PLM Software Integration: Connecting Systems for Better Data Flow Across the Product Lifecycle
Blog | February 6th, 2024

PLM Software Integration: Connecting Systems for Better Data Flow Across the Product Lifecycle

The manufacturing of a product requires the coming together of different functions of the organization - right from the design team to engineering, production, sales and marketing, procurement, quality management, and customer service departments.

Each department/function has a unique set of needs that is served by software/solutions specific to those functions. These include:

  • ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning is like an umbrella system that facilitates the smooth function of various functions such as human resource management, finance, planning, procurement, inventory, manufacturing, sales and marketing, supply chain, logistics, shipping, and services.
  • PLM – Product Lifecycle Management enables the management of the product lifecycle from conception to retirement and includes information about the components and parts along with documents, requirements, engineering change orders, and quality workflows.
  • PDM – Product Data Management centralizes the storing and management of design data and engineering processes, facilitating version control. It provides a unified view of the project data, increasing the efficiency of the engineering team and minimizing errors.
  • MDM – Master Data Management ensures the uniformity, integrity, and consistency of the master data to provide a unified view of the organization’s suppliers, products, customers, prospects, and so on.
  • QMS - Quality Management System ensures that the end product meets the specifications and performs as intended while complying with the applicable standards and regulations.
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The product lifecycle is a collaborative and iterative process, requiring inputs from each of the functions, and much back and forth happens based on:

  • Feasibility
  • Availability of raw materials in the required quantity, quality, and specifications
  • Customer feedback
  • Cost

Therefore, it is essential for the different functions to “run” on an integrated platform to facilitate smooth collaboration and communication. But each team uses a different solution to manage its operations, and, often, these systems don’t talk to each other. This results in the creation of data silos, which can lead to a breakdown in communication, improper sharing of information, version mismatch, confusion, and increased risk of errors and challenges.

Integration of the various functions will prove beneficial in facilitating better collaboration, data access, and version control. A cloud-based PLM with in-built quality management can integrate the various functions, thereby providing end-to-end visibility into the design, development, production, marketing, and service of the products. This helps improve product lifecycle management and the overall efficiency of the organization.

Benefits of PLM Integration with ERP

Although the ERP integrates a variety of functions and is used by the procurement team to manage the bill of materials, the BOM is created at the design stage by the design team using a different software. Any change in the design requires going back to the design team to create a fresh BOM, which creates the risk of multiple BOMs to work with and version mismatch.

When PLM and ERP are integrated, some of the benefits include:

  • Access to real-time product-related data such as BOMs, which improves efficiency and minimizes errors due to version mismatch
  • This minimizes wastage due to nonconformance and improved supply chain management
  • Enhances communication and collaboration between multiple teams by providing a unified platform
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PLM Integration with QMS

Quality Control and assurance are essential to ensure the product meets the applicable regulations and standards, company policies and process requirements, and ensures customer satisfaction by performing as intended. To ensure quality, not only should the input and output meet the specified standards, but the process also needs to be as per regulatory requirements. It includes a variety of aspects such as documentation, continuous improvement, equipment management, complaints handling, and so on.

By integrating PLM and QMS, businesses can ensure:

  • Compliance to the applicable standards
  • A unified view into end-to-end processes
  • Documentation of the processes to meet regulatory requirements
  • Change management
  • Risk management
  • Periodic inspections and audit
  • Lowered cost of poor quality (CoPQ)

PLM Integration with CRM

A product is intended for use by customers. When the design team has access to customer feedback and reviews, they can design features that meet customer requirements and address pain points at the design stage itself. This will help improve customer satisfaction and enhance competitive advantage.

By integrating CRM with PLM, manufacturing companies can:

  • Lower service cost and improve service revenues
  • Improve personalization of product and service capabilities
  • Continuously improve product capabilities that meet customer requirements
  • Anticipate customer needs and develop future-ready products

ComplianceQuest PLM: Eliminating Data Silos, Enhancing Visibility & Streamlining Processes

ComplianceQuest PLM built on Salesforce is a cloud-based solution with quality management that enables integrating workflows across the organization. Quality and engineering teams have access to a single source of truth that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of all product design activities. It ensures compliance and comprehensive documentation, including always-up-to-date design files that are shareable across the product lifecycle workflow. It provides visibility into the product design process, making it easy for different teams to collaborate and design high-quality products. CQ’s Design Controls also enable the automatic creation of DHF (Design History Files) and DMR (Device Master Record) with the latest approved documents and design files.

Being integrated with QMS, it also facilitates:

  • Timely audits and inspections
  • Conformance of products to specifications
  • Compliance with internal and external policies and standards
  • Access to customer inputs for improved product design
  • Predictive maintenance of equipment
  • Change management
  • Risk-based approach
  • Design review to ensure design process deliverables are being sufficiently performed, design plans are updated, and delivery of a high-quality product is ensured

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