Integrating PLM with your ERP system is a proven way businesses can enhance their operations by streamlining critical communication and information around product data. However, when you think about bringing the world of engineering and manufacturing together, you must have all the essential knowledge, or else you could risk a haphazard integration with errors.
Offering PLM integration for Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management and AX ERP, we at To-Increase have interacted with numerous clients for over 17 years. During our interactions, we’ve been asked several questions, some of which were repeated and similar.
So, we took the initiative to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that could apply to any business planning to integrate their PLM and ERP systems, so you can better prepare your business for the integration process.
Frequently asked questions about PLM and ERP
1. What is PLM and how is it different from ERP?
This is a basic question many non-technical folks have about the distinction between a PLM and ERP system. A PLM – Product Lifecycle Management system has all your engineering information related to product designing and is more flexible. ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning, on the other hand, contains transactional data and focuses on the entire financial and supply chain management regarding product manufacturing.
You can read more about PLM versus ERP.
2. Why do I need to integrate PLM and ERP?
Another FAQ we often come across is the need for a PLM-ERP integration. Although many are already well versed with the benefits an integrated PLM and ERP can offer a business, here are some of the key advantages you’ll gain:
- 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 on your processes
- Quicker deliverables, resulting in happier customers
- Strengthened interdepartmental collaboration with streamlined communication
If you’re still questioning the need for integration, this article on the 8 signs a manufacturing business should integrate PLM and ERP could be helpful in your decision-making process.
3. How do I integrate my PLM and ERP?
A question that pops up when a business is convinced of the necessity of a PLM-ERP integration solution is how they can go about doing it. Here are a few steps:
- Analyze your current PLM and ERP systems, and look for vendors that offer integrations supporting those systems
- Identify the data you want to transfer from the PLM to the ERP
- Define the nature of the integration solution you require
- Set timelines for the implementation
Depending on the above factors, you could decide to either build an integration solution on your own, buy an integration solution from an ISV, look into integrations offered by your existing PLM system, or choose an out-of-the-box integration solution that can be implemented quickly.
Now that we’ve covered some generic questions, let’s look at some queries we, at To-Increase, have received as one of the solution providers to integrate PLM and ERP.
Frequently asked questions on our PLM-ERP integration solution
1. Which PLM systems do you provide integrations for?
Our integration solution can support integrations for all PLM systems with the ERP Dynamics 365 F&SCM or Dynamics AX 2012. So, regardless of which PLM system you use, there’s a good chance we can integrate it with Microsoft Dynamics ERP. We offer out-of-the-box PLM integrations for two PLM systems: Siemens Teamcenter and PTC Windchill. We also have experience in PLM integrations with 3DX Dassault and other PLM systems.
We offer a PLM integration framework that is easily configurable and can be adapted to carry out Dynamics 365 integrations with any PLM system.
2. Do you offer PDM or CAD integrations as well?
Yes. Apart from Dynamics 365 integration with PLM, we offer configurable integrations for PDM, CAD, and MDM systems as well. You could check out the details of our integration solution.
3. What is ECM and why do I need it for integration?
ECM – Engineering Change Management is a module within Dynamics 365 F&SCM, that controls and manages product versions and releases. This version and release control with centralized data ownership makes the process of managing upgrades or changes in product data much easier.
Your business can gain various benefits from the ECM module:
- Improved quality of products
- Reduced costs and errors
- Enhanced traceability of product and product data
- Release control and readiness control
Furthermore, ECM is a prerequisite to utilize our PLM-ERP integration, as our solution utilizes certain capabilities of ECM to handle product data better. We can help you with the ECM setup or you can execute it with your implementation partner.
4. How much does the PLM integration solution cost?
The final cost of the integration solution depends on the nature of your business and other variables. To offer you ballpark figures, the software license could range from $2,000 to $4,000 per month and the services could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000. Here are more details on the cost of our PLM-ERP Integration for Dynamics 365.
5. How long does it take to carry out the implementation?
The implementation duration for out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 integrations for PTC Windchill and Siemens Teamcenter is an average of 7 days. The implementation duration for non-standard, configurable integrations for other PLM, PDM, CAD, and MDM systems is as short as 2 weeks.
The final implementation time varies based on certain factors, and you can explore the implementation process we follow.
6. What kind of data can I integrate?
The integration supports sharing data from PLM to Dynamics 365:
- Product data
- Revision data
- Bill of materials
- Product structure data
- Product URL
- Product documents
- Status information
- Engineering change information
The type and volume of data that you can integrate could also depend on your specific business needs. More integration capabilities will be made available in the near future.
7. How can I prepare my business before carrying out PLM-ERP integration?
There are 3 things you must get right before carrying out the integration:
i) Prepare your business for change and take measures accordingly: Find out the common challenges during PLM-ERP integration and how to solve them proactively so you can ensure the implementation is done right the first time.
ii) Have the right people to analyze the data: PLM-ERP integration usually begins at this phase in which you must carry out a detailed analysis of the data to be transferred from your PLM to the ERP system (Dynamics 365). You must have a good understanding of the type, volume, and format of data to be shared, as not all the data is required to be transferred.
iii) Ensure your data migration is right: Data migration is crucial for PLM-ERP integration — whether you are moving from any ERP to Dynamics 365 or moving from Dynamics 365 without ECM to Dynamics 365 with ECM. It is important to know which data migration scenario is applicable to your business.
8. How can I be sure that my data quality is maintained after the integration?
Our PLM-ERP integration solution prevents data change in the PLM and ERP systems through an established data validation process, thereby maintaining data integrity. You can ensure data quality with our PLM-ERP integration that has advanced mapping capabilities, accurate BOM analysis, automated process of data transfer, and well-maintained data ownership in both systems.
9. Which industries can the PLM-ERP integration support?
Our PLM-ERP integration can support any manufacturing business, as long as the ERP system is Dynamics 365 F&SCM, or AX 2012, or the business is looking to adopt either of the mentioned D365 systems as their ERP.
Some of the major manufacturing industries we support are:
- Product manufacturers
- Industrial equipment and heavy machinery
- Automotive and transportation
- Aerospace and defense
- Semiconductor and electronics
10. What kind of businesses have you provided integrations for?
We have offered PLM-ERP integrations to a variety of companies on the following PLM or PDM systems – PTC Windchill, Siemens Teamcenter, 3DX Dassault, Autodesk Vault, Oracle agile, and Ansys. Some of our customers include Smart Technologies and Tronrud Engineering.
11. What factors make To-Increase’s PLM integration solution a differentiator in the market?
With rich experience spanning almost two decades, we have successfully empowered multiple businesses to streamline their product engineering and manufacturing processes.
We are part of the Microsoft inner circle and experts on the ECM component of D365 F&SCM, as ECM (previously Product Engineering) is a solution designed and developed by us at To-Increase. This has strengthened our long-standing relationship with Microsoft as a trusted ISV.
The PLM-ERP integration solution is certified for Microsoft Dynamics and follows the monthly upgrade cadence of Microsoft. We can assist you with the setup of ECM, guide you through the data migration process, and support you in implementing the solution.
We have a strong global partner network and can provide in-person or remote implementations, irrespective of your business’s location.
Being deeply involved in the Microsoft sphere, our focus is undividedly dedicated to Dynamics 365 ERP. We offer many more solutions on Dynamics 365 and can support you with additional business requirements or scale up.
12. Where can I find more information about your PLM integration solution?
We appreciate any business curious to explore more about our integration solution. We have a knowledge hub of blogs on a variety of topics. You can view our product webpages and peek into our videos on PLM-ERP integration.
Curious to know more about our PLM-ERP integration?
We hope this article answered at least a few, if not all, of your questions about PLM-ERP integration for Dynamics 365. Once you begin identifying your business needs, you may have other queries along the way. We’d love to talk with you and guide you on the best approach to integrate your PLM and ERP system.
By talking to an expert, you will be able to:
- Decide whether our integration solution is the right fit for your business
- Have a deep dive into the capabilities of our solution
- Get answers to more specific questions that you may have