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Ford Shifts Manufacturing Into High (Tech) Gear

Moving from a pilot program to a full-fledged installation, Ford Motor Co. will use software from Nashua, N.H.-based Tecnomatix Technologies to improve the efficiency of its far-flung manufacturing operations.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, the deal includes Tecnomatix's eMPlanner, eBOP Browser and eMReoports products. The Detroit auto maker will use the applications in the design and manufacture of its Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Land Rover lines.

"(Tecnomatix's products) can make a critical contribution to efforts to improve communication between manufacturing and product development, to achieve significant cost savings throughout the process," said Harel Beit-On, Tecnomatix's chairman and CEO.

The increased level of collaboration also allows potential problems to be caught earlier, when they can be fixed at a lower cost.

In other news, Tecnomatix posted a fourth quarter pro forma profit of $200,000, or 2 cents per share, on revenue of $21.2 million. That compares to a net loss of $4.9 million, or 48 cent per share, on revenue of $21.7 million for the same period last year. It ended 2001 with $50.4 million in cash and equivelents.

"2001 has been a year of challenges and achievements," Beit-On said. "At the beginning of the year, we set several goals: to restore profitability; to strengthen our position as the leader of Manufacturing Process Management; and to structure the organization for long-term growth. I am pleased to report that we achieved all these goals despite the general slowdown of the economy."

Tecnomatix was founded in 1983 and has offices and distributors in North America, Europe, the Pacific Rim, and Latin America. Shares of TCNO closed at 13.57 on Monday. In the last 52 weeks, the issue has ranged from 2.84 to 14.53.