Episode 6 - PLM and ERP: Putting Each in Their Place

PLM and ERP: Putting Each in Their Place

PLM and ERP play extremely important roles in product development. PLM is crucial for automation and enablement of product development overall as well as engineering and innovation efforts, while ERP is key for the execution side of product development and the business of manufacturing. Integration of these two tools and how they work together can be very influential. Watch this episode of Tech4PD and see the debate on the roles of PLM and ERP in managing product data.

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PTC’s View

The debate of PLM versus ERP has been running for years. While many companies and vendors often view it as one system versus the other, both domains are necessary. PLM is critical for managing the strategic planning and development of a company’s differentiating products. ERP is required to manage production execution so production is cost-effective and scalable. PLM and ERP complement each other. Manufacturers need to develop strategies and processes that consider communication and collaboration between domains. However, these strategies must also take into account the nature of each domain. PLM is product information-oriented with data models that account for highly iterative, complex definitions. ERP is transaction-oriented with emphasis on actions related to delivered goods. Both domains are necessary, but require different capabilities.

At PTC we believe that PLM and ERP are two essential parts of a manufacturer’s product development strategy. PLM provides management of a company’s complete product definition including requirements, mechanical components, electrical designs, software and documentation. PLM enables optimization of product design and product quality before execution and before release to market. Once a design has been optimized, the PLM system should seamlessly release information to production. Likewise, critical ERP and MES information that influences quality measures and future design decisions should be available to PLM users.

When product information is viewed as "enterprise information" that flows throughout functions, companies are free to develop best practices that differentiate themselves and their products. Once these practices are defined, manufacturers can then evaluate and assess system needs for all domains including PLM and ERP.