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Evolving Roles of ERP and PLM

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The Evolving Roles of ERP and PLM: Integrating the Roles of Execution and Innovation extends past research on the roles of ERP and PLM, describes the evolution of ERP-PLM integration beyond the basics to a more mature, bi-directional interaction. Reviews how companies can close the loop between product innovation and managing the business of manufacturing.

Please enjoy the free Executive Summary below, or click the report title above to download the full PDF (free of charge, no registration required).

Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview
  • Defining the Roles of ERP and PLM
  • Where does PLM Stop, and ERP Begin?
  • Roles: The Technical Perspective
  • Integrating Innovation to Execution
  • Evolution: Bi-Directional Integration
  • Further Evolution: Advanced Integration
  • Integration: The Technical Perspective
  • Conclusion
  • Recommendations
  • About the Author

Executive Overview

ERP and PLM are two of the most significant components in the enterprise systems ecosystem for manufacturers. Tech-Clarity research report “The Complementary Roles of ERP and PLM” indicates that ERP and PLM play important, distinct, and complementary roles in helping companies achieve product profitability. PLM plays the primary role in product innovation, product development, and engineering while ERP plays the primary role in planning and managing business execution. Of course ERP also plays other important non-product-related roles in accounting, corporate governance, and human asset management. As companies have matured the use of these systems, integrating the two solutions and ensuring they work in harmony has increased in importance.

Until recently, however, research has shown that most companies have limited integration between these systems. As PLM has matured and companies have used it for longer periods of time, the view towards integrating ERP and PLM has also matured. The role each system plays has remained the same – PLM for managing innovation and ERP for managing business execution – but the integration between them has evolved significantly. This is the result of the continued extension of PLM beyond the engineering department and into the enterprise, including the incorporation of more advanced product-related processes in domains such as product compliance, direct materials sourcing, design for cost, and quality planning. Each of these processes has a corollary in both ERP and PLM, with PLM typically taking the lead in designing the approach and ERP taking the lead in putting the strategy into operation and reporting actual results.

Although this two-system ecosystem is a good generalization for the purposes of this paper, it’s important to recognize that real-time execution of these processes is frequently found in more detail-oriented, real-time systems such as Manufacturing Executions Systems (MES), Quality Management Systems (QMS), Supply Chain Management Systems (SCM) and Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM, also known as MRO systems).

The report concludes that manufacturers can take an evolutionary approach to achieve an integrated ecosystem of solutions that spans product innovation, product development, engineering, manufacturing, and support. Regardless of where a company starts with ERP or PLM, their evolution can include the maturation and greater use of each of these systems in parallel with greater integration of the systems to close the loop between innovation and execution cycles. The clear result is that each solution provides value in a unique way to the manufacturing community, and that the combination of the two offers even greater value.

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