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.
Codebeamer challenges the fast-paced and competitive business landscape for companies streamlining their software development processes. This innovative application lifecycle management (ALM) solution solves requirements, risk, and regulation compliance issues with ease.
This article explores Codebeamer, the challenges of current regulation operations, and the capabilities of Codebeamer to overcome those challenges.
Application Lifecycle Management
Before we dive into Codebeamer, let’s talk about the impact of application lifecycle management on your production process.
For industrial products, it is estimated that over 90% of product innovation today is driven by, connected to, or enabled by, software. That sort of dependency emphasizes the need for a seamless application lifecycle management system to ensure the production of quality products keep up with the pace of software development.
There are many ways that that industrial product implementations of software might be invisible to consumers, impacting the confidence consumers have on the innovation of the product. For example, the software that controls a vehicle’s braking system, or the software app that remotely starts the vehicle and provides engine oil live notifications are both systems directly affecting the consumer.
To put it simply, ALM drives the functional behavior of a product, enabling software-driven innovation for the life of the software, not only at the product’s initial release. Software updates, for example rolled out to update a vehicle’s braking system or to a mobile app, demonstrate how ALM continues to drive functional behavior innovation beyond production.
That’s why Codebeamer is such a key component to your production process as it regulates all of your requirements and risk factors to ensure your product is up to date and following necessary compliance markers.
What is Codebeamer?
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies need efficient and collaborative solutions to streamline their software development processes while ensuring regulatory compliance.
Enter PTC’s ALM solution – Codebeamer.
Think of it as your project’s central command center, where all the pieces of the product development puzzle come together. It’s a digital hub that fosters collaboration, tracks progress, and ensures that everyone is on the same page; from engineers and designers to project managers and stakeholders.
For companies operating in heavily regulated industries, maintaining compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards can be challenging. Fortunately, Codebeamer simplifies this process with preconfigured templates and best practices.
It enables companies to enforce the use of mature processes, enhance product quality, and streamline safety-critical audit preparations. With Codebeamer, you can achieve compliance with ease, providing a single source of truth for auditors and stakeholders.
Codebeamer’s robust ALM functionalities, such as analytics, requirements and risk management, validation, DevOps, software development and product line management capabilities set it apart from the rest of the competition.
Codebeamer takes all of your development tools and houses them in one central development hub. This makes for any easy access point for all engineering needs and allows your process to be automated for regulatory compliance control.
As a developer, project manager, or team lead, you understand the importance of efficient and collaborative solutions in today’s fast paced manufacturing industry. Without the right application lifecycle management platform, you may face difficulties in streamlining your development processes while ensuring regulatory compliance. That’s where Codebeamer, a powerful and user-friendly ALM solution, comes in.
Product engineering leaders rely on Codebeamer for its enterprise-grade scalability, high availability, top-notch performance, and configurable workflows. With Codebeamer as your ALM solution, EAC is here to partner with you to overcome operational challenges and drive success in your software development efforts.
Overcoming Operational Hurdles
When companies do not utilize the advanced capabilities of ALM software like Codebeamer, they face a multitude of challenges that hinder their efficiency and productivity. Some of the challenges that companies are facing today:
First, teams often work in isolated siloes, with different members using different versions of documents. This fragmented approach leads to miscommunications, delays, and inefficiencies. Relying on paper-based processes further slows down collaboration and increases the risk of errors.
Without the artifact and process traceability provided by Codebeamer, companies face difficulties in tracking the evolution of their projects. No clear visibility into changes and baselines makes it challenging to manage requirements, risks, and test activities effectively. This lack of traceability can lead to confusion, rework, and compromised product quality.
No Continuous Improvement
As many have come to realize, the absence of automated workflows and process reuse capabilities means that companies must resort to manual workarounds, resulting in increased effort and a higher potential for errors. Continuous improvement becomes more difficult to achieve, as the lack of standardized processes and tools hinders the identification and implementation of best practices.
The reliance on Excel, Word, and paper-based processes further exacerbates these challenges, as it hampers industry-specific process enforcement, impedes e-signatures, reviews, and manual validations, and limits collaboration and accountability.
Finally, as companies grow and evolve, their tools often fail to scale with their business needs. This puts a strain on IT resources, as they struggle to address security, performance, and high-availability concerns. The complex web of disjointed tools and broken integrations results in time-consuming and error-prone tool validations, further impeding progress and hindering collaboration.
Without Codebeamer software, companies face a multitude of challenges that limit their ability to optimize their processes, collaborate effectively, and achieve sustainable growth.
Let’s talk about how Codebeamer embraces the challenges of current processes and transforms the way companies manage requirements and risks throughout a product lifecycle. This software offers a range of powerful capabilities that empower businesses to achieve greater efficiency and collaboration.
Comprehensive Lifecycle Management
Codebeamer offers a complete suite of ALM features, including requirements management, risk management, and test management capabilities. By centralizing these processes within a single platform, teams can achieve better visibility and control over the entire development lifecycle. With Codebeamer, your company can effectively manage the flow of requirements, assess and mitigate risks, and ensure comprehensive test coverage – all within an integrated and intuitive environment.
Regulatory Compliance Made Easy
For companies operating in heavily regulated industries, maintaining compliance with safety-critical regulations, guidelines, and quality standards can be challenging.
Fortunately, Codebeamer has a variety of pre-built regulatory process management packages available to meet specific compliance needs by industry. Some of those packages are listed below:
- Agile medical ALM for the development of medical technology & compliance with IEC 62304, IEC 60601, ISO 14971, FDA Title 21 CFR Part 11
- Agile automotive ALM for embedded automotive systems development & compliance with IEC 61508, ISO 26262, Automotive SPICE, CMMI
- Avionics ALM for the development of next-generation aircrafts, airborne equipment, aviation and defense systems. Compliance support for DO-178C and DO-254
These pre-built compliance “templates” make for quick deployment of a system to manage any compliance issues that your company may be facing.
Collaboration & Organization
With its wiki knowledge base, holistic search, and document management features, Codebeamer provides a comprehensive platform for organizing and accessing critical project information. Moreover, secure collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders is facilitated, ensuring seamless cooperation throughout the development process.
Codebeamer goes beyond simple traceability by offering granular artifact, process, historical, and code traceability. This comprehensive traceability allows businesses to track the evolution of their projects with precision, enabling better decision-making and risk management. Additionally, the software enables the reuse of requirements, test cases, processes, and even code, promoting efficiency and reducing time and effort.
With built-in integrations, Codebeamer seamlessly connects with popular tools, enabling smooth data exchange with MS Office and ReqIf formats. The software is also extendable through plugins and APIs, ensuring flexibility and adaptability to meet specific business needs. Furthermore, Codebeamer provides industry-specific workflow templates, along with features like e-signatures, review systems, automated audit trails, and validation. These capabilities streamline processes, drive compliance, and enhance project quality.
Integrating PLM and ALM systems enhances visibility across the engineering digital thread, provides agility to quickly react to changing needs, and guarantees the ability to capture and manage evolving requirements – all while allowing for complete end-to-end traceability.
Being under the PTC umbrella of solutions, Codebeamer now seamlessly connects with Windchill via OSLC, allowing engineers to link and trace between Windchill PLM parts to Codebeamer items like requirements or tests. A smooth overall user experience is ensured by Single-Sign On, links viewable in both directions, and automatic link suspecting following changes.
The graph below shows the different ways Windchill connects with Codebeamer and streamlines the process even more.
Whether your business is a small team or a large enterprise, Codebeamer scales to accommodate your needs. It offers a secure and agile platform, ensuring high-availability for uninterrupted operations. Codebeamer can be deployed as a SaaS solution, hosted in the cloud, or implemented on-premise, providing the flexibility and control required for various business environments. Regardless of the size of your company, Codebeamer can support your Agile delivery, reduce risks and costs, and accelerate cycle times.
Taking Advantage of Codebeamer
Codebeamer is a powerful ALM solution that offers numerous benefits to companies in industrial manufacturing and automotive engineering. Its unique digital workflows, regulatory compliance capabilities, and flexibility make it a standout ALM platform for any development team.
By leveraging its comprehensive lifecycle management capabilities, promoting collaboration and efficiency, simplifying regulatory compliance, and providing a scalable and intuitive platform, Codebeamer empowers teams to optimize their software development processes.
With Codebeamer’s robust capabilities, EAC is here to support your business in achieving greater success, efficiency, and collaboration throughout your development projects.
If your company aims to enhance collaboration, streamline workflows, and achieve higher product quality, Codebeamer is the solution you’ve been looking for.
Our team at EAC is committed to understanding your unique challenges and providing tailored solutions for your business. Let us showcase the expertise we have in manufacturing processes, as we partner with you to achieve success through technology and strategic thinking.
Model-Based Definition (MBD) is more than just a buzzword; it’s a paradigm shift that is reshaping the industry.
This article delves into the revolutionary nature of MBD, as it emerges as a true game changer unlocking endless opportunities for collaboration and innovation – which are truly transforming design and manufacturing processes in ways never seen before.
The Future is No Longer 2D
First, let’s dive into the power of breaking down barriers and embracing new, innovative approaches that are shaping the future of engineering.
Engineering has come a long way since its inception, and visionary designers have always pushed the boundaries of what’s possible by refining designs using traditional 2D formats.
However, even today, many companies continue to use 2D design because it is familiar, comfortable, and has a lower initial cost.
While traditional 2D design formats have been the norm for many years, it’s essential to recognize that relying solely on these methods can have its drawbacks. There is a higher likelihood of errors, miscommunication, and inconsistencies, leading to numerous design reworks and prolonged time-to-market.
The good news is that the field of engineering has witnessed remarkable developments in recent years, offering new solutions that go beyond traditional 2D formats. By embracing cutting-edge technologies like computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing, engineers now have the ability to visualize, iterate, and perfect designs in a digital realm before bringing them to life.
With these advancements, designers can significantly minimize errors and improve precision, making the design process more efficient.
By shattering the limits of traditional 2D formats, engineers can unlock endless possibilities and transform the way designs are brought to life.
So, while traditional 2D design may be familiar and comfortable, it’s time for companies to embrace these new solutions and stay ahead of the curve.
Gone are the days of relying solely on traditional 2D formats and passing papers from design to the shop floor, hoping for a seamless transition.
Model-Based Definition (MBD) empowers engineers to go beyond these limitations and embrace a digital realm where designs are visualized, iterated, and refined with unprecedented precision.
But that’s just the beginning. MBD opens up a world of possibilities for collaboration and innovation. It enables seamless integration with cutting-edge technologies like computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing, making ideas come to life faster and more accurately.
Join us on this exhilarating journey as we uncover the potential of Model-Based Definition and explore how it is transforming the engineering landscape.
How MBD is Changing the Game
In today’s fast-paced manufacturing industry, the need for increased efficiency, accuracy, and innovation is more significant than ever before.
Yet, for countless years, 2D drawings have been the go-to deliverables for product definition.
These drawings have been used by Engineering, Manufacturing, and other users to communicate design form and fit information required to drive manufacturing processes.
But as we know today, In the realm of engineering and manufacturing, efficiency is paramount.
With the rapid advancement of technology, and the need to shorten product development cycles, 2D drawings have proven to be insufficient in some respects.
The ability to seamlessly communicate design intent and product specifications plays a critical role in achieving customer satisfaction and reducing errors. This is where Model-Based Definition (MBD) comes into the picture.
Unlike 2D models, which can be difficult to interpret and visualize, MBD enables stakeholders to better understand the design intent and product specifications.
With MBD, design iterations become faster and more efficient. Modifying the 3D model allows engineers to evaluate different design possibilities without the need to manually update multiple 2D drawings
Likewise, inherent to 2D models is the potential for errors and misinterpretation during the translation process. MBD eliminates this risk by embedding all the necessary information directly into the 3D CAD model.
Furthermore, traditional 2D models tend to require multiple drawings for comprehensive documentation, which can be time-consuming to create and maintain. MBD eases these processes by consolidating all the relevant information into a single digital model, which in-turn, simplifies the documentation process and makes it easier to update when changes are made.
While the transition to Model-Based Definition may require some initial investment and adjustment, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. MBD not only streamlines engineering and manufacturing processes but also improves collaboration, reduces errors, and enhances overall product quality.
Model-based definition offers a new way of thinking about and creating products.
What is Model Based Definition?
So, what is MBD?
Model-Based Definition is a revolutionary approach to creating 3D models so that they effectively contain all the data needed to define a product.
MBD defines the source of Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) as the 3D model (Model-Based) to dictate a product’s features, tolerances, and other critical information.
By incorporating everything into the product definition, MBD aims to replace traditional 2D drawings with comprehensive 3D models. This involves attaching all the necessary geometric, dimensional, and other manufacturing information directly to the 3D CAD model, eliminating the need for separate 2D drawings.
As the manufacturing industry moves towards a more digitally connected and efficient future, Model-Based Definition is at the forefront of this revolution, paving the way for more effective product development and manufacturing practices.
The Future of Engineering: Embracing Model-Based Definition
Let’s talk abut how MBD works.
With MBD, the 3D CAD model becomes the primary source of information, acting as a complete and accurate representation of the product. The embedded data not only includes the physical characteristics but also encompasses vital manufacturing instructions, such as tolerances, surface finishes, and materials specifications.
Through MBD, the design becomes the authority, encapsulating all the essential information, such as geometric dimensions, tolerances, surface finishes, and more. This eliminates the need for separate documents or drawings, streamlining communication and ensuring consistency throughout the entire product lifecycle.
MBD replaces traditional 2D drawings with 3D models that contain all the critical information needed for design, manufacturing, and inspection processes. By embracing MBD, engineers can communicate complex design concepts more effectively, eliminating confusion and reducing errors.
The benefits of Model-Based Definition
Implementing Model-Based Definition offers numerous benefits and advantages for both engineering and manufacturing processes. Some of the key benefits include:
Enhanced Communication and Collaboration
MBD enables effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders in the product development process by embedding all necessary information in the 3D model, eliminating misinterpretation and confusion that often arise from relying solely on written documents.
Reduced Errors and Rework
MBD reduces risks of errors, misinterpretation, and rework by providing an all-inclusive 3D model that enables early detection of design issues through a proactive digital approach.
MBD simplifies documentation by automatically generating accurate and up-to-date technical information, eliminating the need for multiple 2D drawings. This consolidation into a single digital model streamlines understanding of product requirements, facilitates easy updates, and ultimately accelerates decision-making and development cycles.
Improved Design Iterations
With MBD, engineers can quickly modify the 3D model to explore design iterations and evaluate different possibilities. Since all the associated information is directly linked to the model, modifications can be made efficiently, without the need to manually update multiple 2D drawings. This allows for faster design iterations and enhances the overall design process.
Simulation and Analysis
MBD allows for the virtual simulation and analysis of the product’s behavior under various conditions. This enables engineers to optimize designs, test different scenarios, and make informed decisions without the need for physical prototypes.
Better Supplier Integration
Model-Based Definition facilitates seamless integration between different suppliers involved in the manufacturing process. By sharing the 3D model, suppliers gain a comprehensive understanding of the design intent and can provide more accurate quotes, reducing the back-and-forth communication and improving collaboration.
All these benefits lead to less time spent on design and more time spent on making actual products, which ultimately means more time making money.
By digitally defining product characteristics and specifications, MBD eliminates ambiguity and ensures accuracy throughout the entire design and manufacturing process.
In addition, MBD eliminates errors that would otherwise be introduced at the physical stage, caused by manual processes or human error in translating data from one tool into another.
Customer Success Stories
The accomplishment of implementing MBD and achieving success is not an unattainable long-term objective, but a tangible reality that many have already experienced.
Take the case of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD). They implemented MBD and saw several benefits, including an estimated $3M generated annually.
Another example is a case study from PTC, which describes how MBD was used to overcome delays in First Article Inspection (FAI). This case study found that MBD was the missing link to maximizing efficiency and reducing rework.
Additionally, a case study from Capvidia describes how MBD was used to improve process efficiency, reduce rework, create better products with faster time to market, and improve communication between departments.
Lastly, a case study from Springer describes how MBD was used to replace datasets of models and drawings, creating a “single source of truth”.
Numerous companies, among those mentioned and many others, have unveiled the advantages of MBD and have witnessed its profound impact on their manufacturing and engineering processes.
Implementing Model-Based Definition
Implementing model-based definition into your enterprise can be daunting if you’re not prepared for the change. Let’s talk about how to implement MBD despite some of the challenges that may come along the way.
Some challenges you may face include:
- Sharing the MBD model with manufacturers or downstream collaborators. Some manufacturers still use 2D prints and are not used to the concept yet.
- Currently, there’s no universal method to sharing the 3D models. Just like any time you use multiple software platforms, sharing 3D models can be difficult. Some CAD platforms use viewable tools (like Creo view) some use step files, and others use 3D PDFs.
- Lacking the ability to use the model throughout the whole enterprise for things like BOM, change management, quality, data management and revisions. However, Windchill is a great solution for helping with that!
To begin implementing MBD in a successful way, you must clearly define their objectives and identify the specific benefits they aim to achieve with MBD, such as improved communication, reduced errors, and streamlined workflows. It is important to engage key stakeholders from different departments, including design, engineering, and manufacturing, to ensure alignment and gather diverse perspectives.
The next step involves selecting the right software tools and technologies that support MBD, as well as providing comprehensive training and support to employees to enable smooth adoption. The company should establish clear standards and processes for creating and managing 3D models, including annotation, GD&T, and other product specifications.
Ongoing collaboration, regular reviews, and continuous improvement are crucial to refine and optimize the MBD implementation. By embracing MBD as a company-wide initiative and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, companies can successfully transition to a more efficient, accurate, and streamlined approach to product development.
While the transition to Model-Based Definition may require some initial investment and adjustment, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. It not only streamlines engineering and manufacturing processes but also improves collaboration, reduces errors, and enhances overall product quality.
Picture the future state of your company using Model-Based Definition with benefits such as:
- Creating reusable components instead of rewriting them
- Reducing errors during coding by using more precise specifications
- Getting feedback from stakeholders earlier in the process so changes can be made before they become expensive
- Improving team communication because everyone speaks “the same language.”
Model-Based Definition is undeniably an exciting advancement in the field of engineering. With its ability to enhance collaboration, unleash innovation, and redefine design and manufacturing processes, MBD is paving the way for a more efficient and effective engineering industry.
So buckle up and get ready to embrace this game-changing concept that will shape the future of engineering.