Discrete manufacturers (i.e those that make consumer electronics, engines, pumps, and that sort of thing) face a unique set of challenges. They need to be able to accurately forecast demand, manage inventory, introduce new products to market at the right time, and continually service parts.

To achieve these goals, discrete manufacturers need real-time visibility into their operations as well as the ability to optimize their processes, regardless of their scope. Add in the fact that supply chains only ever grow in complexity with each passing year, and it’s clear that the only way for manufacturers to succeed is by leveraging the right technologies. That’s where SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) comes in. 

Read on to learn a bit more about SAP PLM is and why it’s so useful for discrete manufacturers. 

Overview of SAP Product Lifecycle Management

So, what exactly is PLM? SAP PLM is a solution that helps companies plan, design, build, and administer production with better visibility and control. PLM systems 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 what they all do. 

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 structure management, and manufacturing collaboration, and can improve productivity by connecting design and manufacturing through 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 one more reason why SAP PLM can be so handy. 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 service, sales, and distribution. 

Benefits of SAP PLM for Discrete Manufacturing 

SAP PLM 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 data in one system helps departments stay on the same page, increasing performance and productivity. 

Better Customer Satisfaction

SAP PLM gives you visibility into your operations with up-to-date and accurate BOM information, improving productivity and minimizing rework. When you reduce the number of errors, efficiency goes up, processes are improved, and customers are happy (and we all want happy customers). 

Getting Started with SAP PLM

With new trends in manufacturing 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. 

Successfully integrating a PLM (such as SAP PLM) will require a complete understanding of your company, business processes, data, and the unique challenges of discrete manufacturing. Whether you’re already savvy with PLM systems or just getting started, Surety Solutions can 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. 

If you’d like to see how SAP PLM can improve your operations, contact us today to get started.