SAP to buy Lighthammer to improve manufacturing apps

SAP to develop technology to deliver real-time transactional integration between ERP and plant floor systems

Business application vendor SAP has reached an agreement to acquire Lighthammer Software Development in a move to help boost the German software company's expertise in manufacturing applications.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in July, SAP said Wednesday in a statement. Financial details were not disclosed.

In an interview with IDG News Service earlier this year, SAP Chief Executive Officer Henning Kagermann said the company planned smaller acquisitions to fill the "gaps" in its product portfolio. At the time, he said it is important for SAP to "generate innovative add-on products" around its core products in a move to keep customers from moving to competitors.

SAP is a key supplier of ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), and SCM (supply change management) software to businesses and organizations in both the private and public sectors.

Lighthammer, a privately held company in Exton, Pennsylvania, specializes in enterprise manufacturing data analysis and collaborative manufacturing software.

Together with Lighthammer, SAP plans to develop "adaptive manufacturing" technology that will allow manufacturers to spot exceptions and performance variances, including root causes and business impacts, according to the German vendor. The technology will enable SAP to deliver real-time transactional integration between ERP and plant floor systems as well as unified, real-time analytics, often referred to as "manufacturing intelligence," the company said.

The planned system will run on SAP's NetWeaver integration platform and meet ISA-95 standards for manufacturing interoperability, according to SAP.

The move to buy Lighthammer is SAP's first attempt to acquire another U.S. software company since losing a bid in March to purchase Retek to rival Oracle.

Whether Oracle plans a counterbid for Lighthammer is not known. Oracle could not be immediately reached for comment.