Pitfalls of Not Integrating Product Life-cycle Management with ERP

  • Inception, engineering, and design typically performed by the engineering teams
  • Manufacture, service, and disposal- are transactional processes performed by the operations teams in ERP
  • In many manufacturing businesses, several teams work in tandem with each other to speed up product improvement and innovation. However, this can result in confusion about the ownership of an aspect and thereby affect the quality of the final product. For instance, the engineering department could be the owner of the product specifications based on which the procurement department would purchase components, and the quality department has the final sign-off on the quality aspects and so on. Time-consuming and labor-intensive: Without an automated integration it becomes very laborious to ensure that the technical and operational worlds are connected. PLM integration can help map ownership and ensure that processes are streamlined and not labor-intensive.
  • Wrong product manufacture: Without proper integration between the operational and technical aspects of manufacturing in place, there are chances that some of the details are lost resulting in the wrong product version being manufactured. This could lead to rework and longer lead times, which can translate to poor bottom-lines, loss of your position in the market, loss of reputation with customers, and a general lack of direction to the overall business.
  • Incomplete inventory or wrong components: The basis of any product plan is to properly decide on the quantity, quality, and specifications of the parts. Without this, the production would either be of poor quality, incomplete or even delayed. The integration of PLM ensures that the BOM is complete, up-to-date, the materials requirement planning (MRP) is carried out properly, and that you can permeate the information to procurement, accounts, and other related departments.
  • In the lifecycle of products, especially in industrial equipment manufacturing, there are many changes and iterations due to both internal (operations department) and external factors. These iterations must be part of PLM and need to be integrated, or else it could result in unclear or incomplete specifications at the manufacturing or assembly stage. The two-way connection between Unclear procurement specifications: PLM and ERP ensure that ECRs (engineering change requests) triggered by operations lead to ECO’s (Engineering Change Orders) that result in new product versions.
  • Potential liability claims: While this may be a difficult point to connect with PLM integration, picture this scenario: A product has been produced with incomplete specifications due to PLM not being integrated. The chances are that the product may be rejected outright by the customer even at the prototype stage itself. Alternatively, the product performance may not be at par, and this could result in recalls and replacements or even result in liability claims.



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Anirban Guha

Anirban Guha


Seasoned inbound marketing professional and tech blogger. Loves to write about #Marketing and #Technology. Follow me on Twitter @anibeg25