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By John M Hoover, SAP PLM -PPM Practice Director, GyanSys
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software has been about document management in the past. Very recently, providers of PLM, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software are changing their technology and strategy for implementations beyond typical Product Data Management (PDM) and CAD integration. This exciting push forward was driven by good competition between PLM, ERP providers and user demand for quicker implementation results. PDM and CAD software is now reaching into the arena of ERP, and ERP providers, especially SAP, are not sitting still and are pushing heavily into the PDM and CAD visual management spaces. In turn this greatly changes how IT, PMO, and engineering teams can implement this software for greater benefit across many discreet, process, and repetitive industries. Implementation methods have been improved such as road mapping, deployment methodology, design, and data conversion to benefit from the technology integration.“Today PLM crosses all industry segments, including growing in recipe and process development where this industry segment was often on custom developed applications” First let’s understand what PLM is. PLM is a large umbrella that contains many sub areas of functions and covers business processes from product concept (idea), new product development (NPD) portfolio management, engineering change management, bills of material, recipes, service data, and support through product end of life. In just the last decade PLM was dependent upon CAD and PDM software suppliers; this is no longer the case. Each supplier has moved to span the bridge between CAD, PDM and ERP to provide the full PLM functionality. Data in PLM is comprised of documents both structured and unstructured, part/material masters, eBOMs and classification data for documents and materials which may at present be stored in the CAD or legacy PDM system. How can one benefit from the software integration and lessons of others in this PLM technology journey? Let’s walk through how implementations with new technology can provide faster and more successful implementations.