Integrating your PLM system with ERP offers several benefits as it enables communication across various departments, streamlining the manufacturing process. However, not knowing the exact features to look for in an integration solution can cost you as you won’t have the complete picture of how to address your business needs.
As a PLM-ERP integration provider for almost two decades, we at To-Increase are often asked: What are the key features of our integration solution?
This article will share the features you can expect from our PLM integration solution for Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management or Dynamics AX 2012.
Overview of To-Increase’s PLM-ERP integration solution
Let’s begin with a glance at our PLM-ERP integration solution. The PLM integration solution is deeply embedded inside Dynamics 365. It follows the Dynamics 365 business logic and allows maximum flexibility to connect to external PLM systems.
If you are an existing user of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP, you can easily implement our PLM integration solution that’s fully aligned with the Microsoft ecosystem, and connect your ERP with your PLM system.
Our solution works in combination with engineering change management (ECM) in Dynamics 365. The key features discussed are offered by the PLM integration solution in combination with ECM.
Our solution utilizes certain capabilities of ECM to handle product data better; therefore, ECM is a prerequisite to the integration solution. We can help you with the ECM implementation or you can execute it with your implementation partner.
Key features of our PLM-ERP integration solution for Dynamics 365
1. Automated transfer of product data
With our PLM integration, the transfer of product data from PLM to ERP happens through a structured and automated process. The integration solution makes use of the ECM capabilities to do the data transfer quicker. By setting up defaults in the template, it automatically populates several components of each product, saving time and effort.
Your overall production speed is enhanced, and different departments of your business – manufacturers, service planners, and designers have access to relevant product data.
Some of the product data you can automatically transfer are:
Our PLM-ERP integration solution ensures data quality by validating if the data is mapped correctly to standard Dynamics 365 ERP. Any data that comes from the PLM system is first placed in the staging journal. There the PLM Framework validates, processes, and transforms the product and/or BOM data, before releasing it.
Necessary validations or readiness checks in ECM are done to approve the data after the journal is posted with all the defaults. The BOM or product data is released only after these validations are done, and the product cannot be used before the relevant routings are created. Additionally, you are immediately notified if there’s a mismatch or error in any product data.
3. Data ownership and governance
The PLM integration solution maintains data ownership in the ERP and PLM systems. It prevents data change in the PLM and ERP systems through an established data validation process. It safeguards engineering data in ERP and prevents deleting or overriding of operational data during any PLM updates.
The ‘trigger managed processes’ ensure that the required logistical data is managed well within Dynamics 365.
4. Access logistical data in PLM
With our soon to be released innovation, ‘product logistics insights’ functionality, you can easily access relevant logistical product data from the PLM system, via web services.
Engineers and designers operating in the PLM or PDM system can retrieve vital information residing in the ERP with the click of a button. This saves time, training effort, and ERP license costs as the PLM team can view and use logistical data from the PLM system itself, without the need to access Dynamics 365 ERP.
The operational and logistical information such as costs, open transactions, vendor details, and on-hand inventory enables evidence-based decisions around the change management of your products.
5. Quick overview of data
You can work with a single entity or multiple legal entities and accordingly access product data across different entities. As a single source of truth, the PLM integration offers a unified view of all product data and product-related processes in a central, digital location.
Product data can be integrated with file-based integrations such as XML and Excel, or web services. This ranges from one-directional product export to process-based integrations with a variety of input and output formats.
6. Release product data based on requirements
With ECM and the integration, you can efficiently manage product releases by deciding how much of the product data you want to release to different departments or companies you’re dealing with. You can choose to do part releases, entire releases, or release multiple active BOMs for one product by setting up the relevant routings.
The flexible release policies allow you to release data in a complex BOM from anywhere — enabling procurement, production, and planning to begin working on one part of the product while the other parts are still being engineered.
7. Manage versions, changes, and updates
Any change in the PLM, resulting in a second version of the product based on the change order, will be updated in Dynamics 365. This provides increased insight into version updates that take place during the numerous lifecycle stages of the product and gain better control of costs and schedules.
Additionally, in combination with ECM, you can carry out local change orders in Dynamics 365, such as adding packaging materials to the existing BOMs. This ensures the product data always stays up to date, based on the current version of the product.
8. Secure file storage based on azure cloud
The PLM integration is dependent on file storage in the cloud because Dynamics 365 runs in the cloud. The picking up and storing of files happens through a secure cloud on the Azure share, ensuring data security.
It is a requisite for customers to have Azure file share, to ensure a location where the PLM system can drop off the file and the PLM integration can pick it up.
9. Manage data through configuration and advanced mapping
You can ensure data edits are made in line with business needs during any product updates. Through a simple configuration, you’ll be able to set conditions for data transformation from PLM to ERP.
The advanced mapping capabilities decrease the need for manual interaction and allow the mapping of custom attributes to fields in Dynamics 365 without extensive programming.
10. Add attributes to extend data
You can easily add additional data fields or attributes sent to the ERP with our integration solution. Attributes can be added with a simple configuration to the PLM integration. You can access all the vital data of every product in your manufacturing system with these attributes and get information about the product specifications such as weight, height, dimensions, and so on.
11. Automatic update of the latest version
Our PLM-ERP integration solution is certified for Microsoft Dynamics and follows the monthly upgrade cadence of Microsoft with the ‘Preview Early Access Program.’ Your solution will always run on the latest version as it is continuously updated in line with Microsoft’s release schedule, ensuring data safety.
12. Analytics for ECM
One of the optional add-ons for our PLM-ERP integration solution is the analytics for ECM solution, which optimizes ECM with powerful data-driven insights from data preparation to visualization. The add-on solution offers simple, pre-built, plug-and-play, and end-to-end enabled analytics.
Built on Microsoft Power BI, it leverages pre-built industry metrics with dashboards offering business intelligence and key strategic insights into the ECM component.
Is our PLM-ERP integration for Dynamics 365 the right choice for you?
With an understanding of the key features offered by our integration, you will be better positioned to decide whether it’s the right solution for your manufacturing business. Buying an integration solution like ours can streamline your manufacturing processes quickly and easily without hassles around designing and maintenance.
Our PLM integration solution can support integrations for all PLM systems with the ERP Dynamics 365 F&SCM (which requires ECM) or Dynamics AX 2012 (which requires Product Engineering).
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