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9 Business Benefits of PLM-ERP Integration

Lionel Grealou Enterprise ERP PLM 3 minutes

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Image Credit: PEXEL

Product information flows across the enterprise through numerous processes and across various systems, including PLM and ERP platforms. Among other things, the former is the authoring platform for product creation and engineering collaboration, the latter is the consuming platform for enterprise purchasing, ordering and execution.

In a previous post, I discussed about 3 high-level basic, yet essential, sets of use cases: 

  1. PLM to ERP data flows: BOM information, CAD and work instructions, manufacturing process and station allocation, calculated weight and other material information.
  2. ERP to PLM data flows: supplier information, manufacturing process issue re-alignment, cost, actual weight, product quality and other data feedback loops.
  3. Bi-directional data flows: two-way feedback loops with integrated engineering and manufacturing change management.

In this post, I expand on 9 core business benefits across these use cases (non-exhaustive list), and the importance to keep these simple.

Value from PLM-ERP integration often translates in process efficiency terms through data traceability and change automations. In turn, this derives into product development and manufacturing cost savings, as well as supplier cost savings.

Elaborating on such business benefit include one or more considerations as follows:

PLM to ERP data flows

1. Productivity improvement by providing the ability to “consume” product information (assemblies, CAD and other technical documents in native or read-only neutral formats) across the enterprise in ERP platforms.

2. Improved data traceability and searchability across the enterprise, beyond engineering and manufacturing engineering functions; spending less time searching for information.

3. Reduction of BOM errors and amount of required rework to maintain EBOM and MBOM alignment on the PLM side, seamlessly pushing data downstream to ERP and MES for consumption.

4. Bill of process definition to derive downstream MBOM routing, including operations, steps, sequences, and machine information optimizations—improving the reliability of how parts and components are consumed, minimizing inventory issues.

5. Timely secure data exchange with supply chains, in neutral data exchange format, with traceability and integration across enterprise change processes—to reduce the time spent on finding the right information, but also reduce the number of deliverable errors.

6. Improved electronic work instruction creation and maintenance through change, reducing the need for manual intervention, providing timely resolution of issues and enhanced continuous improvement.

ERP to PLM data flows

7. Aligned supplier data upstream to improve traceability and alignment, contributing to better sourcing accuracy and seamless performance management.

8. Actual cost traceability and optimized cost model though upstream feedback loops, providing enhanced impact analysis capabilities, better change assessment and traceability.

Bi-directional data flows

9. Ability to track changes and “follow the thread” of data from the design office and from the shopfloor to the program management office; reducing the time spent on “impact assessment” and other issue investigation.

These use cases are not unique and non-exhaustive. Hence, there are many other business benefits to consider from extended PLM-ERP integration; business value is realized from enhanced data traceability, timely availability throughout change across configured product lines and platforms, from process planning in PLM platforms to order delivery with aligned ERP and other enterprise platforms.

What are your thoughts?

This post was originally published on Momentum-PLM on 18 March 2021.

Disclaimer: articles and thoughts published on v+d do not necessarily represent the views of the company, but solely the views or interpretations of the author(s); reviews, insights and mentions of publications, products, or services do neither constitute endorsement, nor recommendations for purchase or adoption. 

About the Author

Lionel Grealou


Lionel Grealou, a.k.a. Lio, helps original equipment manufacturers transform, develop, and implement their digital transformation strategies—driving organizational change, data continuity and process improvement, managing the lifecycle of things across enterprise platforms, from PDM to PLM, ERP, MES, PIM, CRM, or BIM. Beyond consulting roles, Lio held leadership positions across industries, with both established OEMs and start-ups, covering the extended innovation lifecycle scope, from research and development, to engineering, discrete and process manufacturing, procurement, finance, supply chain, operations, program management, quality, compliance, marketing, etc.

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