In today’s fast-paced manufacturing landscape, the new norm is to constantly seek ways to optimize your operations, increase productivity, and reduce costs. The integration of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems is a proven strategy for achieving these goals. By aligning these two critical systems, you can unlock a world of opportunities to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, and drive success throughout the entire product lifecycle.
In this blog, you will uncover the benefits of integrating ERP and PLM systems. We’ll also provide you with a detailed breakdown of the ABCs of integration – which data should be integrated, where and how that data should be integrated, and when it’s best to start the integration process.
ERP vs PLM
Before diving into the integration process, it’s important to understand the functions and purposes of ERP and PLM systems.
Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP systems are designed to manage physical assets, encompassing activities such as financials, purchasing, HR, demand and order management, forecasting, production planning, inventory management, and logistics. These systems such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics ensure that products are produced according to demand, within schedule, and controlling costs.
As many have come to understand, the key to achieving success within your production process lies in adequately planning for the use of enterprise resources to meet customer demand and report financial results.
That’s why an ERP suite is designed with this goal in mind. It empowers your business with the tools and capabilities to effectively manage traditionally back-office resources, ensuring that operations align seamlessly with customer demand.
By harnessing the power of an ERP suite, you can optimize your planning processes, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver superior financial results to your constituents.
Product Lifecycle Management
On the other hand, PLM systems such as Arena, Agile, Teamcenter, Windchill and Autodesk are focused on managing the digital product definition. They are purpose-built to manage the digital product definition, encompassing anything that defines the form, fit, and function of a part, system, or vehicle.
PLM systems deliver comprehensive and robust data management capabilities, standardize and automate your product development business processes, and enable flexible and efficient collaboration with global teams across multiple departments and organizations.
As you can see, both of these systems have important functions for a smooth running production process, but they can often be disparate within a company. Understanding how to integrate these systems is the key to advancing the way you do business.
Integrating PLM and ERP
When it comes to integrating your ERP and PLM systems, understanding how to do that can feel overwhelming. There are three different levels of integration: one-way file push, API call, and a third-party integration platform. Understanding which level fits the needs of your company is vital for a successful integration. Let’s explore some key advantages:
Integration allows you to experience seamless data flow and improved collaboration between departments, eliminating redundant data entry and ensuring data accuracy. This streamlined workflow minimizes errors and delays, optimizing your productivity and reducing cycle times throughout the product lifecycle. You no longer have to manually enter BoM data into an ERP system and ensure that the data is correct in both systems.
Enhanced Data Visibility
By integrating ERP and PLM systems, you gain a holistic view of your product information. This integrated approach eliminates data silos and provides real-time visibility into critical data points, enabling you to make informed decisions and eliminating guesswork from your operations.
Improved Product Quality
This process empowers capture and link quality-related data at every stage of your product lifecycle. This comprehensive view of product quality enables you to detect issues early on and streamline processes for corrective actions, ultimately leading to improved product quality and increased customer satisfaction.
Integrating ERP and PLM systems eliminates the need for you to duplicate data entry and automates data exchange between systems. This saves you time, reduces errors, and minimizes your operational costs. Additionally, with better inventory management and production planning capabilities, you can optimize your resource allocation, minimizing wastage, and improving your cost efficiency.
Accelerated Time to Market
When you connect your engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain processes, your teams can seamlessly collaborate in real-time, enabling efficient communication and shortening your product development cycles. This collaborative approach gives your business a distinct competitive edge in the market, helping you achieve success.
Levels of Integration
When it comes to integrating your ERP and PLM systems, understanding how to do that can feel overwhelming. In the case you don’t know what level of integration would be best for your company’s needs, let’s explore the different levels below:
One-Way File Push
The first level is a simple one-way push. This means that your PLM system has the ability to create a data distribution packet (ex. BoM in a CVS, part file or PDF file format) that is released to the ERP system and then the info is stored in both systems.
This type of push can be set up to be done either direction to maximize data sharing and a smooth process. This level of integration will log everything, but not provide error or checking feedback. This is a great level for companies looking to minimize issues of mismatched data.
The second level of integration is connecting your PLM system directly with other systems – Microstoft dynamics or other systems. This means that there is a rest service API call from the PLM system to release data directly into another system.
That being said, you will get error checking and logging from this level of integration, unlike the first level. A company might opt to do this level due to a need for logging and checking or because their ERP system doesn’t support importing data through files like the initial level would require.
Third Party Integration Platform
The third integration level piggy backs off of level two. Not only does it have logging and checking, but it performs a push and pull between the systems seamlessly. This level of integration works well for large companies with multiple systems to push and pull from. There are are third party integration tools like Tibco that integrate systems such as SAP and Oracle.
Ultimately, understanding the basics of ERP and PLM integration levels and the influencing factors such as cost, error checking, number of systems, company size and many more, is vital to understanding which level fits the needs of your company.
So, what are the next steps to finding that right integration and beginning your journey?
Next Steps of Integration
Integrating your ERP and PLM systems is a game-changer for your manufacturing business. By streamlining workflows, enhancing data visibility, improving product quality, optimizing costs, and accelerating time to market, this integration unlocks a world of opportunities for success.
While you may be hesitant to begin an integration like this because of data clean up still needed, EAC is here to provide services to clean up data to make sure the integration runs smoothly.
Finding a trustworthy partner to help with implementation can be difficult and daunting. Lucky for you, EAC has years of deep expertise in manufacturing processes to ensure a smooth integration journey. We work collaboratively with you to assess your requirements, design a tailored integration strategy, and seamlessly implement the solution that meets your specific business goals.
With EAC by your side, you can confidently embark on this transformative journey, knowing that our collaborative and solution-oriented approach will help you navigate the complexities and achieve your future state. Get in touch with EAC today and let us drive your success through integrated ERP and PLM systems.
In today’s world, it’s not uncommon for companies to be rich in data but poor in insights. Despite having access to a wealth of information, organizations struggle to properly analyze performance and drive transformational improvements. This is where ThingWorx Digital Performance Management (DPM) steps in to bridge the gap.
This week in your factory, you’ve applied maximum effort, pouring countless hours into perfecting your product. As the work week ends, a feeling of slight disappointment remains.
Could you have accomplished more? Where did it go awry? You may not be able to find the answers on your own, leaving your factory inefficient and operating below its full potential.
If this is you, look no further. With the capabilities of Thingworx Digital Performance Management, you will unleash an untapped potential of data and boost your manufacturing processes.
What is Digital Performance Management?
ThingWorx Digital Performance Management (DPM) is a cutting-edge solution designed to help organizations identify, prioritize, and improve production issues.
By capturing lost production hours and their causes, DPM indicates where to focus for the most critical impact. Also, it optimizes the finite time available, allowing organizations to reclaim lost hours and increase effective time by 20% or more. Thus, directly impacting the bottom line.
How Does DPM Work?
Consider a manufacturing facility that can produce one unit per hour. In a week with 88 hours worked, the facility manages to manufacture only 44 units. Let’s say 12 hours are lost through planned downtime and 14 hours are lost due to changeovers.
That leaves about 18 hours unaccounted for. Where did those come from? With ThingWorx DPM, you can quickly identify issues, and why they happened, and then take appropriate actions to fix them.
Moreover, DPM calculates and analyzes discrepancies, providing valuable insights to improve productivity. DPM is a comprehensive toolset that propels organizations towards peak performance by tracking performance, conducting in-depth analysis, planning, and validating improvements.
The Production Dashboard
One feature included with DPM is the Production Dashboard. The visual dashboard is a crucial tool for supervising shift performance and gathering vital data to inform reporting and analysis. It is designed for supervisors and line managers to track productivity across various production lines.
Some key features of the Production Dashboard include:
Provides insights into shift progress at the production block level
Allows for automated and manual data entry, including reason codes to capture all losses
And offers a simplified interface to minimize disruption
The Bottleneck Analysis tool is designed to automatically detect and monitor the most significant bottlenecks in your factory, providing valuable analysis and insights into OEE and OLE.
One of the challenges that customers face is a lack of visibility into bottlenecks, which leads to a disconnect between continuous improvement efforts and their impact on the business. However, bottlenecks are often dynamic and complex.
To address these challenges, DPM offers key capabilities to help identify and resolve:
Automatically identifying and tracking bottlenecks.
Systematic identification of the top constraints, which can significantly increase factory efficiency by 5-20%.
Management of the dynamic nature of competing bottlenecks.
Overall, DPM works relentlessly, making up for lost time by tracing the root cause of issues and providing precise remedies to ensure smooth and efficient functionality. Consider DPM an invaluable employee, working tirelessly around the clock without additional overtime costs!
Accelerate Problem Solving with DPM
DPM’s capabilities extend beyond surface-level analysis. By combining Pareto analysis and time loss analytics, DPM users can uncover and address a significant percentage of production problems.
For instance, a DPM user noticed quality losses between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Thanks to DPM’s automated analysis, the manufacturing team quickly determined that the issue was caused by a glare from the sunset, making the inspection camera unreliable.
All in all, DPM helped accelerate the problem-solving process saving valuable time and resources.
Reap the Benefits
Digital Performance Management is as remarkable as it sounds. DPM holds the secret to your production improvements and is ready to share them with you. Discover the plethora of benefits that are tied to DPM:
Standardized Measurement: DPM provides a consistent and standardized approach to measure losses, ensuring accurate evaluation of bottlenecks, and their impact on performance.
Efficient Root Cause Analysis: Leveraging AI technology, DPM identifies the root causes of bottlenecks and facilitates their permanent resolution, eliminating recurring issues.
Automated Problem Identification: DPM’s powerful AI algorithms automate the process of surfacing common issues, exponentially reducing the time spent on problem-solving.
Real-time Insights: What once took months to identify critical insights now becomes easily accessible through DPM’s intuitive interface, providing teams with immediate access to actionable insights.
Get Started with DPM Today!
In conclusion, if you want to revolutionize your performance management and take your organization to new heights, it’s time to embrace Digital Performance Management.
Remember, in today’s fast-paced world, those who leverage technology to gain insights and make data-driven decisions are the ones who thrive.
Are you ready to unlock the true potential of your organization with Digital Performance Management? Talk with an expert now to take your first steps toward success.
JR Automation, a Hitachi Group Company, leveraged EAC Productivity Apps to solve Windchill PLM frustrations, scale their business operations and improve the shop floor experiences of their engineers. Discover how JR Automation implemented PLM Apps to gain ROI, bring efficiency and clarity for builders on the manufacturing floor, and achieved scalable digital transformation.
JR Automation knew the company needed to update operational processes in order to meet and exceed customer expectations. Their goal was to reduce the time it was taking builders and engineers to manage print packages by 80%.
Additionally, they wanted to increase efficiency by 5% or more during the assembly phase. Including enhanced communication on the shop floor. As well as saving time on machine assembly and tactical coordination. As such, was estimated to be taking up 30% of a builder’s day.
With an increase of workers on the shop floor, builders had no choice but to walk back and forth to shared kiosks in order to visualize and assemble designs. These complications only intensified as products became more complex. With manual error-prone operations, redline quality, and accuracy were at stake.
Similar to many other manufacturing organizations, challenges arose when it came to searching for the correct prints, managing paper booklets, and updating print designs.
Rework stemming from incorrect designs, and file management complications were growing. Also, misplaced product information (needed for closed-loop change processes) had never been greater. JR Automation was seeking a simple way for low-tech machine builders to get last-minute design changes to engineering. Ross Walters, Director of Engineering, knew that builders required a solution that was highly intuitive.
The Solution: EAC Apps
JR Automation looked at PTC ThingWorx Navigate. ThingWorx Navigate does offer a single view to multiple enterprise systems like ALM, MRP, ERP, SLM, CRM, Accounting, and PLM (Windchill). It also gives users universal access to the latest most accurate product information when they need it.
However, it was clear to JR Automation that what they really needed was a customized app that made things easier. EAC’s experts knew the solution and streamlined processes that allow builders to get drawings, CAD files, and other related documents in a single portal. With EAC Apps they could also see role-based reports and make redlines.
By providing all the information needed on a single screen, with user-friendly workflows and easy-to-submit redlines, EAC apps improved operational efficiency as well as customer satisfaction.
A Custom Solution with Major Impact
After evaluating cost, functionality, implementation time, training, and other considerations, JR Automation unveiled they would gain an ROI of $1.4 million from EAC Productivity Apps.
EAC Apps benefited JR Automation with:
- 80% efficiency increase in print management for mechanical engineers
- 60% efficiency increase in builder print management
- 60% increase in digital efficiency gains
In conclusion, JR Automation’s builders no longer need to share a kiosk. Working with EAC enabled efficiencies for more than 200 workers who use Redline Apps today. They have eliminated the need for paper, print supplies, and additional booklets saving them additional costs. EAC Apps have continued to provide benefits such as improved accuracy with customer shipment orders, product designs, onboarding, and training efficiencies.
Learn more about EAC Productivity Apps here.
Digital transformation has become a buzzword in recent years, and for good reason. Companies that embrace digital technologies are more likely to stay ahead of the curve, differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and meet the evolving needs of their customers.
The benefits of digital transformation can be far-reaching, from improved customer experience to cost savings and increased efficiency.
In this blog, we will explore the various benefits of digital transformation, and why it is essential for companies to embrace this trend in order to remain competitive in the digital age.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a term used to describe the process of transforming an organization’s business model and operations through the use of digital technologies. It’s important because it can help you stay ahead of your competition, improve customer experience and attract new customers.
The benefits of digital transformation include:
- Improved customer experience: Digital transformation can help you better understand and meet the needs of your customers. With the use of data analytics and other digital tools, you can gather insights into customer behavior and preferences, and tailor your products and services accordingly.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: Digital transformation can automate many processes, reducing manual labor and freeing up staff to focus on higher-value tasks. This can lead to increased efficiency and productivity across your organization.
- Competitive advantage: By embracing digital technologies, you can stay ahead of your competitors and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. This can help you attract new customers and retain existing ones.
- Cost savings: Digital transformation can help you reduce costs by streamlining processes and eliminating unnecessary steps. This can lead to significant savings over time.
- Innovation: Digital transformation can open up new opportunities for innovation and growth. By embracing new technologies and ways of working, you can develop new products and services that better meet the needs of your customers.
See how JR Automation saved seven figures with embarking on their digital transformation journey:
Creating a Digital Transformation Roadmap
The first step to creating a digital transformation roadmap is to identify the scope of your transformation. What are you trying to achieve? What are the goals and objectives of your business? How will you measure success?
Once this has been determined, it’s time to set up a timeline for achieving those goals.
Once these steps have been completed, it’s time for action! You should now have a clear idea of what needs changing within your organization and how long it will take before those changes become visible.
Building a Digital Transformation Team
When you’re building your digital transformation team, it’s important to define roles and responsibilities. You’ll want to make sure that everyone understands their role in the process and what they are expected to do. For example, if someone is responsible for monitoring the performance of shop floor machines, they should know what the ideal OEE is of each machine, how they are going to collect that data, and how they are going to distribute it to enterprise decision makers.
It’s also important that you select team members who have complementary skillsets and experience levels. If one person has extensive knowledge of augmented reality while another knows nothing about it at all, this could lead to problems down the line when it comes time for them both to collaborate on projects together – and no one wants that!
Finally, creating a culture where collaboration happens naturally between team members will help ensure successful outcomes throughout your digital transformation project(s).
Adopting the Right Technology
The first step in digital transformation is choosing the right technology. You’ll want to consider:
Software: What are your current needs and how will they change over time? Will you need additional features or functionality?
Hardware: Do you have enough computing power and storage space for all of your data, or does it need to be scaled up or down depending on usage patterns at different times of day/year/etc.? Do you have sensors to track data that you need for production insight?
Tools: What tools do developers use to build applications on top of this platform (e.g., Creo vs. Solidworks)? How easy is it for them to integrate their code with existing systems like databases and messaging queues? Are there any security issues with using these tools – and if so, how can they be mitigated by using another tool instead (e.g., switching from MySQL database server software to Microsoft Azure).
Developing a Digital Transformation Strategy
The first step to developing a digital transformation strategy is to define the scope of the project. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your objectives, and how will you measure success?
These questions can help guide your organization through its transformation journey by setting realistic goals for both short-term wins and long-term gains.
Once you’ve defined what needs changing, it’s time for step two: defining how those changes will happen. This involves creating an action plan that includes timelines for each phase of implementation as well as resources required for each stage (e.g., time from IT staff).
Some companies may choose to tackle multiple projects simultaneously; others might choose only one area at a time depending on their resources available in terms of money/manpower/etcetera).
Implementing the Digital Transformation Plan
Develop a timeline. The first step in implementing your digital transformation plan is to develop a timeline with milestones that will help you track progress.
Set goals and objectives for each milestone. Once you’ve established your milestones, it’s time to set goals and objectives for each one of them so that everyone involved knows exactly what needs to be done at any given time during the project.
Track progress regularly by reviewing dashboards or reports generated from data collected during testing phases of development projects (if applicable). It’s important not only for managers but also employees on lower levels within organizations who may not have access
Monitoring and Evaluating Performance
Monitoring and measuring performance is an important part of the digital transformation process. It allows you to identify areas where you are successful, and areas that need improvement.
Monitoring can be done using a variety of tools, including:
Data Analytics Dashboards (e.g., Thingworx Analytics)
Digital Twin Performance (e.g., Augmented Reality)
Adapting and Adjusting the Plan
As you progress through your digital transformation, there will be changes in the market that you need to respond to.
If a competitor introduces a new product or service, or if something happens in the industry at large, it may change how you approach your own strategy.
You might also find that your goals and objectives have changed since they were first set out; perhaps there’s been an increase in customer demand for something specific that wasn’t previously considered important enough for inclusion on the list.
The best way to handle these situations is by reviewing them regularly with other members of your team – and making sure everyone has input into decisions about how best to adjust course as needed.
Communicating the Benefits of Digital Transformation
In order to communicate the benefits of digital transformation, it’s important to understand who your stakeholders are and what they want.
If you’re working in an organization with a large number of stakeholders (such as a government agency), then there may be multiple groups that need convincing. For example:
The board wants to see results from their investment in IT infrastructure. They’ll likely be interested in metrics such as ROI and cost savings.
Executives want quick wins that will help them achieve their goals, but they also need proof that this new approach will work before they can commit time and resources to implementing it throughout the organization.
Employees want something tangible they can hold onto when explaining why this change is important for them personally (and why it matters).
Digital transformation is a powerful tool that can help you achieve your business goals. It’s important to remember that digital transformation is not just about implementing new technologies, but also about changing how you work and think as an organization.
Digital transformation requires commitment from everyone involved in the process – from the C-suite down through every level of your organization.
To be successful, it must be an ongoing effort rather than a one-time project or initiative. You will need to continuously innovate and improve what you’re doing if you want to stay ahead of competitors who are also pursuing digital transformation strategies.
In conclusion, digital transformation is becoming increasingly essential for companies to stay competitive and meet the needs of their customers in the digital age. However, the process of digital transformation can be complex and challenging, which is why EAC assessments can be extremely helpful.
By conducting an assessment of your organization’s current digital capabilities and identifying areas for improvement, you can develop a roadmap for digital transformation that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.
EAC assessments can help you identify gaps in your digital capabilities, streamline your processes, and develop new products and services that better meet the needs of your customers. By embracing digital transformation and leveraging the expertise of EAC assessors, you can position your company for success in the digital age.