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PLM Systems : The Need for PLM Integration & Its Benefits

Business | June 29, 2022 | By Kausika Raajan Varatharaajan PLM Integration

Technology has grown leaps and bounds and has changed how we operate. Everything is connected. And connectivity is amazing stuff. We are all used to the instant connectivity that puts the entire world at our fingertips. From purchasing online, posting it on our favorite social media site, pinning our favorites on Pinterest, and picking anything, anywhere, we are all connected. And one of the reasons for all of this is the Applications Programming Interface (API). APIs are the engine under the hood, and they go unnoticed. The unsung heroes. And procurement teams need this sort of connectivity.

 Product Lifecycle ManagementProduct Lifecycle Management problems

Procurement teams play a huge role in the success of an organization. They work with multiple departments within the organization, such as production, design and engineering, and accounts. They also work with several suppliers outside the organization. For procurement teams to do their work, they first interact with the design teams to get the BOM data. Design teams share the BOM data with the procurement teams once they are ready with the design. And here is where the problem starts.

Manual Extraction dataBOM data extraction Manually

Design teams work with the PLM systems. PLM is an application for design teams, a centralized repository that holds all the product design data and it helps manage this data across the entire product lifecycle. Design teams first extract the design data from PLM either in 3D or 2D CAD files or spreadsheets and share them with the procurement teams via a common sharing platform such as emails or other applications, which may or may not be secure. The reason behind the roundabout and insecure sharing of data is that PLM was built for design and engineering teams and not for procurement and sourcing teams. Also, the buyers share the design data with the suppliers via emails or other common folders. The aggregate of non-value-added activity is so much just in the data sharing phase. 

Communication gapGaps in Communication

Once the procurement teams receive the design data, they start working on it. But, in the meantime, the design teams make some changes to the BOM, either to a single part, multiple parts, or the whole BOM itself. Until the design teams communicate the changes to the procurement teams, they will be in the dark and continue working with the older BOM version. When the design teams communicate the changes to the buyers, they will have to go through the cumbersome process of extracting and sharing the design data. Also, because the changes in the design are communicated to the buyers and suppliers manually, there is no real-time view of the changes for the concerned teams to act proactively. 

Every design engineer might work with more than one buyer, and every buyer might work with several suppliers. When the changes are finalized and communicated to the buyers, they have to share them with the suppliers who would have started the production based on the older design version. Because of the delay in communication, there is a loss in time, money, and resources. And these are just for a single program. Multiply the same scenario by the number of parts the company might be working on.    

Question about Data Authenticity

Imagine a BOM with ten components and the design team releases the data for only nine of them. The one component is either under development or is under review and discussion. Owing to time constraints or under the pretext of getting the tenth component approved, design teams, extract the BOM data and release the whole BOM for procurement and sourcing to start their work. The buyers are unaware of these changes as there is no common platform between the procurement and the design teams. The tenth component may get approved immediately, or there will be changes that have to be communicated to the buyers who would have started working with the older version of the design.  

All of the above happens because procurement teams do not have software directly linked to the PLM system. There is a clear need for software built for procurement and sourcing that can easily connect with the PLM systems.  


Benefits of Zumen Integration with PLM

We all know that Product Manufacturing companies work with a well-defined PLM process. During the new product development process, companies, especially procurement teams, require multiple resources, that work with several stakeholders. Tracking the product and complete part lifecycle is critical for the product’s success. Moreover, the direct procurement lifecycle is directly related to the product life cycle.

While the current crop of procurement software can help track the program spending, they are not built to have complete visibility of the product and part life cycle, especially when it comes to direct procurement. For this reason, the procurement system needs to talk directly to the PLM. And needless to say, the easier it is to integrate the PLM and procurement systems, the more the chances for success. Here is where a software like Zumen helps procurement teams. 

Plug & Play Connect 

Zumen can easily connect with the PLM systems with just a few clicks, like the simple plug-and-play devices we are used to today. Zumen’s APIs are built on standard protocols, as recognized in the B2B market. And also your IT teams will not be bogged down with an endless integration project—the cost of maintaining the integration will be a fraction of what is required for many complex systems.

No Additional IT Infrastructure Needed 

Zumen can easily connect with the PLM systems with just a click, like the simple plug-and-play devices we are used to today. Zumen’s APIs are built on standard protocols, as recognized in the B2B market. And also your IT teams will not be bogged down with endless integration projects. 

Scalable Connection with Stable Performance Throughout

As the organization grows, so does the complexity of the data. But companies need not worry about transferring huge chunks of data. Also, as the service gets more complex, the performance of the software does not deteriorate. 

Real-Time View of Design Changes & Complete Data Authenticity

Since PLM software and Zumen are connected, designers can share the design data with just a click, and also, the buyers are abreast of the changes in real time. No more need for extracting the data and sharing it in separate channels. Also, since the live status of the parts is visible, there is complete data visibility, and no data tampering is possible.  

Seamless Field & Business Object Mapping

Let’s say two organizations are using two different versions of the same PLM system. The PLM systems are configured as per the organization’s needs. When integrating with the PLM systems, the fields need to be mapped correctly, say a part number that can be customized like PartNo and ItemNo. Zumen is configured in a way that no matter what the field name is, the data is correctly mapped. 

A system that allows information flow and decision-making to be facilitated in one place is all the more essential when stakeholders are working remotely from locations across the globe. The direct materials procurement life-cycle involves many processes and decisions, and very few platforms seem to be able to understand them fully. Zumen stands out in this regard. To know more about how Zumen integrates with PLM contact [email protected] or schedule a free demo

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