The reason why you should invest in PLM rather than integrating CAD directly with ERP

  • 03/01/2023

Integrating your CAD solution with your ERP solution can be a big task with a lot of obstacles. The downside is, that even if you succeed with your integration, it might not be the solution that brings the most value to your organization.

A CAD solution is perfect when you want to design your products and make visualizations of the product. However sharing product information across departments and IT solutions is not the primary purpose of the solution. On the other hand a PLM solution (Product Lifecycle Management software) is designed to help your organization manage product related document throughout the products lifecycle. Including making the right product documents available to the right employees.

And here you find the big difference... Where a PLM solution only pushes the relevant documents to the ERP-solution, a direct integration very often pushes too little, or conversely too much information. E.g. pushing an eBOM (engineering BOM) where only mBOM (manufacturing BOM) is interesting for operational departments.

This makes it harder for employees to identify the documents they need. But it also makes it complex to identify the differences between the same document across different versions of the product.

Make it easier to compare different versions

With a PLM solution like Windchill you are able to compare different versions of the same document. This is e.g. relevant when procurement needs to adjust upcoming orders. The same is the case when a service technician needs to identify whether a component from the newer version of the product is compatible with the older version that needs a new spare part.

Windchill PLM works with different CAD- and ERP solutions

Windchill is easily integrated to different CAD and ERP-solutions. You can therefore integrate Windchill in your current setup without having to change your other solutions.

Therefore, our recommendation is that you use each system for what it is best for. A CAD and a PLM solution are made to work together, and create greater business value for your company.

The CFO guide: Why your manufacturing company needs PLM

In some companies, CFOs and other managers do not take interest in which CAD and PLM solutions are chosen for the company. And some may even opt out of a PLM solution all together. But it is far from only the development department that gains when a company invests in PLM.

That is why we have created a guide for CFOs in manufacturing companies. The guide tells you why you should be aware of possibilities with PLM.

Are you looking for a new ERP solution?

If you are both looking for a PLM and an ERP solution, then take a look at our 9A Advanced Manufacturing. This solution is based on Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management and is made to fit the requirements of manufacturing companies. The solution even includes a connector to Windchill PLM.

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