11 April 2019

PLM-ERP Integration: 6 Pitfalls of Not Integrating the Two Systems

Pitfalls of not integrating PLM and ERP for manufacturing companies

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) are essential systems for any manufacturing company. Both store and manage large volumes of crucial data required by different teams in a manufacturing organization.

However, having PLM and ERP operate as isolated data islands can do more harm than good to your organization.

According to a Deloitte study, organizational silos is one of the topmost challenges faced by manufacturing companies. Not integrating your PLM and ERP systems worsens the challenge of ‘operating in silos,’ as different teams do not have access to the information required to carry out their tasks.

With over 18 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, we know how challenging it can be for manufacturers to manage product data with disconnected PLM and ERP.

This blog shares the pitfalls of not integrating your PLM and ERP systems and how to solve this with PLM-ERP integration.

What are the top 6 pitfalls of not integrating your PLM and ERP systems

1. Time consuming processes

Without an automated PLM-ERP integration, ensuring that the technical and operational worlds are connected becomes very laborious. In many manufacturing businesses, several teams work together to speed up product improvement and innovation.

Disconnected PLM and ERP create confusion related to the ownership of different tasks and affect the quality of the final product.

2. Incorrect product manufacturing

Without proper integration between PLM and ERP systems, some product data details could get lost, resulting in the manufacturing of the wrong product version. This results in rework and longer lead times, ultimately impacting your bottom line.

Manufacturing an incorrect product would also significantly impact your position in the market and customer reputation, which could be challenging to overcome.

3. Difficulty managing errors

If your PLM is not well-connected to ERP, you lack a global view of your product data. Achieving error-free manufacturing without an end-to-end visibility of your product journey becomes a challenge.

You won’t be able to identify the root causes of any product defects that may arise with incomplete visibility of your product data. This makes it challenging to track and handle product data, as well as detect errors easily.

4. Incomplete inventory

The basis of any product plan is to properly decide on the quantity, quality, and specifications of the parts. Without clear information, the production would either be poor quality, incomplete, or delayed.

Siloed PLM and ERP would mean an incomplete bill of materials (BOMs), improper materials requirement planning (MRP), and creating setbacks for your inventory.

5. Unclear change management

A product could undergo multiple changes and iterations during its lifecycle due to various internal and external factors. These iterations must be part of PLM and be documented, or it could result in unclear or incomplete specifications at the manufacturing or assembly stage.

Without a connection between PLM and ERP, you cannot handle ECRs (engineering change requests) or ECOs (Engineering Change Orders), and you will be unable to track new product versions.

6. Increased costs

All the above factors result in additional expenses, time, and effort. By not having a PLM-ERP integration solution in place, you spend more money and resources on fixing, inspecting, or recalling defective products.

Additionally, you will dedicate resources to coordinating with different stakeholders, such as the distributors, customers, and legal teams. This hinders productivity and daily operations and leaves no time for research or innovation.

How can PLM-ERP integration improve your business?

Integrating your PLM and ERP can streamline operations by eliminating communication gaps, process inefficiencies, and data silos. PLM-ERP integration offers a swift and seamless movement of information between engineering and manufacturing teams while maintaining data quality and integrity.

Here are some benefits a PLM-ERP integration can offer you:

  • Increased operational efficiency with real-time access to data
  • Reduced costs with automated data transfer, decreasing errors
  • Smoother supply chain with end-to-end visibility of processes
  • Quicker deliverables, resulting in happier customers
  • Strengthened collaboration with smooth communication

Related reading: Business Cases on How PLM-ERP Integration Improves Business Operations

Do you want to boost your business with PLM-ERP integration?

You must invest in a PLM-ERP integration solution to avoid the countless disadvantages of not integrating your PLM and ERP systems.

Here are some helpful blogs to begin your PLM-ERP integration journey:

1. How to prepare your business before PLM-ERP integration

2. Decide to build or buy the integration solution

3. The factors to consider when selecting a PLM-ERP integration solution

4. The common mistakes to avoid while integrating PLM and ERP

How can we help you with a PLM-ERP integration solution?

If you are using or plan to use Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management ERP, explore the PLM-ERP integration solution we offer, embedded in Dynamics 365.

We offer out-of-the-box PLM integrations for Siemens Teamcenter and PTC Windchill and a configurable PLM integration framework.

You can enjoy an intuitive, easy-to-use solution with no coding hassles and a quick implementation time. Learn more about our solution here.

Here is a video showing an overview of our PLM-ERP integration solution


If you would like more information on PLM-ERP integration, you could check out our checklist on factors to consider during PLM-ERP integration.

Get started with PLM-ERP integration today.

Peter van Leeuwen
Peter van Leeuwen,
Peter van Leeuwen,
Manufacturing Industry Specialist

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