PLM and ERP Systems – How They Work Together?



Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: July 23, 2020

When we think of a combination that works wonders together, we don’t necessarily think of ERP and PLM systems.

For us, the duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson works just fine. 

However, the world of business and the verticals of technology and management do have needs beyond our thought process.

When organizations make productive combinations, consumers also benefit. While PLM focuses on the management of various resources, ERP ensures stable financial flow and generates accounting reports.

The mechanism via which they work together and integrate as an efficient functional unit is “the key to the business kingdom.”

That’s precisely covered here, and a quick read of the same can benefit you in more ways than one.

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) – A Brief Introduction

With the help of product lifecycle management software, you can manage complex information related to your products, monitor collaborations, and keep a check on the resources. A PLM software converges the various prospects of a working environment – workers, processes, and data.

Established firms use PLM to fuel their progress by increasing the level of accuracy while startups and small businesses implement it to lay a solid foundation. You don’t want to be stuck in excel-sheet validations when your business demands aggressive growth.

When you put PLM to efficient use, you get a productive cycle of precise and self-repeatable processes. You can then focus on the domains that require manual implementation.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – A Brief Introduction

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions as a day-to-day management software using which you can monitor various business activities. It includes supply chain operations, inventory evaluations, finance flow, and much more.

Excellent ERP systems are capable of rendering useful data while eliminating redundancy at the same time.

Businesses that have high data manipulation and evaluation activities cannot think of overlooking apt ERP software. It is robust and also ensures that the confidentiality of data is maintained by encompassing it with several layers of high-end security.

The most beneficial aspect of an ERP system is the fast data-processing that ensures that the progress stagnancy is close to the minimum.

That was it about the individual existence of ERP and PLM systems. They are both effective tools, and the numbers they can generate are staggering. Organizations have seen the results blow the roof in minimal time, and advancements in their base models never took a standstill.

Now, we focus on the critical aspect related to these tools — the integration of ERP and PLM systems along with the numerous associated benefits.

Also, Read: Emerging ERP Software Trends in 2020

Benefits of PLM and ERP Systems by Working Together

PLM and ERP – The Aspect of Integration

PLM manages products and processes in manufacturing. ERP, on the other hand, monitors inventory, pricing, and supply chain. The million-dollar question is, how do they integrate to work as a unit? But, before that, why is a combination even necessary?

Companies and businesses in the past have operated without ERPs and PLMs. Their mode of operation was manual.

But they encountered several problems; 

No automation meant that every single entry had to be manually evaluated. Any break in the chain would mean a wasted entry and effort.

Without any cloud storage, the data survived only until the papers did. And lastly, data research and modification demanded significant time and labor occupancy—the aspect of “why PLM and ERP integration” pretty much settles here.

Thus the need for ERP and PLM integration is justified. But, they are separate entities and serve different functionalities. How can they be integrated?

Here’s the how;

First of all, the combination of ERP and PLM systems is more sequential than parallel.

PLM evaluates the data and generates an output, and ERP uses that as an essential input for taking the process further. Product data is initially housed in a PLM framework to coordinate and handle the products and data lists.

Post that, ERP interacts with the current PLM framework once product design has evolved to a stage where resources have to be controlled to deliver the design.

The latest product data is accessible at any moment by merging ERP with PLM, which can be communicated with the appropriate divisions to guarantee accurate process flow.

Looking for ERP Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best ERP software solutions.

Benefits of the Integration of ERP and PLM Systems

  • Easy Modifications: The best part about the integration of PLM and ERP is the prompt revision of data in case you wish to make any modifications. Since they now work in tandem, any information that was miscommunicated can be easily taken care of.
  • Reduced Costs: PLM-ERP integration has the potential to save expenses. As the data dynamically switches back and forth between the two systems, the physical effort is minimized. The integrated system implies more accuracy since the data is auto-verified in both the systems. This improved accuracy allows you to save money by avoiding expenses on unnecessary supplies and high labor costs.
  • Reap Dual Benefits: Since you have coupled the independently functioning ERP and PLM systems together, you are bound to get dual benefits. When tasks run sequentially and with advanced automation, you save a lot of time. The same time can be invested in R&D or even further refining the integration to a whole new level. Change the ball game by going ahead of the competition through this integration.
  • Products that Incline with Consumers’ Demand: The integration of these two systems implies increased customer satisfaction. ERP and PLM function internally, and the employees can sense the up-gradation in work quality. The same is also delivered to the end-user. With minimal costs, ease-of-use and ease-of-access, the final deliverable always meets the requested criteria.

In a Nutshell

ERP and PLM systems are quite potent tools for catalyzing business growth and fostering rich dividends. However, it needs to be understood that these software are not interchangeable. You can either function with a PLM or even with ERP only. But this doesn’t imply that you can use a PLM instead of an ERP.

The whole idea of integrating these two systems is to achieve optimized results while also keeping a check on several other business aspects. Everyone wants to save those dollar bills, and saving time along with it is the cherry on top. An organization can achieve the same while also improving accuracy as well as customer satisfaction.

This is the bottom line for any company of any size – to best serve its consumers while growing themselves gradually.

The integration of ERP and PLM systems gives you what you want when you do it the right way. What does that imply? Just following the good-old rules of integrating (no, not calculus) two systems while extracting their credibility. You can get the integration done for your business, too, and evaluate what works well for you.

Chanchal Soni is a Growth Hacker and CRO Specialist at Appitsimple. She has experience in digital marketing, social media, content strategy, and marketing communications. Lover of huskies, the ocean & Boston sports.

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