Accelrys Takes on Productivity Gap with Scientific Lifecycle Software

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bridging that gap,” Doyle says. As part of its SILM marketing campaign (and in a bid to encourage a broader discussion), Accelrys today switched on a website that serves as a kind of social-media forum for addressing the industrial productivity gap.

Accelrys is targeting a growing consensus that industrial innovation in the U.S. is stalling, and cites an Accelrys-commissioned study by IDC Manufacturing Insights that shows a high failure rate of product innovation and commercialization among U.S. companies in all industries. Only about 25 percent of these projects result in a product that reaches the market—and of the products that make it, two-thirds fail to meet original design or consumer expectations.

Albeit self-serving, the Accelrys study comes at a time when the White House and industry leaders are focusing increased attention and resources in an effort to jumpstart innovations in U.S. manufacturing. After decades of viewing manufacturing as something that can be outsourced to the lowest-cost supplier, the effort is intended to spark an American revival by improving efficiency and quality, and enabling U.S. companies to make products better, faster, and smarter than their global competitors.

President Obama introduced the initiative, known as the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), last June at Carnegie Mellon University. The effort, which has enlisted universities, industry, and the government, includes more than $500 million in federal investments in key areas, including a “Materials Genome Initiative” to dramatically reduce the time needed to design, build, and test new materials and manufactured goods.

While the Accelrys announcement is not connected with these initiatives, the company says the effort clearly validates the importance of science as a key driver of growth and innovation. Its customers already include the nation’s biggest chemical, biopharmaceutical, energy, and aerospace companies, as well as government agencies and universities.

“There is a capability gap between discovery and manufacturing, and we think that is critical,” says Accelrys’ Doyle. “It doesn’t matter who you talk to or in what industry.”

The broader issue of sparking a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing has become a priority for Duane Roth at Connect, the San Diego nonprofit organization focused on technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Roth envisions a sea change away from the Peter Drucker era—in which the legendary management consultant recommended outsourcing key business activities like manufacturing—and toward a renewed focus on bringing both low cost and high quality to domestic production.

“It used to be that CEOs got up every day and said ‘How fast can we get to market?'” Roth says. “Now we have CEOs waking up every day and asking themselves, ‘How can I provide the highest quality at the lowest cost?'”

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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