System integration is much easier than you might think; here’s why.

The idea of linking business systems and consolidating data, also known as system and data integration, has become a major initiative for many companies – but most organizations have no idea where to start. Why? It’s an overwhelming topic! Organizations operate using any number of complex business systems. The idea of connecting everything seems hard. 

We live in world that is continually being transformed by data, yet much of the data we capture is held captive in disconnected enterprise systems that often include ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, and QMS systems to name a few. This article explains why it is much easier to successfully integrate data and systems than you think.

What is system integration and how does it work?

System integration involves linking together component subsystems ensuring those separate, specialized business systems function as a coordinated whole. You might think of system integration a way to aggregate business subsystems so all systems within a business environment cooperate together as one.

The importance of system integration

When all enterprise systems work together as one, an organization is able to obtain new levels of role-based productivity and company-wide collaboration.

By combining disparate systems that operate with their own distinct data sets, an organization can improve product quality and performance, reduce operational costs, improve response times, and increase overall value to customers. We’ve watched our customers recognize exponential returns as more systems and users come together. It’s much easier to combine and integrate systems and data than you might think and let’s talk about why.

System integration solutions exist!

The problem with integrating systems/data is not a lack of technology – great system integration solutions exist! In fact, there are numerous connectivity tools and software applications available on the market today, that can simplify and speed up system integration. Many of these connectivity tools work in real-time, between data warehouses, software applications, IoT platforms and more!

Connectivity tools, such as applications and system plugins, enable organizations to easily create an environment of integrated data and information. These environments help manage the business itself and automate many tedious back-office functions related to technology, services, and human resources.

Take product lifecycle management applications (PLM apps) for example.

PLM applications connect all system data (from systems such as ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, QMS, & more) and easily transform that data into a single interface with instant visualization. This allows someone from purchasing to instantly access materials, inventory and any other information they might need – without disrupting certain system operators. Furthermore, chances are that a partner from one of your current enterprise systems already is or has a system integration expert that can help you integrate your enterprise systems. (but in the case that you don’t, our company EAC Product Development solutions is capable and happy to help – it is one of many areas that we specialize)

Systems Integration tools are easy to implement

Today many enterprise system platforms can multiplex the reach of information and functionality that you already have on your business and make it reachable.

The steady shift of business systems into web-based connected architectures has made it easier than ever to connect enterprise systems! As a matter of fact, enterprise systems that you’re already using are likely to already have built-in application program interface (API) capabilities.

These built in API capabilities allow applications to talk to each other, while specifying how software components should interact. It boils down to this; get the right software to leverage your system’s API capabilities and you’re on your way to integrate business systems.

System data integration platforms can be affordable

Not only are there many integration applications and tools available on market today, but many of these connectivity solutions are becoming more and more affordable.

One of the greatest benefits of system integration solutions is that they oftentimes cost only a fraction of what it would cost to implement an entirely new enterprise system to do something! And the benefits quickly outweigh the costs when your productivity levels spike!

Integration applications are easy to use:

It’s now easier and less risky than ever to use data integration tools. In fact, many integration applications are designed with the user in mind.

Today many system data integration applications incorporate extremely easy-to-use, ready out-of-the-box features and capabilities! A great example is a tool like ThingWorx, PTC Navigate, or EAC Productivity Apps. These tools are designed to quickly provide integrated access to timely relevant information.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make the most out of your enterprise system data by integrating your systems.

Need help getting started? That’s what EAC Product Development Solutions is here for. It’s our job to make your system integration smooth, easy, and effortless. Let’s talk about the next steps. We would love to help you find a system integration solution that fits your organizational needs. Fill out the form to have someone from EAC contact you about integrating all of your systems, once and for all!

Communicating product data across an organization is complex. Let’s talk about how to make it easier.

Different departments gather product data from a variety of systems including Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, Manufacturing Execution systems (MES), and Quality Management Systems (QMS) and more, how do we know our organizations are making the most out of all this information?

Just think about it for a second. Our systems speak different languages, AND our departments often aim for different goals. 

With an estimated 90% of the world’s data created in the last two years alone (Conner, n.d.), it’s no wonder that companies are having a hard time using it all.  The IDC estimates that just 0.5% of the data companies produce is ever used. It’s time to change that.

Here are 9 Ways Your Business Will Benefit From Connecting Your Data systems.

1. Increased Usability 

Data experts believe that if Fortune 1,000 companies increased the amount of data they used by just 10%, they could realize over $65 million in additional net income (Marr, 2015). Not only are these numbers huge, they also help make my case about the critical importance of data usability.

The truth is – any one specialized system is often too complex for many non-specialized roles to navigate, find, and transfer the right information. This often leaves separate departments accountable for storing and sharing uncontrolled, out of date versions of product data. It’s not because they don’t WANT to use the right information. It’s because system complexity and interdepartmental gates make it hard to consistently get the right information. 

So how do we make product data more usable?

A) Consolidating product data from disparate sources into one single system.
B) Give users a way to access the system using simplified role-specific dashboards.

2. Better Data Access

The most important reason your product data shouldn’t (internally anyway) be kept secret is because product data is your company’s most valuable asset.

Not everyone who needs access to specific product information hosted in your PLM system is from your engineering department, so don’t force them to go through the same vigorous Product Lifecycle system training. Don’t make them navigate an engineer’s world one click at a time.

In order to effectively use data, our departments must have ready access to it. We must make rich product information easy to accessible for a broad set of roles.

By creating an organized system that connects all of our product data, your organization will make information easily accessible to users beyond those who have created it.

Just think of the possibilities that come from connecting multiple systems and delivering information to all departments through a single window.

3. Complete Data

Imagine an entire enterprise with access to real data, at the right time, when it’s needed.

By connecting your product lifecycle management systems with your other enterprise systems, every stakeholder within your organization can impact the value flow of product data through your organization. It also equips team members to consistently drive critical decisions with the latest, most accurate information.

4. Better Insights

Better access to data = Better insights. 

Your business teams can and should demand a lot of your PLM processes and solution.

This is one of the reasons why your organization should consider integration technologies and custom front-end solutions – Such as PLM applications. 

A data-driven enterprise with insights into how current products and processes can be optimized can drastically improve productivity. Doing this requires teams to have access to up-to-date, accurate product data.

5. Better Decisions

Ready access to information is especially important to any company developing products.  

Users without access to the system of record resort to error-prone workarounds that can result in inaccuracies, quality problems, and waste.

Decisions made from out- of- date inaccurate data threaten product quality and delay time to market.

Providing everyone in your organization with broad visibility into the system of record will drive better, more accurate decisions. This will ultimately improve quality, reduce waste, scrap, rework, and help you meet your time to market goals.

The analytical possibilities that come with connecting your data will help users across your organization make accurate product decisions throughout the entire development process.

6. Better Products

Who doesn’t want to create better products faster?

Providing your organization with universal data access will allow your company to drastically accelerate product development.

How so?

By connecting disparate systems, you will have access to real-time data allowing you to make better product decisions.

Because your decisions and actions are now driven by up-to-date information, you will achieve a higher product quality.

7. Increased Productivity

Why waste time manually reading, entering and analyzing data? It could be automatically collected, filtered, and combined.

By collecting your product data in one system and providing a simplified role-based interface, any user within your organization can access contextual, up-to-date, real-time product information anytime they need. 

I guarantee your productivity will grow when your organization is able to plan earlier with manufacturing, order materials sooner with purchasing all while your engineering team is spending less time pulling reports.

8. Increased collaboration

Using a system that provides role-based data access to stakeholders throughout your organization provides every role with an ability to quickly understand the status of a part number and how the parts fit together in a design.

This will not only help mobilize and inform the work of teams throughout the organization, but it will also help maximize the success of your product development.

Giving your team the ability to extend and connect your PLM data into the rest of your enterprise will rapidly increase the overall effectiveness of your organization.

9.  Real Results

The ultimate benefit your organization will achieve by connecting your data systems stems from your ability to acquire real results. 

What does that mean?

Positive results have a tendency to snowball into more and more success. Results give your organization the confidence it needs to quickly deliver value. Providing access to the right information empowers a team, department, company to reach their true potential.

We want to help your company thrive. Our EAC Productivity Apps give your organization a way to connect disparate enterprise systems and easily deliver role-based dashboards to increase user confidence and productivity.

 

Let’s talk about ERP and PLM, the differences, the benefits and everything you need to know in order to be successful.

Our most popular blog throughout the years has been a defining article of what the differences are between ERP, MRP, and PLM. If you want a high and fast overview of the terms read our previous blog, “ERP/MRP/PLM” – or keep on reading below for a more in-depth look at ERP vs PLM.

Oftentimes organizations wonder: Do you really need both a PLM and an ERP system? Should you, or can you, use just one enterprise system to manage all of your product information? Which system is best? An ERP (enterprise resource planning) system or a PLM (product lifecycle management) system?

We hear these questions all the time.

This article breaks down the similarities as well as the differences between ERP and PLM so you can make the best and most informed decision for your specific situation.

As an organization, it is in your best interest to use technology as a competitive advantage – therefore it’s important to understand the ins and outs of both systems.

With everyone needing to get products to market faster and more efficiently, it’s good to understand that building and sustaining brand equity is just as important as speed to market.

As your company searches for technology that will give you a competitive edge, it’s crucial that you choose the right technology to serve as the foundation for your digital transformation initiatives.

This means choosing technology that will boost your innovation efforts, fulfill your operational and strategic business goals, and help you get closer to your end customers.

While your company continuously faces tough decisions when it comes to technology investments, you may be wondering if it is better to go all-in on an ERP system or invest in a PLM solution.

After all, both ERP and PLM vendors ‘claim’ they can manage both Bill of Materials (BoMs), costs, changes, and other information related to products.

My goal is to help you learn what system or systems are best for your organization.  

What is ERP and how does it work?

First, let’s breakdown what ERP is and its benefits.

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning systems, software, and solutions.

One of the biggest driving factors for an enterprise-class ERP system revolves around finance and accounting. ERP systems are important because they ensure your quality products are manufactured in a timely, cost controlled manner once they have been engineered and approved.

This could be why approximately 97 percent of mid-sized companies already use an ERP application.

It’s important to also take into account that ERP solutions are considered to be one of the first software solutions to be categorized as an essential business tool. This could also be why so many organizations are already familiar with ERP.

Although there are many ERP software solutions on the market today, systems you may be familiar with might include Oracle ERP, SAP, Epicor ERP, Microsoft Dynamics AX, and a variety of others.

The fact is, ERP systems are generally built to satisfy the needs of business operations.

This means they are often used for manufacturing (such as manufacturing resource planning), human resources (HR), finance, accounting, purchasing, inventory management, order management, distribution, labor, customer service, and more.

An ERP system can take a product to market and is known for handling operational concerns such as logistics, warehousing, and inventory management.

These systems also provide vast amounts of transactional data which can be used to gauge your financial position and make informed choices about future business decisions.

What is PLM and how does it work?

PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management software, systems, and solutions.

While ERP systems take transactional units to market, the data and information these systems use should originate in PLM.

PLM is all about the management of the process behind the product, as well as the history and collaboration that goes along with it.

Some PLM systems you may be familiar with include SAP PLM, PTC Windchill, Area PLM, Teamcenter, Siemens PLM, and more.

By adopting PLM software you can reap many rewards.

PLM solutions allow anyone involved in design, development, and manufacturing to work collaboratively with one set of comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date information.

PLM software works by supporting processes that define your brand, engage your customers, and differentiate your company’s products in the marketplace.

The unique value of PLM provides is that the software delivers a “single source of truth” about your product to anyone and everyone who has anything to do with product development.

The difference between ERP and PLM

A simple way to think about the differences between ERP and PLM is to focus on what each system was intended for, especially because both of these systems originate from very different foundations. 

Product lifecycle management systems focus on planning.

Enterprise resource management systems focus on execution.

To take a deeper dive, the focus for each system influences the key and unique features that the system provides.

PLM is a collaborative planning tool for your products.

The typical users of a PLM system tend to be product designers and engineers who need to work together to figure out what a product looks like and what it should be made of.

Since PLM is about planning everything about your product, it provides capabilities around managing designs, related services, collaboration with red-lining, task management and more.

Most PLM systems even have a PDM (product documents management) system inside of them. This how they often control the history of the intellectual documentation needed to design and manufacture a product.

These systems control and manage everything from CAD (computer aided drafting) files to program, project and change management processes. A PLM system combines all this functionality and integrates it into an overall product lifecycle management process.

This is why PLM solutions have a higher impact on revenue and brand image.

ERP on the other hand is a system focused on making and executing a product. The primary user of an ERP system tends to be people who deal with manufacturing operations.

Since ERP is about execution and fulfillment, it focuses on capturing information around things such as inventory, purchases and more.

While ERP systems focus only on traditional entities such as item masters, bill of materials and dates, PLM solutions encompass all of the iterative, collaborative, and creative processes that make up the vital elements of your product’s lifecycle.

In short, both solutions are vital for a company to develop and make products as efficiently as possible.

How PLM and ERP work together

Despite sometimes being viewed as competing solutions, ERP and PLM systems work very well together.

In fact, these enterprise systems complement each other, and it is in your benefit to have both! We can help you work through a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis if you’d like. Just contact us.

So how do enterprise resource planning and product lifecycle management systems work together?

PLM software provides the single point of product truth used by ERP to manage product resources and financials.

For example, by using eBoMs (engineering bill of materials) data from your product lifecycle management system, ERP can accurately generate purchasing and inventory management records, creating a unified management of both your resources and production.

Essentially, ERP systems pick up from PLM solutions and take finalized products forward.

This means that design, development, sampling, fitting, approval, assortment planning and all other activities essential to creating great products have already been signed off by the time your products reach the ERP system.

PLM systems help define, design, and plan your product. PLM integrated to ERP allows the systems to feed relevant BoMs and file components, so your manufacturing teams can efficiently order, make, and ship your products.

In fact, combining these two software solutions has only improved end-to end business performance and has already proven to be necessary. This is why so many ERP providers have started to acquire and develop their own PLM platforms!

By using ERP and PLM together, your organization can create a powerful source of data, information, processes and workflows. It can make it easier to create and deliver products from idea generation through design to manufacturing and distribution.

Now that you have a better understanding about how PLM and ERP solutions can positively affect the profitability of your entire company, you are in a better position to understand why it is best to invest and integrate both solutions.

PLM ERP integration benefits

Oftentimes, PLM only gets associated with engineering. In fact, many people don’t even realize that the full product lifecycle management system can integrate with ERP.

Rather than considering whether or not a PLM system could complement an ERP system, you should focus on the benefits your organization will gain by integrating the two.

When used together, your organization will have unified control over your manufacturing process and here’s why.

Today, in order to stay ahead of competition it is essential to deliver the right product, on time, and under budget.

To meet these requirements your organization must shorten design time and product engineering cycles.

By using PLM and ERP systems together, you will increase collaboration throughout your entire organization. ERP and PLM work best together as they collaborate and facilitate movement throughout your organization.

Without PLM, your ERP system is likely to consume and manage inaccurate data from design and engineering. This in turn is likely to deliver minimal (if any) improvements to your business.

Only using an ERP system without a complementary PLM system puts your organization at risk of mismanagement of product changes – which could lead to instances of inaccurate financial planning.

Together, PLM and ERP enhance collaboration between engineers, operations, and suppliers as they provide a single source of product truth. This will help you to seamlessly deliver products from design concept through manufacturing and distribution.

Because these two solutions both focus on products, they help create one single version of your product truth. This helps reduce errors and guarantees that your product documents and product versions are under control.

Seamless PLM to ERP integration will enable your organization to be more agile and reactive in all business activities including traceability, cost, delivery, quality, innovation and more. It helps ease your manufacturing process and creates a more cohesive environment.

By integrating both PLM and ERP, your organization will accelerate innovation, increase productivity, improve quality, and boost your overall performance.

Our Solution: Windchill PLM System

PTC Windchill is our PLM solution that we offer to our customers – so for the 97% of you that already have an ERP system, you should consider complementing it with Windchill. A popular blog called, “What is Windchill?” distinguishes all the ins and outs of this system.

 

What is Windchill? | Read the article

Customer Testimonial:

“Windchill and our new ERP system make it very easy to manage customizations and helps us to make sure that we have materials in-stock and on-time to meet those needs. We save about four hours per job with just the front-end BoM load and getting the information into the ERP system – which has been huge for us.” – Myron Pundt, VP of Engineering, ALM Positioners

Watch our video to learn more about ALM Positioners’ success with PTC Windchill 

Why is it important to manage your product Bill of Materials (BoM) in a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)? This is a tough question to answer across the board for every company, but this article breaks down what you need to know.

The level of BoM management in PLM can be dependent on your companies’ products, downstream systems, and product development processes.

With that in mind, here are some general benefits and reasons to manage the creation of your product BoM in PLM.

The benefit of bill of materials management in PLM

PLM in nature is meant to be a tool to help engineering manage their production date while allowing dynamic collaboration and change control throughout the product development cycle.

The data managed in a product lifecycle management system includes CAD and BoM information, as well as additional supporting product information and documentation.

PLM functionality typically allows an organization to store any and all product information in a structured manner. The structured manner is what properly represents the product within all stages of the product’s development.

This includes everything from initial design requirements, to manufacturing requirements and process plans, to quality assurance documents- all linked to a single product structure.

This gives you the ability to graphically see a truly complete representation of any and all products managed within the PLM system.

In addition, many of the top PLM systems (such as PTC Windchill) give you the ability to manage different views of a single bill of material.

For instance, you could see the design or engineering view of the structure and all design information needed for that BoM product structure.

You would also have the ability to look at a manufacturing view that has the structure defined in a way to support the best possible manufacturing process, while it also links to any supporting information and work instructions.

Additionally, you could see a service BoM that represents exactly what is on-site or on the hands of a customer, with linked product information specifically related to service or support (such as a service repair or product manual).

ERP or MES systems are all about the financial and manufacturing execution aspect of product management.

These systems focus on tracking and managing all cost and profit throughout the process.

Because of this, changes are tightly controlled and require significant steps to ensure proper applications across the system.

There are also few systems that allow for full product representation inside of ERP or MES as outlined above. Nor do they fully support many different views of the same BoM.

ERP tends to only manage what is required to properly manufacture or sell a product, which does not always represent the full product design or its full breadth of supporting information and documentation.

There many impacts on these fundamental differences.

When to use PLM for BoM Management

Here are some general concepts as to when to use PLM for BoM management.

When your product development is in the dynamic phases that require many changes and updates at each phase gate, your bill of materials should be primarily managed in PLM.

If your product requires specific requirements management, detailed manufacturing, quality work instructions, or an intensive manufacturing process, it’s in your best interest to use product lifecycle management for your BoM.

At the very least, all of your product information should also be managed, or linked to your product lifecycle management system to ensure full accountability to all information updates required in the instance of change.

Integrating ERP and PLM

At a minimum, if you have an ERP system it’s important to integrate your system together with PLM.

It’s essential to establish key integration points between your enterprise systems that send needed information back and forth to your enterprise resource planning solution. This will help you properly execute new product releases and changes.

By integrating your systems, your ERP processes will ensure all proper tasks and functions are executed in your ERP or MES systems.

From there, your ERP to PLM system integration would send information back to your PLM system to close the loop.

These are our best practices to help you get ahead and to take product data further. We would love to hear about your thoughts about this topic and answer any additional questions you might have. Feel free to drop a comment below or leave an inquiry under let’s talk.

Looking for an easy way to quickly assess your bill of materials and ensure projects stay on-time and on-track?

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Here’s why every manufacturing company should be considering product lifecycle management applications.

Expand PLM software usage throughout your enterprise with PLM apps

Let’s face it, no company uses a single product data management system (PDM) or a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system for ALL of its organization’s needs.

Your organization likely uses an abundance of different technology software to collect and store data. These technologies can include customer relationship management (CRM) systems, quality management system (QMS) software, enterprise relationship planning (ERP) systems, application lifecycle management (ALM) systems, and so many more.

If your organization currently uses a PLM system, odds are you most likely paid a pretty penny for it. So why not make the most of that product lifecycle system investment and use your system’s complete functionality?!

Product lifecycle applications support, enable, and enhance the value and footprint of PLM software. PLM Apps go a long away to assist and ensure consistent access to up-to-date product data. They can help expand controlled access to valuable content and give functional groups a single simplified view of files, data, and content all within a single browser-accessible screen.

You’re going to want to invest in these kinds of advanced technology solutions that simplify data gathering processes and expand the value of your PLM investment. PLM apps are meant to help you find data easier which reduces user frustration and helps take productivity to new levels within your organization.

PLM applications, also referred to as PLM system plugins, deliver on the dreams of many organizations. They are a simple solution that drastically increases enterprise PLM usage.

PLM apps integrate siloed data from disparate systems

With the use of multiple complex enterprise systems, your organization’s data is most likely held captive in siloed systems. Many PLM applications help connect these disjointed enterprise systems using common application programming interface (API) connection abilities.

PLM apps simply pull data from other enterprise systems into a new user-interface through API integrations. They don’t rely on interface features from other enterprise platforms or systems (besides the data and information they extract), therefore, they are less likely to be affected by a new release of the underlying enterprise systems!

PLM apps simplify searches for the occasional PLM software user

PLM apps change the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of your PLM system so that it’s easier to use. This can be useful for occasional or novice users who can feel overwhelmed by the complexity of their PLM system compared to those that use their PLM system on a daily basis.

PLM applications offer user-friendly interfaces that simplify the complexity of PLM systems and make it easier to search, find, locate, and understand product information. In fact, many of these tools even allow organizations to adjust settings for specific users (such as purchasing, marketing, accounting, etc.) so they can access the direct information they need.

PLM apps Many customers we work with use complex product lifecycle management systems such as PTC Windchill or Siemens Teamcenter. Due to the robust capabilities of these enterprise systems (and other PLM systems), many users find product data hard to navigate – especially if they aren’t daily users within these systems.

PLM apps speed up product development processes by providing users with complete access to real-time complex enterprise data.

Product lifecycle applications really do make PLM easier – see it for yourself by watching this short PLM applications video.

Customize PLM apps without disrupting your PLM software

PLM applications and system plugins offer simple and easy ways to customize enterprise product data systems. A PLM Administrator can customize the apps to conform to their company’s goals and prioritization of tasks without disrupting the PLM software itself.

Time after time, we see organizations add PLM customizations to their mainframe PLM software, only to wind up facing dozens of challenges as new system software versions get released. Because PLM apps are an extension of PLM software systems, they are minimally affected by upgraded software versions and updates (if at all).

PLM apps provide organizations with the ability to easily custom tailor simplified product lifecycle management interfaces or mashups. This functionality provides additional value and integration capabilities with other enterprise systems.

PLM Applications offer a brand-new UI for your intricate product data management system; enabling a fresh and simple user experience. They also have started to help organizations solve problems easier and faster with direct, accessible, and instantaneous insights from data.

Your systems are only as good as how you use them. If employees struggle to navigate your product lifecycle system interface, PLM apps are definitely something you should be looking into!

How PLM apps drive flexibility within your organization

PLM applications provide access to PLM information to employees outside of engineering such as marketing, sales, finances, and procurement.

Access to PLM system data provides another way for teams to identify the broad scale of their day to day activities and information. This can help teams understand and prioritize tasks to be more efficient and productive.

This flexibility allows teams to work the way they want. By enhancing a complex system and tailoring each end-user experience, it’s easy to see how these PLM system plug-ins can drastically improve productivity and drive value across an organization.

What is better than providing every department with product information that they want and need to do their job?!

Want to learn more about PLM Applications and how they could pair up with your current enterprise systems? Let’s have the conversation!

You’re likely to have experience with Bill of Materials (BoMs) if the nature of your business has anything to do with product development.

Let’s talk about why bill of materials are so important, how BoMs impact business, and the best BoM management practices. Or check out another helpful article on BoM management, “How BoM Management plays a role in your PLM processes“.

The importance of bill of materials

BoMs define products as they are designed (CAD or engineering bill of materials), as they are ordered (sales bill of materials), as they are built (manufacturing bill of materials), and as they are maintained (service bill of materials).

They incorporate product information from design and engineering, document control, operations, manufacturing, purchasing, contract manufacturers, and more. Bill of materials influence inventory levels, material purchases, shop floor assemblies, and so much more.

In fact, departments often rely on BOM records to get the job done right. Whether you realize it or not, your BoMs drive and affect your businesses’ operational success. This is why it is so important that your organization creates and manages well-organized, correct and up-to-date bill of materials.

BoM information accuracy and why it matters

BoMs require complete and accurate information, in order to successfully benefit design, manufacturing, sales and service building quality products.

The accuracy of BOMs influences an organization’s ability to make well-rounded product development decisions. These decisions fundamentally impact the efforts organizations peruse to generate a product in the most efficient, cost-effective way.

Oftentimes creating BOMs requires input from design, procurement, manufacturing, and sales. Using manual methods to collect and enter items on various BoMs increases the risk of producing inaccurate, out-of-date, or even possibly duplicate BoM versions.

Furthermore, if departments produce products based on incorrect or inaccurate bills of materials, delays to market can occur. This can not only be very costly for an organization, but it oftentimes impacts an entire supply chain.

Inaccurate bills of materials are one of the costliest errors engineering companies can make. In order to avoid the risks of inaccurate BoMs, many organizations have started to reevaluate the way they create, manage, and share product information.

BoM management processes

Bills of materials (such as eBoMs, sBOMs, mBoMs) are most-likely part of your product development process. That being said, what are your current processes for managing those BoMs?

How do you share, collaborate, and ensure the accuracy of your organizations’ bills of materials? Do you find it difficult to manage the differences between them and keep the data consistent across eBOM (engineering bill of materials) and mBoMs (manufacturing bill of materials)?

Odds are if you have yet to implement technology solutions to manage your bills of materials, your methods for BoM management most likely involve spreadsheets, emails, rekeying information, and multiple other systems of communication.

If this is the case, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Studies show nearly 50% of product development companies still use spreadsheets (or sometimes even nothing at all) to manage complex bill of materials!

Despite the big workload that BoM management represents, many organizations are still comparing bills of materials in excel spreadsheets or by opening separate BoMs and manually connecting the dots. This management approach is not only tiring, but it also increases risks of human error and mistakes, especially if the bills of materials are very long.

In fact, is not unusual to find one giant excel spreadsheet on top of information managed by PLM (product lifecycle management), ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management) and other databases. Why is that? The information required to assemble bill of material documents tends to reside within separate, disconnected enterprise systems.

It’s time to change that.

Connecting business systems and information

In a world of complex, role and department-specific enterprise systems, productivity can seem quite limited. But the truth is, with the help of technology, businesses no longer need to operate this way. Collaborative solutions exist, and they really are as simple to implement as they, well… should be.

System integration tools (such as applications) change the way organizations create, manage, and share product information- without even having to upgrade or change current enterprise systems.

Using system API connections, applications can pull data from disconnected enterprise systems and consolidate it into centralized dashboard display windows. In fact, many integration applications are even ready to go straight out-of-the-box (yes, this means they require absolutely no special configurations or complicated implementation at all).

For instance, productivity apps offer simple, role-based access to data and other enterprise systems making it easier for stakeholders to view and understand consolidated product information and data. What makes simple applications that integrate enterprise data even better is the fact that most of these system collaboration tools are even affordable.

With a single view to into multiple enterprise systems (such as ALM, MRP, ERP, SLM, CRM, Accounting, and PLM) you can be sure that users have access to the latest and most accurate product information when they need it, and how they need it. There’s really no catch. Productivity apps really are solutions that are; easy, affordable, and that solve the complexity of dealing with multiple disconnected enterprise systems.

Effective BoM management & bill of materials software

Parallel to system integration apps that can pull and consolidate enterprise data, BoM applications can also automatically consolidate real-time data across enterprise systems.

This means organizations can enable real-time BoM collaboration – and that is a game changer.

Real-time BoM collaboration empowers users with capabilities to collaborate and work together creating a bill, sharing BoMs and associated data, and even preview CAD drawings and images. It also opens up the ability to simultaneously edit manufacturing bill of materials, while completely avoiding duplicate and inaccurate documents. This enables users to get a virtual ‘live view’ of data.

Users are able to maintain and manage all associated product documentation such as part datasheets, materials required, CAD drawings and files, as well as anything else that is needed to manufacture a product all in one centralized location. This reassures one sole accurate and revision-controlled bill of material for a product.

This is exactly why it is so important to establish systems and methods that enable all departments within your product development process to be able to share, collaborate, and ensure the accuracy of your bills of materials.

A simple bill of materials software

Our experts at EAC Product Development Solutions recognized the need for better BoM management within many organizations- That’s why we created our bill of materials software application, BoM Reports.

Our BoM Reports PLM application is essentially an out-of-the-box PLM system plugin. It’s easy to use, simple to integrate, and an extremely affordable for any organization.

We designed our Bill of Materials Reports application with the intention of making manufacturing bill of materials and engineering bill of materials management ‘easy’ for organizations of all sizes. Meaning- our bill of materials software can even work for small businesses!

Our BoM Reports app delivers access to your accurate bill of materials database while it provides visual representations, cost rollup for materials, and detailed informational listings of items within bill of materials.

We guarantee our BoM Reports application will enhance your bill of materials management. In fact, it has changed the way many of our customers do business.

Get More Information about EAC Productivity Apps

Our EAC Productivity app enables purchasers to see product cost roll-ups during design, so they can hit cost targets. It allows project managers to see the highest level status and availability of constituent parts so they can keep projects on time and budget. It helps fabricators see what version of parts go into the build so they can prevent scrap and rework- and SO much more!

We’re excited about how our organization is enhancing product development and we would love to share more information with you about how our EAC productivity apps really work.

If you would like more information about apps that could work for your business insert your information below. We promise not to fill up your inbox with overloads of information, we simply want to share tips, tricks, and tools that will help your organization succeed.