Enabling seamless processes between Agile PLM and SAP ERP
By andre.guldi on Sep 25, 2008
An integration between Agile PLM and SAP ERP is an essential part of your infrastructure if you want to support a seamless process between design and validation phase in PLM and manufacturing execution in SAP.
Many of you who are using Agile PLM together with SAP already have an integration in place.
Deciding what enterprise objects to synchronize between the systems is typically very simple in phase 1 of your implementation. It normally is Parts, Bill of Materials and the Changes, which are stored as Material, Material BOM and Engineering Change Master in the SAP system.
There may be some detail discussion on where resides the master, which means where do you enter and modify e.g. a part or part attribute, but that can be resolved very quickly by mapping the objects and attributes of both systems in a spreadsheet and agree where you want maintain what.
This sort of "controlled redundancy" allows you then to (normally) create these objects in PLM and push them to SAP once they are "mature" enough or needs processing in SAP.
But, what happens if you want or need to go beyond the typical Part, BOM, Change synchronization?
For example, you want to go beyond managing Product Variants and Variant BOMs in PLM only. One option would be to push the whole Variant BOM incl. the configuration rules to SAP or another one, just push the BOM Instance which you derived from the Variant BOM in Agile. Maybe you even want to manage and synchronize Projects, Workflows, Manufacturing Deviations or Serial Number Traceability in PLM and/or SAP. Is "controlled redundancy" the solution for that as well to improve your processes or would you rather manage these in only one system for the sake of simplicity or because people are used to a specific client e.g. PLM client for managing projects ?
Maybe you even consider building a composite app/UI based on a SOA framework.
It would be interesting to hear about how you would want to address these data synchronization issues in your environment in order to support a seamless process.