Software for Sponsorship

By Doug Bartholomew  |  Posted 2006-06-07 Print this article Print

The company, which fields six NASCAR teams, turned to product life-cycle management software to improve performance and reliability of its race cars.

Software for Sponsorship

The racing firm got a break on the cost of the system—estimated at up to $10 million for the software alone—by providing sponsorship to UGS. By getting its name on a race car in front of millions of fans and TV viewers, the software firm, in exchange, got millions of dollars in free exposure.

If there was a "gotcha" moment for Hendrick's adoption of the UGS PLM system, it was in getting everyone to use it. Whenever you have a new system, Wall points out, "Some people are going to get behind it, and some people are going to be dragged along kicking and screaming."

Among the cultural hurdles: Hendrick employees—as with most engineers and mechanics at racing outfits—are known for having an independent streak. "We're a bunch of cowboys who tend to cut a lot of corners," Wall asserts. "We tend to have not very regimented workflows and business practices."

One business practice Hendrick understands well is winning. Its top driver, Jimmie Johnson, took his No. 48 Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 20, winning the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge. With nine of the season's 36 races behind him, Johnson is in the lead in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship.

Doug Bartholomew is a career journalist who has covered information technology for more than 15 years. A former senior editor at IndustryWeek and InformationWeek, his freelance features have appeared in New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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