xEngine – A Solution for Integrating Your Product Data
If you look at any product company, you will see that PLM is the primary system where you manage all parts information – BOM structures, design documents and any other supporting content such as work instructions, SOPS, data sheets, and diagrams.
In addition to PLM, there are many other systems which are needed to manage your business processes such as manufacturing, finances, operations, sales and marketing.
PLM and Other Enterprise Systems
With ERP, you can easily manage your financial and operational processes. Many customers have MRP built into their ERP. This is where you need PLM related data such as parts, BOMs, and related suppliers and vendors for those parts. When an ECO is approved in PLM, either to release a new part or to update a design document, you may need to sync this ECO with your ERP to reflect this change in MRP. Similarly, if the part cost is updated in ERP, you may need to bring the updated cost into PLM. The reasoning for this is because many customers need this information in PLM for cost management.
On the other hand, all interactions with customers are managed via CRM. All quality events which originate from customers, are recorded in CRM. This is where customers can submit their product requests and change requests. Many companies implement their design win process in CRM as well. If your product is being used in the field, whenever there is a failure, you will be capturing support cases within CRM. All supporting information such as attachments and affected items will be recorded in CRM. Subsequently, this information will be fed into PLM for further investigation and root cause analysis. Once the analysis is completed, you will need to update the case status and resolution details back into CRM.
Folks within the product design and engineering community spend most of their time working with CAD tools. This is where most of the collaboration around design activity takes place. These CAD tools have part lists & attributes along with engineering BOMS. This information has to be brought into PLM for change control and further integration with other systems.
There may be a whole range of other business applications which need product data. Business Intelligence and analytical apps are just one example. You may have legacy PLM systems which need to be retained until all processes are fully migrated. Supplier and Customer Portals also need PLM-related information. In addition, with the medical device and life sciences industries, you may have integrations with the FDA for regulatory reporting.
We see that there is lot of overlap between PLM and these systems and there is a definite need for integrating product data between PLM, ERPs, and CRMs.
Benefits for integrating PLM with ERP/CRM Integration
If you have an efficient and reliable integration solution in place, it can add a lot of value to your business. Product profitability may go up due to the elimination of errors and waste within the product development process. The manufacturing process will also be efficient when sharing updated docs with suppliers and vendors. You may also quickly respond to market demand by ramping up volume production by coordinating with your partners across the entire supply chain.
For CRM, a key objective would be to have a great customer experience. If your CRM does not have all of the required information available, e.g. product list, you may have to look up that information from multiple systems or worst case, you may have to hang up a customer call before you can find all of the relevant details. Eventually, this will degrade the customer experience and will increase your case resolution cycle time. While having all relevant information available in CRM, it can greatly improve the customer experience as well as improve your case resolution cycle time. The cost will also be reduced due to elimination of the inefficiencies of the entire process. You may also improve your product quality by feeding customer input directly into PLM and the product design process.
Xavor has been offering integration solutions for almost for 15 years to a wide range of industries. Now, based on that experience, we have built an integration solution, called xEngine. Our xEngine Solution is light-weight, highly configurable and is specifically designed to work with Agile PLM.
You can use xEngine to sync parts, documents, and BOMs, from your PLM system with EBS, SAP or any other system. It has bi-directional synchronization capability. This means that you can sync parts from PLM with EBS as well as sync cost information from EBS back to PLM.
Contact us to learn more about our xEngine Solution.
As Xavor’s Managing Consultant with more than 12 years of experience, Saeed has worked with various industries from high-tech manufacturing to medical device. Saeed’s focus has been primarily on integration and portal solutions around PLM systems. firstname.lastname@example.org.