PDM and ERP: Create a Happy Marriage (Part 2)

A PDM system is a central storage space where all item data is managed. Where this used to be something only the larger enterprises invested in, it is now gaining popularity in the small- and medium sized business segment. With many of these smaller businesses now looking to invest in PDM technology, they are often left with one key question: ‘How do we continue to make best use of our ERP system?’

Double work, and mistakes
In the worst case scenario, this situation could lead to employees working on the same project within different systems using two different sets of information. If this is the case, the company can be continually plagued with the need to re-work and correct during the production phases. And if cost calculations are affected by engineering working with incorrect price information, the whole financial control mechanism for purchasing and budgeting can be affected.

Integration
Given the potential for two parallel systems to create significant problems, it’s clear that effectively integrating PDM with ERP will not only help to mitigate risk, but help save time and free up resources for other activities. The integrated scenario will ensure the entire organization is busy with only accurate data. Any changes to the information in the PDM can be passed immediately to the sister ERP system.

Bi-directional
And the flow of information can work in the other direction as well. Anyone creating a new item for production in the CAD/PDM system can benefit from part item data extracted from the ERP and linked to the BOM. New versions of BOMs are also registered automatically in the ERP in real time, ensuring that any employee, looking at any source within the business, is always looking at the right information and instructions.

Call your vendors!
In many cases, either your CAD/PDM vendor, or your ERP supplier will have a solution in place to ensure your systems can ‘talk to each other’ effectively. Get in contact with your vendors to explore the options. Most interfaces will be relatively inexpensive and quick to set up, offering you easy access to the benefits of single source item information management.

Unlock the full potential
PDM systems offer real advantage to companies manufacturing or assembling complex products. However, if the PDM environment isn’t linked to the ERP system governing many of the related tasks and activities, a failure to homogenize information can lead to a far more labor intensive, error strewn work environment. Ensuring the two are fully aligned is essential to ensure the potential wins of employing PDM can be fully realized. Integration will undoubtedly be easier than you think. Dive in, and ensure your software systems are enabled to deliver maximum value.

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