Discrete manufacturers (i.e those that make consumer electronics, engines, pumps, etc.) face a unique set of challenges, like accurately forecasting demand, managing inventory, introducing new products to market at the right time, and continually optimizing logistics processes.

To achieve these goals, they need real-time visibility into their operations and the ability to reduce operating costs and optimize downstream processes, regardless of their scope.

That’s exactly where SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) comes in to help. 

Read on to learn a bit more about SAP PLM and its key capabilities, as well as where our team of senior-level SAP consultants can fit in your organization to help you maximize operational efficiency across your entire SAP PLM system.

SAP PLM Overview: Understanding the Solution

SAP Product Lifecycle Management helps companies plan, design, build, and administer production with better visibility and control and provides all the tools needed to optimize portfolio and project management strategies across business units.

SAP PLM solutions are built to integrate product data with business processes and systems, providing a centralized location for each detail of design and manufacturing, such as Bill of Materials (BOM), compliance records, manufacturing tools, and more.

SAP PLM has three core components: Integrated Product Development and Management, Innovation Management, and Product Compliance. Here’s a breakdown of each component…

1) Integrated Product Management

Integrated Product Management provides better visibility into (and control over) cost, product data, engineering changes, and other documents. It also supports document management, variant configuration, product structures, and manufacturing collaboration.

With SAP PLM capabilities, companies in any sector can improve productivity by connecting design and manufacturing functions through structured data management, prototyping, quality control processes, and service manufacturing process planning features. 

2) Innovation Management 

With SAP PLM, you’ll get the tools you need to capture new opportunities and expand into new markets. The solution includes analytics and business intelligence for enhanced collaboration, all while proactively identifying new business opportunities.

The software also allows cross-functional definition and coordination of resources to align portfolios with business objectives and optimize product launches. 

3) Product Compliance

Compliance can be a challenge in any industry, but especially so in discrete manufacturing, which is another reason SAP PLM architecture can be so handy for organizations operating CAD systems or a model-based enterprise system.

The solution can help you identify and assess regulatory risks as well as integrate compliance controls in the supply chain, manufacturing processes, and quality management. It also ensures compliance throughout the service, sales, distribution, and design process for both new and existing products across the supply chain. 

Benefits of SAP PLM for Discrete Manufacturing 

The SAP PLM system gives discrete manufacturers a broad range of options for implementation, hosting, functions, and features.

Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll experience…

Improved Collaboration

Seamless and clear communication across multiple departments is critical for business success. Access to all relevant data in one system helps departments stay on the same page, increasing performance and productivity across the board. 

Integration between other SAP solutions, like the SAP Engineering Control Center (SAP ECTR) and SAP Portfolio and Project Management, facilitate greater connectivity and collaboration between solutions, enabling SAP users to make better decisions and improve product quality across the board.

Better Customer Satisfaction

SAP PLM gives you greater visibility and full traceability into your operations with up-to-date and accurate BOM information to improve productivity and minimize rework.

When you reduce the number of errors throughout the entire product lifecycle, efficiency goes up, processes are improved, and customers are happy (and we all want happy customers). 

Increased Product Quality

With SAP PLM cloud solutions, organizations can standardize and automate their product and recipe development processes, which helps to ensure that products meet the necessary quality standards and compliance requirements.

The solution includes tools for product testing and validation, as well as features for tracking and managing product defects, allowing organizations to identify and address issues early in the product lifecycle, before they become bigger problems.

More Efficient Operations

The PLM SAP module automates many of the time-consuming and manual processes involved in product development, such as document management, change management, product validation, and product configuration.

This results in faster product development cycles, reduced errors and rework, and ultimately, increased efficiency and productivity across the organization.

Getting Started with SAP PLM

With new manufacturing trends like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and augmented reality, there’s a lot to consider when looking for a PLM system. Beyond industry trends, you also need to have a clear picture of your company’s goals and how a PLM can help you achieve them. 

And, successfully implementing or integrating SAP PLM into your organization will require a complete understanding of your company, business processes, data, and the unique challenges of discrete manufacturing.

Whether you’re already savvy with SAP Portfolio Management, Master Data Management, and Product Lifecycle Management, or just getting started, Surety Systems can help.

How Can We Help?

Our senior-level SAP consulting team can assist with setting up the implementation project and then step back to let you manage it, or they can take the reins and put their expertise to work for you from start to finish. 

And, even better, we’ve included a sample profile of one of our top-notch SAP consultants to give you a better idea of what to expect when partnering with our team…

Surety Senior SAP PLM Consultant

  • US Citizen
  • 20+ years of SAP PLM experience
  • Strong technical/functional background with SAP integration between logistics modules
  • Well-versed in DMS, CAD Integration, Engineering Change Management, & all SAP Functional modules linked
  • Expert with Workflow and BRF+ Development
  • Excels as a Mentor/Team Lead/Guru in ECC and S/4HANA environments
  • Worked with SAP America in the past

Contact Us

Contact us today to learn how SAP PLM (and our SAP consultants) can improve operational efficiency, transparency, and engagement for your company!