Morning coffeeHappy Monday! We hope you had an excellent weekend and that your favorite movie won big at the Oscars. Pour a cup and let’s do a quick recap of last week as we warm up to a new one.

It’s the Economy …

A strong “meh” isn’t really the news we want, but that’s what we’re getting. According to CNN, revised data from the US Commerce Department shows that economic growth in Q4 2013 wasn’t as strong as originally thought at only 2.4%. Yet, “economists call it “impressive” given the federal spending cuts and the government shutdown in October.” Perhaps most worrisome for us is that “[b]usiness investment contributed to growth, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous quarter. ”

PLMish Deals and Earnings

It was a huge week for PLMish earnings, painting a generally positive picture — though more muted than some investors would like. 3D Systems confirmed its preannouncement, saying that Q4 revenue was up 52% to $155 million, on 34% overall organic growth. For the full year, revenue was up 45% to $513 million, on 29% organic growth.

Accelrys, the chemistry and materials modeling and simulation company that Dassault Systèmes is busy acquiring, reported that revenue for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2013 was up 5% to $47 million and up 4% to $169 million for the year, respectively.

ANSYS announced that Q4 revenue was up 7% to $236 million, a slight slowdown as revenue for the full year was up 8% to $861 million.

Autodesk reported that fiscal Q4 revenue was $587 million, down 3%, leading to a 2% decline in revenue for the year, to $2,312 million. Part of that decline is due to buyers choosing subscriptions, and Autodesk offering “flexible license arrangements [to] enterprise customers”; if these customers had bought using traditional methods, revenue would have been up 2% in Q4.

Cimatron announced record revenue for Q4, $12.7 million, up 2% year/year; for the full year of 2013, revenue was up 5% to $44.2 million.

FARO reported that revenue in Q4 was $90 million, up 11% year/year, bringing 2013 annual revenue to $292 million, up 7% .

Mentor Graphics announced that its Q4 (ended January 31, 2014) had revenue of $401 million, leading to full fiscal year revenue of $1.156 billion.

This morning Stratasys reported that MakerBot’s $25 million revenue in Q4 plus 36% organic revenue growth lifted the company to its best quarter ever, with total revenue of $155 million. For the year, total revenue was $484 million.

We’re trying to get caught up on earnings analyses — check back often this week or follow @monica_schnitge on twitter for updates.

Manufacturing Gets Respect — and Some US Government Money

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama last week announced two new hubs for high-tech manufacturing that bring together applied research, training and product development to address emerging manufacturing opportunities. With $140 million in Federal money, the public/private partnerships in Detroit (lightweighting and modern metals) and Chicago (digital manufacturing technologies) are intended to create new jobs, re-invigorate manufacturing and lead to economic growth. Mr. Obama said that he doesn’t want the next “big job-creating discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be made here in America …Typically, a lot of research and development wants to be co-located with where manufacturing is taking place … So if all the manufacturing is somewhere else, the lead we’ve got in terms of design and research and development, we’ll lose that too. That will start locating overseas. And we will have lost what is the single most important thing about American economy, and that is innovation.”

The President went on to say that “our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 new manufacturing jobs over the last four years. That’s the first sustained manufacturing growth in over 20 years. But the economy has changed. So if we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies.”

Hence, the hubs. Mr. Obama said that the hub in Chicago will be a consortium of 40+ companies, 23 universities, labs at Northwestern and the University of Illinois, and nearly 200 small businesses. It’s funded by a $70-million award led by the Defense Department, but the state and its businesses raised $250 million in private funding commitments to help win this bid”.

Siemens PLM’s Chuck Grindstaff was at the White House as President Obama made the announcement, since Siemens will be a top tier partner and PLM software supplier for the Chicago lab. (If you have a photo of Chuck in this august company, send it over and we’ll post it!)

Link of the Week

CAD/CAM managers have a tough job. As Robert Green writes in Cadalyst on behalf of CAD managers everywhere,

As CAD managers, we toil in less-than-ideal conditions. We work long hours, deal with irritated users, and have little budget or authority, yet we’re expected to make CAD/building information modeling (BIM) software work all the time. We have to help our companies meet deadlines and profit goals, while keeping all our users trained so that the wheels don’t fall off the CAD bus. It isn’t an easy or glamorous job, yet we do it because we love CAD technology and want our companies to succeed.

Read the rest of his open letter, especially if you’re a vendor. Mr. Green writes eloquently what many others have shared over a beer.

And One More Thing

I just spent a couple of days with the US Navy, US Coast Guard and the naval engineers that make their ships possible. I studied to be a naval architect and had my first real job at Bath Iron Works, so the event was a combination of “my, how much has changed” and “ooh, that’s still the same”. The military side of the US shipbuilding industry seems to be doing OK, budget messes and indecision aside. What’s stunning is the brain drain, as naval architects, engineers and designers look for more consistent work in other industries. Read more here.

That’s it. Have an awesome week!

The image of the President is from the White House blog, taken by by Lawrence Jackson.