A Guide to PLM ERP Integration and Case Study

How do you ensure a successful PLM ERP Integration?

Organizations rely on numerous systems for product development success. They may use product lifecycle management (PLM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), inventory management, and other enterprise systems.   Throughout the product design and manufacturing process,  some of the biggest challenges come from engineering changes and a change process order.  Designing a complex product involving supply chain management takes sound knowledge of data integration between systems to enhance collaboration.

PLM might be your central system, but it isn’t the only system critical to your engineering value chain. Because your data spans numerous systems, you need a robust solution for synchronization across all domains. The “plug and play” method of connecting systems may be well known, but in reality, it is far from sufficient. As products become increasingly complex, integrations become increasingly difficult. Your organization may have completely customized PLM, in which case you will need to integrate numerous components. Today’s engineering environment relies on an integrated product landscape, meaning that managing complexity is your greatest challenge in product development. With PLM ERP integration, your product lifecycle must be in sync through:

PLM to ERP

  • PLM to ERP engineering part and BOM structures
  • PLM to ERP manufacturing part and BOM structures
  • PLM to ERP engineering change
  • PLM design record to ERP
  • PLM planning and documentation

​ERP to PLM

  • ERP to PLM cost visibility
  • ERP to PLM process synchronization
  • ERP to PLM manufacturing change
  • ERP to PLM vendor / supplier information
  • ERP to PLM support / manufacturing part and BOM structures

Systems Integration and Business Processes

Within product lifecycle management, your PLM solution will involve design, development, manufacturing and other departments working together in the manufacturing process. Product information must pass through each system down the supply chain effectively, efficiently, and in the right format.  More often, you’ll need solutions to enable real time data transfer allowing product changes in one system be reflected in other systems.

Prior to any sort of systems integration, a plan for a master data management system must be executed. Because your PLM systems helps control product data across the product lifecycle through design and end-of-life, a sound plan for system integration and managing master data should precede any implementation.

Do you have a centralized single point of product truth?  Your PLM provides the single point of truth for your ERP to help you company manage your resources, financials and other business activities.

PLM and ERP – Making them Work Together

Becuase both PLM/ERP systems support different business needs, it’s important that each system be able to collaborate and communicate effectively with one another.

Your PLM will manage product development from initial design through end of life, while maintaining accurate data through a bill of materials during any change processes.  As your product is being built, you’ll leverage an ERP inventory management system to assist in your finances, logistics, operations and inventory in one place.  Being able to seamlessly manage data between design changes and product data management within your PLM and purchase orders, financial planning, shipping logistics and more within your ERP gives your business systems and engineering teams the most up-to-date information between all systems.

PLM ERP Integration Case Study

Customer name withheld for privacy.

The Challenge:

A customer came to PROSTEP with the desire to integrate a cloud based PLM with their ERP.  This particular customer develops and markets computer aided measurements and imaging devices and software.  PROSTEP’s task was to populate and synchronize the necessary data, including material masters, change masters, BOM and effectivities.   The customer also required reports and email notifications for traceability and confirmation.

The Solution:

PLM with ERP integration is solved by PROSTEP’s OpenPDM solution to allow for on-demand data synchronization, and uni-directional flow from PLM to ERP and support for the material master and BOM (bill of materials) creation.

ARENA PLM and SAP ERP Integration Demo

Here is the Engineering Change Order with Arena PLM and Integration with SAP Workflow

  • 00:00:05
    • Create an engineering change order with ARENA PLM.  Note that you have three materials in an unreleased state.
  • 00:00:55
    • Verify that these materials are not located in SAP.
  • 00:01:35
    • Create an engineering change order to move the materials into production.
    • ARENA PLM shows you the tab used to create the change.
    • The process to create a change includes adding a title and a description to the ECO.
    • After you create the change order, you will attach the materials to the change.
  • 00:03:13
    • Materials are added to the change order – ECO-000044.
    • Your changes are submitted for approval.
  • 00:03:45
    • The changes will need to be approved by your designated approver.
  • 00:04:40
    • After the changes are made, your SAP should reflect the changes.
    • PROSTEP OpenPDM ARENA SAP integration connector makes this happen.
  • 00:05:25
    • The green light on OpenPDM’s interface indicates the SAP integration connector is connected.
    • Create a new activity in OpenPDM to pull data from ARENA ERP Exchange and import the necessary information into SAP.
    • This is a manual trigger of import.  OpenPDM allows for scheduled import.
  • 00:05:55
    • The export/import process begins.
    • OpenPDM pulls ARENA information and imports the materials into SAP.
  • 00:06:24
    • After successful transfer into SAP, you notice the materials are created in SAP.
  • 00:06:43
    • You can verify that these materials were successfully imported in SAP
  • 00:07:43
    • Your change order ECO-000044 was released to SAP.
  • 00:08:05
    • You can verify that the parts are in SAP
  • 00:09:10
    • The changes are reflected in ARENA change master.
  • 00:10:10
    • The changes are reflected in ARENA BOM.

About ARENA PLM SAP ERP Integration

PROSTEP’s OpenPDM connector for ARENA PLM and SAP integration uses ARENA ERP Exchange to automate the transfer of released product record information from Arena to SAP.

The integration validates data changes before importing them to SAP.  An audit trail records success and failure for product data and change order transfers.  You can monitor changes and the success of the product record transfers through the Arena dashboard.

ARENA PLM Integration with SAP ERP