• Jim Brown contributed a guest post to the Siemens PLM Community blog discussing the opportunity for food and beverage companies to leverage digitalization and the digital enterprise to combat market disruption from new, innovate companies that are challenging current industry leaders. The post offers several ways that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can get started on their digital journey, achieve tangible business value, and combat challengers like Blue Apron and Amazon Fresh that are disrupting the status quo.The full post, Surviving the New Competitive Landscape in Food and Beverage, can be … [ read more ]

    Digitalization in Food and Beverage (guest post)
  • Dassault Systèmes continues to make significant progress on the 3DExperience vision they laid out 5 years ago. This strategy has seen them transform from a software vendor offering distinct solutions for a variety of functional areas to a company that leads with a strong business transformation message backed up by a platform of solutions. I dropped "PLM" from the title of last year's strategy review. I feel even better about that decision a year later. They now have a broad software suite brought to market as solutions tailored to support key initiatives in the vertical industries they serve. As times goes … [ read more ]

    Dassault Systèmes Strategy 2017+
  • The Finding PLM to Fit Mid-Sized High-Tech Companies ebook explains how smaller companies in the high technology industry find themselves stuck between full-featured Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems that feel out of reach and less capable solutions including cloud-based file sharing or very basic data management applications. They know they can’t afford the errors and inefficiency inherent to informal data and process management, but can’t afford a large time, resource, and financial investment to fix their problems. Unfortunately simple solutions like web file sharing, while very attractive, fall … [ read more ]

    Finding PLM to Fit Mid-Sized High-Tech Companies (ebook)
  • The How-to Guide to Transitioning from 2D CAD to 3D CAD  shares best practices for moving from 2D to 3D. The guide shares the reasons you should consider going from 2D to 3D, common challenges to avoid, and benefits enjoyed by other companies who gone to 3D. The guide then shares advice to make your switch from 2D to 3D CAD a success. The recommendations were developed by analyzing the responses of Top Performing companies and comparing them to Average Performing companies.This eBook is one in a series of three:Transitioning from 2D CAD to 3D CAD Migrating from 3D CAD to a new 3D CAD Adopting … [ read more ]

    Best Practices for Going from 2D to 3D CAD
  • The Reducing Cost of Quality in CPG report shares perspectives from a survey of over 175 CPG companies to determine how Top Performers manage consumer packaged goods quality. The research finds that these leading companies are able to achieve better quality results with lower internal costs. The report analyzes their processes, organizational structures, and enabling technology to determine how they can get better quality results without placing a financial burden on the business.Please enjoy the summary below, or click the report to download a PDF overview (free of charge, no registration … [ read more ]

    Reducing Cost of Quality for Consumer Packaged Goods (survey report)

Research Rap: Complementary Roles of ERP and PLM in Innovation

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A quick peek into some research on … the respective roles that ERP and PLM play in product innovation. This is not brand new research, but I believe it is just as relevant today as when I initially wrote this almost 5 years ago. Why? Not much has changed – with a couple of notable exceptions (SAP and Oracle). I find myself coming back to this topic on a regular basis, and I am starting to do some research in this area again so I thought I would bring this one back to the surface. It also offers some insight that might be helpful for a recent discussion on PLMTwine that touches on the importance of integrating PLM with ERP.

Complementary Roles of ERP and PLM

The Research
The research identified two clear and distinct sets of business processes that companies use to drive product
profitability. These two sets of processes include:

  • The Innovation Cycle – characterized by rapid iteration
  • The Execution Cycle – characterize by a more linear, repeatable process

These cycles are different, and require different solutions. PLM and ERP were developed – and have since evolved – to meet the needs of each of these cycles. Is there overlap? You bet. Processes like engineering change are consistent challenges to coordinate between these two meta-processes. But for most companies, there is
a clear hand-off point where a design is released to manufacturing
(and external suppliers, for that matter)
where ERP takes over.

Below is a table extracted from the research that helps to show the differences between ERP and PLM. These differences are what make each the best solution for their respective set of processes – execution or innovation.

Comparing Characteristics of ERP and PLM

 

Updating the Viewpoint
So what would I change now that five years have passed? Not much. One other interesting fact from the research (and confirmed by a later benchmark I conducted at Aberdeen Group) is that most companies would really rather have one enterprise solution that covers all of their innovation and execution needs. Unfortunately, at the time none existed. I would love to say that five years later that had changed drastically, but it has not. What has changed? The desire for an integrated solution clearly has not changed, but:

  • PLM vendors such as Dassault Systemes, PTC and in particular Siemens PLM have progressed their integration to ERP, focusing mainly on SAP due to it’s market prominence in ERP
  • Oracle acquired Agile, giving them a PLM solution (two actually, including Prodika) that will be further integrated with Oracle ERP over time, but is also being sold into other ERP environments (again, including SAP)
  • SAP has announced and is progressing on their own SAP PLM roadmap (Update: Look for a One to One on SAP PLM in the near future, we have just had a good conversation with the SAP PLM team about their progress)

Having said that, none of the above are clearly differentiated enough to serve as the “one integrated
answer”
that many companies are looking for. So for now, the best solution is likely a hybrid of ERP, potentially some PLM from you ERP vendor, some best of breed PLM suite solutions, and some best of breed point PLM solutions. Sorry, I wish there were a cleaner answer than this.

So that was a quick peek into some recent research on the roles of ERP and PLM. I hope you found it interesting. Does the research reflect reality? Do you see it differently? Let us know what it looks like from your perspective.