By Thuc Nguyen

After 2 years of working at CIDEON America and helping SAP Customers improving their data throughput performance across the entire company and between ERP, PDM/PLM, I have learned that many SAP Customers are implementing SAP just with sole purpose of managing their business processes such as human resources, accounting, customers relationship, manufacturing, etc. Based on our daily conversation with SAP users, I noticed the disconnection between Engineering/R&D and Business Enterprise. Many of them chose to separate PDM/PLM systems and SAP ERP Platform. This disconnection would then cause delays in time to market, manufacturing of the wrong product, higher overhead costs, which impact their net profit.

In many cases, they did not realize that SAP Enterprise Platform is also capable of performing many other functions; supporting cross functional teams, such as managing PDM/PLM and Document Data. SAP Business Platform has one of best kept secret Document Management System (DMS), which customers often already own.

I often hear the old mantra of “work smarter not harder!” too many times in my life and would like to share my personal thoughts with SAP customers who are looking for a way to improve their data throughput between ERP and PLM.

Who is working harder?

Customers who are implementing PDM/PLM Solutions outside of SAP and then realizing that they need to share product engineering data such as 3D View of a part or an assembly, Engineering Bill of Materials (EBOM), Drawing or Specification in PDF etc. with SAP ecosystem. The only way to do this when you have separate systems is manually upload the data into SAP or through an adapter or interface to SAP. This is not efficient and productive process because it requires human interaction. We have to work hard in order to get what we need into SAP.

Who is working smarter?

SAP Customers who are integrating their Engineering/R&D Team directly with SAP PLM Engineering Control Center. All relevant product data and object links are available at any time for downstream processes. This includes procurement, project system, production planning, production preparation, production, sales, services etc.

According to Oleg Shilovitsky’s THE DEATH OF EBOM VS. MBOM DIVIDE?, Oleg shared his thought on how important EBOM and MBOM is to organizations looking for efficient way of getting their products to the market.

“The connection between EBOM and MBOM is highly demanded. It will come in many ways. One of them is better integration between existing systems. Integrated change management system with search capabilities can be a solution deployed on top of existing PDM/PLM and ERP repositories to manage all transactions and changes.”

Engineers can work comfortably in their own CAD environment – there is no separation between ERP and PLM system. The conversion from EBOM to MBOM is fluid. Continuous SAP change management with a complete change history in one system. Significant cost savings due to optimized CAD process integration in SAP and no cost for a 3rd party PDM system or its interfaces to put the data where it needs to be… in SAP.

My Conclusion:

In today’s competitive environment, manufacturers face increasing demands to deliver the right product, with zero defects, on time and in budget. Meeting these requirements often means short design and product engineering cycles. SAP Document Management Solutions (DMS) provides your company a single source of truth, which can aid the seamless delivery of products from design conception, right through to manufacturing and distribution. SAP is one of few systems on the market that offers a fully integrated, closed-loop, product lifecycle solution. By closing the loop between PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), MES (Mfg. Execution System) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, manufacturers are able to facilitate data sharing between the functional areas of engineering, the shop floor, and front and back offices. The goal is to deliver visibility that will help streamline product delivery cycles, eliminate redundant manual processes and waste, and help proactively pinpoint and correct quality issues before they become too costly and pose barriers to customer satisfaction. So what is your PLM strategy? Will you work harder, or smarter?