PLM Integrations

There are 2 integrations that are needed for PLM [product lifecycle management] software over time.  One is between your CAD software and the PLM software and the other is between your PLM software and your ERP [enterprise resource planning] software.

CAD software to PLM software

Assuming your company is using 3D software, that 3D model is made up of multiple files.  When you open the CAD model in your 3D software, the model looks for the files it needs and opens them all up.  If your CAD software is integrated with your PLM software, the PLM software stores all of the necessary files as a ‘configuration’.  You check out the CAD model and the PLM software sends all of the relevant files.

If your CAD software is not integrated with your PLM software, your users will have to check in all of the relevant files one by one.  When checking out the model, the users will have to know which files they need.  This method is not only cumbersome, it is error prone.

PLM software to ERP

At engineering release, the bill of materials must be written into your ERP software.  It is needed there so that your company can plan their resources.  You have 2 options: a person will key the bill of materials into the ERP software; your PLM software will write the bill of materials into your ERP software.

There are some integrations available, but most often this integration is coded.  Compared to the integration needed between CAD and PLM, this is rather simple.

Other Integrations

A company could want information from other software written into fields in their PLM software.  An example might be information from their MES [manufacturing execution software] or some other software.

In the case of material disposition decisions, you will need an inventory count at a minimum.

The Simplest Solution

I recommend choosing the PLM software that is integrated with your CAD software.  This is the most cost effective choice.

Good luck with your PLM implementation – it is well worth it in the long haul.  Need more information, drop me a note…


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