries.”
The company recently opened a new technical support center in Poland, after having opened one in the Czech Republic. Wherever there is a significant manufacturing presence, InnovMetric is there to support its customers.
“In the Czech Republic, we have more than 700 customers, as well as 400 more in Poland. We need to be able to support them in their language, in particular to carry out various software upgrades. We are constantly doing development work,” specifies the president and CEO.
Everyone in the loop
In the past five years, InnovMetric has developed a new tool, PolyWorks|DataLoop™, that enables companies to realize the digital transformation of their 3D measurement processes.
“We developed this new tool at the request of the home appliances giant, GE Appliances. Like most manufacturing groups, GEA had many devices for taking 3D measurements, but the information generated by each one was collected on a hard drive and shared using USB flash drives.
It took us four years to develop software that allows freely accessing the information generated by the different measuring devices and the inspection process. All departments and decisionmakers can have access to data in real-time—they no longer have to wait for the data to be transmitted to them. That is a huge productivity gain for companies,” emphasizes Marc Soucy. In addition, a plug-in for Excel lets customers pull information directly from the database containing the inspection projects, making it easy to share results companywide in their standard reporting format.
All manufacturing companies need to use several digital solutions, and PolyWorks|DataLoop allows those software to communicate with one another. One Japanese user of this new tool estimates that it reduced its measurement time by 45 % while improving its processes, thus enabling better use of its staff and improving inspection performance and quality.
To date, 150 clients have purchased multiple licenses of this new digital tool, and the company anticipates a growing interest in the software from manufacturers. GM, Honda, Bombardier, Embraer, and Volkswagen are some of the companies that have decided they need this instrument.
“I’ve just returned from a meeting at GE Appliances’ Digital Summit, and they were thrilled by this innovation. This new software will generate additional growth for us in the coming years,” says Marc Soucy.
Meanwhile, the success of the 3D measurement software PolyWorks|Inspector™ is growing, as demonstrated by the purchase by 1500 new customers over the last year.
InnovMetric sells directly to large manufacturers but also counts their first- and second-tier providers among its customers. Their parts have to comply with the prime manufacturer’s specifications.
“More and more SMBs of 50 to 100 employees use our tools because we enable them to increase their productivity. We might sell just one license per company, but that can make a world of difference for them.
Digital transformation is important, but many companies are still afraid of it. They see it as simply too big. They can’t change everything overnight—instead, they have to advance one step at a time and integrate new technologies progressively,” says Marc Soucy from experience.
InnovMetric is an independent software development company that empowers manufacturers of every size to digitally transform their 3D measurement processes. InnovMetric revolutionized 3D metrology with the introduction of point-cloud-based dimensional inspection in 2000 and the concept of a universal 3D metrology software platform in 2006. Today, with over 18,700 customers in 99 countries, and the world’s largest industrial manufacturers having adopted its PolyWorks® solutions as their standard 3D metrology software platform, InnovMetric is focusing on creating next-generation digital data and process management technologies. Headquartered in Quebec City, Canada, InnovMetric is a multinational organization with 500 employees dedicated to bringing 3D measurement data at the heart of enterprise manufacturing processes.