In light of recent developments – Our top priority is to protect the safety and health of our employees, customers and community and to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
We are continuing business as we have for the last 24 years to serve our customer needs while also taking all the necessary precautions to keep our employees and customers safe.
However, we are minimizing larger gatherings, such as conferences, trade shows, workshops, and on-site meetings and training. We are offering customers the option of live video conferences and webcasts conducted online in a safe virtual space – we have found this to be very effective in most circumstances.
We want to help you overcome remote challenges
Productivity improvement, process optimization, and maximum return on investment have become the watchwords of industrial production worldwide, especially at a time like today.
Our organization has grown over the years by helping companies leverage remote access and monitoring connectivity solutions. In fact, almost everything we do helps enable remote access to data.
We invite you to explore options that may help your team overcome any remote challenges you may be experiencing. As we know it is critical to continue conducting business as usual during this time.
Remote Software Training: Help your team stay sharp during this transition with PTC certified training courses. We deliver everything from Windchill Administrator courses to training classes for specific PTC Creo tools and functionality.
Although our variety of solutions expands much wider than what we have highlighted in this article, we would love to help you navigate affordable solutions that could easily integrate with your business environment and help you work better remotely.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly. We appreciate your ongoing support and look forward to assisting you in anyway we possibly can.
The EAC Product Development Solutions Team
The very definition of many industries is changing in no small part due to the of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its’ ability to disrupt and generate new business opportunities. Industry leaders across the board are starting to embrace IoT projects, use IoT devices, and build smart connected products using IoT platforms.
This article references real IoT case study stories and internet of things examples from John Deere and Nike to provide you with a better understanding of how the IoT is starting to shake up and disrupt industries.
To paint you a picture of exactly how the IoT is creating business opportunities for organizations today, let’s start with a company you might already be familiar with – John Deere.
Before the rise of IoT
For many years, though, they made simple tractors that weren’t ‘smart’ or connected products, they were just mechanical.
Soon enough, over time, John Deere’s products started to become smart and connected– changing everything for the organization.
Creating smart products & connecting devices
John Deere began to equip their products with digital dashboards, engine control units, sensors to alert users if they are running out gas, if oil pressure is too high, if hydraulic pressure is too low, etc.
By doing so, John Deere began to realize the countless benefits that came along with connecting their agricultural equipment to the internet of things, which eventually would provide the ability to remotely monitor the equipment’s performance.
Now remember, at this point, John Deer was still a tractor company, but as the organization moved forward with their vision of smart connected products, they also created what is called a smart connected product system.
The evolution of a smart connected product system & Digital Transformation
At the heart of John Deer’s product system is what is called a combine harvester. Their combine harvester harvests grain from fields, separates the head or the ear from the stalk, and divides the hulls, cobs, and the husks from the kernels of grain.
Today these smart connected combines have the ability to smartly monitor how many kernels came from a single patch of land, and how many kernels came from another.
In fact, they even collect, store, and send data to the cloud for the following season – so the machine is able to perform what is called a smart planting scheme.
During the smart planting scheme, the tractor hooks up to a tiler, which is basically a plow. As the plow works the soil, the equipment frequently fertilizes it, particularly with nitrogen. The equipment then follows its smart planting scheme – if the yield was low, nitrogen application should be high in a particular spot. If the yield was high, nitrogen should decrease.
Next from the connected product system comes the tractor pulling the planter that puts kernels in the ground for next year’s crop. It’s doing the same thing.
With a wide variety of seeds, the planter makes smart decisions for specific spots as needed. The smart connected equipment even knows when to use different drought resistant seeds in particular dry patches of land.
Smart products and the internet of things
John Deere created their own unique smart connected product system with the equipment they manufacture. By using smart connected devices, sensors, and building on top of an IoT platform, they slowly started to connect their entire product line.
This breakthrough in farming equipment enabled their products to work together and share data back and forth.
Farmers are now able to correlate their inputs and outputs, while reducing inputs and maximizing outputs. This means productivity and profits.
Taking it a step further, John Deere designed a smart farm system where, depending upon commodity prices, the equipment has the ability to plants different seeds.
Farms that irrigate now have the ability to place sensors in the soil to that read moisture levels. Using this knowledge, the smart equipment is able to determine whether it should apply more or less water to particular locations.
Agricultural equipment can now even assess upcoming weather forecasts and determine if irrigation is critical.
New business opportunities with IoT
John Deere went from selling tractors to selling sophisticated information systems that can run smart farms.
With the technological advancements around today, a company like John Deere now has to determine the actual business they are in.
IoT presents new industry opportunity
Somewhere along the way, while developing smart connected products, John Deere became a software company and a systems integrator.
The internet of things presented John Deere with an opportunity to compete within an entirely new industry.
In fact, some say with this the new industry opportunity, John Deere even has the ability to compete with other well-known IT system integrators – such as Accenture.
The internet of things and smart connected products present a very interesting phenomenon, that’s happening right now.
Homes are beginning to transition to smart homes. Automobiles are starting to become smart. It’s happening everywhere you turn, even if in some cases it might be very subtly, or slow.
Products are evolving
Nike is another great example of how the IoT has started to accelerate and transform organizations.
Historically, Nike has made shoes, clothes and sunglasses – but today, their product line is now much more than that.
For Nike, it’s no longer just about clothes and shoes anymore. Their products have evolved from fitness equipment to fitness monitoring systems – driving personal health and wellness goals.
They too, started connecting their products by adding sensors into their shoes, clothes, and Fuel Bands. This has enabled their smart connected products to help people maintain physical fitness and health.
Businesses possibilities of IoT
With the real-world examples from John Deere and Nike, it’s easy see how businesses are starting to expand their industry boundaries with the internet of things.
The world is changing, smart connected products are continually evolving. What is your organization doing to stay ahead?
Explore the business possibilities of IoT for your organization
Organizations today are adopting valuable IoT solutions to lower operating costs, increase productivity, and develop new products.
The Internet of Things can offer your organization an opportunity to be more efficient whether its connecting devices with automated systems that gather information, analyzing IoT data, creating an action to learn from a process, achieving the pinnacle – remote control, support and maintenance.
We want to help you achieve your IoT objectives
Not sure what the advantages of IoT are for your organization? We would love to help you define and push your boundaries!
Our technology specialists are experts at devising what IoT solutions, devices, projects, and business models are best suited for your organization. Let’s have a conversation.
The internet of things (IoT) is a business and technology revolution. It not only enables the connection and communication with ‘things’ but allows us to manage them.
What makes up the ‘Internet’ in IoT?
The internet is composed of two separate communities; the internet of people and the internet of things or IoT.
The Internet of People
First, let’s break down what we mean by ‘the internet of people.’
The internet of people has grown organically over the past 20 years and has evolved into becoming an interconnected network of billions of people. That’s right, billions. Its primary purpose is to connect people, collate information, and enable people-to-people interaction.
The internet of people allows people to connect by becoming a clearinghouse of information. People post information available to other people, generating a great deal of information that is being pumped into the cloud.
The Internet of Things – IoT
The internet of things has been growing organically for the past 10 years and has the potential to become much larger than the internet of people. Its primary purpose is to connect machines, people, and data.
The IoT also enables people-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions. In the Internet of Things, things are pumping data into the cloud so products can be monitored, controlled, optimized, and automated. During this process, information and data are streaming into the cloud from both people and things.
Combining the internet of people and things
This leads us to the internet. As mentioned earlier, the internet is the combination of internets of people and things into one integrated network. (Of course, they never were really separate, but it helps to think of them that way to facilitate the study of IoT).
Why are businesses investing in IoT?
The market for IoT is huge! Today there are over 20 billion connected devices, and that number is growing at an incredible pace. With connected devices comes a tremendous upside opportunity for IoT investments.
How the Internet of Things is impacting product value
The internet of things isn’t about the internet – it’s all about the things. The things are what’s changing. The trend of smart connected things is really accelerating now that there’s a computer of sorts inside just about everything!
Today, according to the US government Census Bureau, there are about seven billion people on the planet Earth. About one-third of these people are connected to the internet with smartphones, tablets, and computers- yet in 2010 we hit an important milestone where there were more things connected to the internet than there were people on Earth This suggests these connected ‘things’ aren’t just smartphones, tablets, and computers anymore – they are fitness bands, thermostats, vehicles and more! This is where real innovation is happening.
Today, almost everything we have around us is capable of connecting. I’m talking about buildings, appliances, machinery, farms, hospitals, cities – all kinds of things. Now there’s a massive investment that is feeding this rapid expansion of the smart connected products – the internet of things solutions market. The IoT solutions market includes the smart connected things, the connectivity services, the software platforms and applications, the security, the analytics, and really everything related to smart connected products.
IoT Development Workshop
At EAC, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any revolution with respect to potential capabilities that you can add to your products- while we also realize the importance of basing your IoT initiatives around your mission statement. That’s why we created what we call our IoT Development Workshop.
We have made it our mission to help guide organizations like yours to explore and embrace the uncertainty of the emerging IoT market.
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.
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!
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.
“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